Joseph Chase Allen wrote in the Vineyard Gazette on June 19, 1953 that Oak Bluffs was once an island with an ancient passage from the head of Deep Bottom Pond to the head of the Lagoon. Lagoon Pond, originally called Webataquay Pond (from the Algonquian language) until 1740, was also once called Holmes Hole Harbor and completely accessible to the sea. It has a freshwater pond at its southernmost end that is a part of the Weatauque Spring Preserve called the Beech Grove Reservoir.

The Lagoon Pond area was a seasonal home to the largest indigenous village of the Island with 500 wigwams lining the shores of the Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven neighborhoods that included Little Neck, Cedar Neck, Hines Point, Oklahoma, Lagoon Estates and Lagoon Heights. The original people made the area home because of the dual benefit of the availability of fresh water and shellfish in close proximity.

Many whaleships were loaded with cord wood from the forest near the Oak Bluffs pumping station at the freshwater pond. The Oak Bluffs side of the lagoon included the 900-lot home Lagoon Heights development that had its own hotel and casino, the Prospect House, that was built in 1874. Not long after that the Oklahoma tract was founded with another 400 lots.

Described as a nice smooth place for sailing and fishing, the Lagoon had a bounty of bluefish, tautog, scup, bass, perch, quahogs, clams and oysters in its clean, flowing water said to have a depth of over 40 feet in spots.

The Bayes Hill, Pond View and Tiffany Lane neighborhoods have been added to those lining the rest of Lagoon Pond where pond life has become a concern. Progress has wreaked havoc on the delicate natural balance over the years. The Lagoon Pond Association is hosting its annual meeting at the Sailing Camp on Saturday, July 9, from 9 to 11 a.m. The fulsome agenda includes discussion about protecting the Lagoon. Gail Barmakian, chair of the Oak Bluffs board of selectmen and head of the town’s wastewater committee, and Dave Grunden, shellfish constable, will be in attendance along with their counterparts from Vineyard Haven to provide the latest information on maintaining the water quality of the Lagoon. Refreshments will be served at the free, open to the public meeting. You can join the association for only $30 dollars a year and get more information at

The Oak Bluffs Library is having a pirate party for children of all ages on Saturday, July 9, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. with pirate crafts, snacks and games — and apparently a gang plank. Next Friday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. is comic making for kids to create their own comics and ‘zines’. Registration is required at 508-693-9433 for those eight and older.

On Wednesday, July 13, the library hosts the rock band Martha’s Vineyard Ferries, that includes local guitarist Elisha Wiesner (of the band Kahoots), for a free concert at 6 p.m. for all ages.

CONNECT to End Violence’s 5th Annual Men’s Initiative Seawall Event is this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. To register, contact Isadora Brito at 774-549-9667, ext. 106 or

Cousen Rose hosts a reception for Richard Taylor’s much anticipated new book, Martha’s Vineyard—Race, Property and the Power of Place. This of course takes place after church (Richard is vice president of Union Chapel) on Sunday, July 10, from 11:30 to 1 p.m.

Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. speaks about his new historical documentary series, Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise, on Tuesday, July 12, at 8 p.m. at Union Chapel.

The MV Museum presents Bliss, an event that includes dancing, drinks and delicacies from Island food trucks at the Elmer Bliss farm, at the Captain Flanders Inn. The event is $50 per person and requires reservations at That’s the hot ticket on MV for Wednesday, July 13. Don’t miss it.

Atlanta’s Morehouse University, whose graduates included Martin Luther King, Jr., has certainly increased its footprint in Oak Bluffs. It was delightful to see Dr. Louis Sullivan heckle three younger Morehouse graduates (all from the same year) at a cookout in his honor — Morehouse president John Wilson, Spike Lee and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.

Speaking at Union Chapel on Sunday, Secretary Jeh Johnson recalled to an appreciative audience the part of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner when, queried about marriage to Sidney Poitier by the dad Spencer Tracy, Joey (Katherine Houghton) said their racially mixed son would be from Hawaii—and the president. A prescient reminder that stories can come true in Oak Bluffs, like Jeh Johnson’s after 54 years of visiting.

Sooooo, Vanessa. What’s been going on over there in Farm Pond? Is that an egg in that nest?

Keep your foot on a rock.

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