From the October 25, 1974 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

Early historians of the Vineyard wrote little about the Island’s great expanse of the central plain. Life centered about the harbors and ponds or found places along the streams where grist mills could be built. The plains were, as geologists wrote, nearly featureless, scrub oak having long replaced legendary forests of conifers. Distances were tedious in the old days, and Dr. Daniel Fisher could not make travel more than a little easier when he cut his road across the plain to shorten the distance between his mill and pond on the North Road and his wharf at Edgartown.

What may be called the first oasis in the heart of the central plain was the farm cut and ploughed out of the scrub oak almost a century ago. “German Charlie’s” was an Island landmark, conspicuous for its green husbandry and farm buildings in any vista from the up-Island hills. In this day of universal automobile travel it isn’t easy to imagine the isolation of that farm islanded by scrub oak, reached tediously by dusty roads.

When the State Road was built, mile by mile, year by year, it might have gone straight past German Charlie’s to West Tisbury, but it turned instead to reach and serve the population center of Middletown — North Tisbury — and thence across “the flats” to the highway junction of West Tisbury village. The scrub oak loneliness was left to its lonely voices and to the one farm near its center.


A face-lifting process is taking place at Cronig Brothers Market in Vineyard Haven. The change, resulting in a new front for the 70-year-old store, was brought about through the weakening by time and decay of the sill timber under the front of the store section. The entire front had settled slightly but enough to cause the big display windows to crack. The windows will be replaced. But they will not be so large as before.

The show windows will be as long from north to south, but vertically will be about half the former depth. Beneath the new windows the front will be of brick. Over the whole a permanent canopy of wood-frame construction covered with fire-resisting shingles will shade the windows and offer shelter for window shoppers on rainy days. The interior arrangement will not be changed except in the Church street corner, where the Cronig Brothers have always kept commodities which come in large containers, such as pet foods and briquettes. The work is being done by Manuel Frank of Vineyard Haven.

The Tashmoo Inn first occupied the site on Main street. After moving the hotel to the site where it later burned, at Tashmoo avenue and Main street, its proprietor, the late H. A. Castello, had the original store building constructed. It was occupied for a time by the clothing store of W. E. Godfrey. Godfrey was succeeded as proprietor by the late Henry Howes, after whose occupancy the Barnacle Club moved in and occupied it for years.

When the Barnacle Club left, the building was opened as a grocery market operated by the late Capt. Abbott Baker and Fred C. Vincent. The Alley brothers of Oak Bluffs, Antone and Fred, took over as grocerymen, eventually selling to the first generation of Cronig Brothers — Samuel, Henry, Edward and Theodore. The brothers purchased the building, and the second generation, David and Robert, have conducted the business since the death of their father, Samuel, meanwhile expanding in ways not least of which is the recent purchase of abutting property formerly a part of Renear’s Garage.


Early cold, bitter weather in mid-October, and now we’ll be reading about the chiller cycle of the climate into which the earth is heading. When autumns are warmer than usual, we read about the warmer cycle foreseen by scientists over the long range ahead. There’s apparently a case for one just as there is a case for the other,

The long-term trends invite speculation, and subject matter for debate includes a projected gradual melting of the polar ice cap and raising of the sea level.

As to a warmer climactic trend, exponents of this prophecy point to the tremendous increase in the volume of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere resulting from more and more industry, black-top surfacing, and the respiration of greater populations. Against this must be weighed pollution which impedes the sun’s rays on their way to the earth.

It may be, though, that supersonic planes or the cumulative release of gas from aerosol cans will disrupt the ozone layer upon which normal animate life on earth depends, and in this case the matter of climate will be less important.

The mysterious sun, our star of stars, presides over all this, and its rising in the northeast, veering to the south, has been a splendor of recent mornings. Predictions aside, the immediate thing to do this October is to go out and meet the weather, whatever it may be, with enterprise and vigor.

Compiled by Hilary Wall