Lagoon Heights, developed in 1873 with 500 lots for sale between County Road and Pennsylvania avenue, was the home of the Prospect House Hotel which, like most of the rest of Oak Bluffs’ famed tourist accommodations, burned down in 1898. Real estate super salesman Eben Davis Bodfish (“Lots for Little”) no doubt sold a lot of those lots, one of which was owned by his wife, Elizabeth.

Visiting Lagoon Heights’ Marvin and Susan K. Klein recently and reminiscing of times gone by, Marvin showed me the deed to the family house his Dad bought in 1949 that has Elizabeth Bodfish’s signature as the seller. A fan of the history of the Vineyard, Oak Bluffs and Lagoon Heights, Marvin had a book printed featuring the much beloved Islander ferry through the years, from the time when it was new (1950) to that woeful picture of its demise on Governor’s Island off of New York city following its retirement in 2007.

Discussing the Prospect House, Marvin told me of another Oak Bluffs Hotel I hadn’t been aware of: Reid’s Hotel, which, according to the May 7, 1971 Vineyard Gazette he gave me, burned down in 1937. He showed me the spot of the old hotel on the southwest corner of Newton and Worcester avenues. The article indicated that it was owned by Alexander Reid and his wife, who was a widow when the hotel caught fire one night and burned to the ground. Lacking fire hydrants, the firemen planned to use a pumper to siphon water from the Lagoon below to fight the fire but couldn’t get it down to the beach.

Of all of Oak Bluffs hotels, the Island House and the Wesley House remain, the Wesley the only one that remains a hotel, 136 years after it was built in 1879. It too had its problems with fire when owner Augusten Goupee (née Augustus G. Wesley) confessed to its arson in 1893. Marvin, Susan and I had a good laugh when we realized that Oak Bluffs’ 19th hotel, The Reid, must have been the one that housed the fabled Lagoon Heights brothel whispered about for years.

Primo Lombardi’s Martha’s Vineyard Yoga Center on the corner at 73 Circuit avenue is hosting a seminar, “Stories for an Auspicious Occasion: Hanuman, Shiva and the Way Ahead” by yoga teacher Douglas Brooks Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from Sept. 11 to Sept. 13. For details and to register call 508-237-1861 or visit

The Niantic Park Playground Project folks continue the fundraising drive with $69,059 thus far of the $80,000 needed to complete the project. Checks can be sent to the Friends of Oak Bluffs, PO Box 1281, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. Also, if you would like to support the basketball, tennis and other aspects of the park, send those donations to the Town Of Oak Bluffs Niantic Park Fund, PO Box 1327. Thank you.

Ocean Park’s annual Kite Fest last Saturday was graced with sunny skies and enough wind to produce high flying, colorful objects. According to producer Holly Alaimo, the only time cell phones were used was to take pictures. Bob Glover won for the largest kite, Amy Hewitt for the smallest—and of course there were big winners in many categories who happened to be small people who enjoyed a beautiful day pursuing a time-tested activity with parents and friends. Holly sends thanks to a large group of participants and organizations who helped make the day a success.

A month ago I had written about the late Albra Mae Flewelling Littlefield Baird, Joan Boyken’s grandmother. Researching her ancestors, Joan has just discovered she is related to Miles Standish who came over on the Mayflower, an exciting discovery indeed. You can keep up with Joan on her website at

Huge congratulations to Richie Giordano, whose like-new 1956 Chevy Nomad was named best in show at last Sunday’s Tisbury Firefighters Car Show at the high school, the biggest one ever. First place was for a 1954 Mercedes Benz owned by Jim Jones, Richie G’s Nomad also won second place, Ed Evans’s ‘54 Buick came in third place and Dan Donnelly’s 1968 Chevy Nova got the kids’ choice award. The event, now in Oak Bluffs, raises money for fallen firemen.

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