On a frigid day in January 1866, Charles S. Tallman became the sole survivor of the wreck of the schooner Christiana off of Cape Pogue during a vicious nor'easter. Although the masts of the boat could be seen from Chappaquiddick there was no practical means of rescuing Tallman who clung to the rigging in the wind and waves of the storm.

It took four days of suffering before a whaleboat was able to come to Tallman’s aid during which frostbite had taken most of his fingers and left his hands and legs mutilated. Tallman was taken to Holmes Hole (Vineyard Haven) for care where for weeks his life hung in the balance. He was called “one of nature’s noblemen” by the Vineyard Gazette, and in 1874 the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company built him an octagon shaped shed at the base of Ocean Park where he sold refreshments—mainly peanuts—to tourists.

He wound up a beloved character of the new town and was called Shipwrecked Tallman, an ironic name for a literal wash-ashore who probably never again left land. In the summer of 1877 he sold 85 bushels of peanuts. For perspective, Offshore Ale patrons go through about 6,700 pounds of peanuts annually – or about 200 bushels.

Both cynosures of spirituality in Oak Bluffs, Union Chapel and the Tabernacle, have busy seasons. The 146-year-old Union Chapel features Dr. Betty Deas Clark this Sunday, June 26, at 10 a.m. Dr. Clark is the new pastor of the 197-year-old Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. She will speak here a year after the tragic murders of nine people including the church’s former pastor.

The following Sunday, July 3, the late Dr. Kenneth and Barbara Edelin’s nephew, the Honorable Jeh C. Johnson, United States Secretary of the Departmetn of Homeland Security will be the speaker.

At the Tabernacle, the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association and TPS Productions are presenting a new sunset series of performances on Fridays. From 6 to 7:30 p.m., musicians will play while the sun sets. Musicians include folks like Mike Benjamin, Phil daRosa and Friends, Nina Violet, Nancy Jephcote, Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish and others. The series is free to the public.

Our Martha’s Vineyard Museum has announced a campaign to raise funds to restore the 1895 Vineyard Haven Marine Hospital. The 121-year-old structure will be the new home of the century-old museum, and the public is invited for a tour of selected rooms in the building at an open house on June 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. Over the past couple of years the organization has quietly raised $13 million toward this historic renovation and move, and is looking to raise a total of $18.5 to complete the first phase of the project that includes three large exhibit galleries, curatorial work space, a classroom and a research library. The Martha’s Vineyard Museum open house will be held at 151 Lagoon Pond and is free to all.

The restoration and repurposing of the historically significant Marine Hospital is in grating inconsistency with the all but certain loss of Oak Bluffs’s Island Theatre. A gracious online comment about last week’s column suggested I clarify the role of building inspector Mark Barbadoro’s courageous action in finally preparing to condemn the eyesore that the fifth oldest theatre in America has become.

Mr. Barbadoro has professionally acquitted himself despite the pecuniary absence of time and resources his department is faced with, and it is outrageous this is an issue that he or the town should have been forced to deal with. Caring nothing about our aesthetics, the owners are proving our safety is also not of concern, and it fell upon the building department to see to the town’s best interests. My past business background occasions a suggestion that once rendered a vacant lot, the site should be assessed (and taxed) at a value as if the theatre were still operating. That might be reasonable recompense.

Condolences to the family of Luke Gurney and his many friends.

Keep your foot on a rock.

Send Oak Bluffs news to sfinley@mvgazette.com.