Some of the most interesting Oak Bluffs stories begin with the homes in town. The large stately house in Eastville where Temahigan and New York avenues meet was brought to my attention by its neighbor Christopher Rowan whose wife Christine is a Norton-Luce descendant.

The story of these homes starts with Ebenezer G. Lamson (1814-1891) who acquired the land from Shubael Lyman Norton and built what became known as Kedron Meadow, on the corner of what is now New York avenue and Crystal Lake Road, in about 1860.

Ichabod Norton Luce, coincidentally an abolitionist, then built the Rowan family house about nine years later. Both were the only homes on the 1872 map of the failed Bellevue Heights development when New York was called Kedron avenue and Crystal Lake Road was just Lake Road.

Ebenezer Lamson, with his brother and uncle, started a cutlery business in 1837 that grew into the Shelburne, Mass. company of Lamson, Goodnow & Yale, manufacturers of scythes and cutlery. They also bought the Windsor, Vt. company, Robbins & Lawrence, that built machines to make guns for the Mexican-American war in the 1840s and the Crimean War in the 1850s.

Like neighbor Ichabod Norton Luce, Ebenezer Lamson was also an abolitionist. After the Civil War started he went to Washington, D.C., and got a contract to produce 50,000 rifles for the Union Army. It is believed that the precision machines made by Lamson, Goodnow & Yale were used by companies that manufactured as many as half of the rifles, muskets, carbines, pistols and bayonets used in the Civil War.

In 1869, the company presented President Ulysses S. Grant (who wound up visiting Oak Bluffs five years later) with a 62-piece dinner set. Half of the pieces had ivory handles, half were mother-of-pearl handles and some of the set are on display at the Smithsonian Institute.

In the mid-1880s, the company fell on hard times, and sometime after that, the prominent Oak Bluffs mansion was owned by the Shelburne Falls National Bank. The company regained its footing and today, Lamson, the oldest cutlery manufacturer in the United States, continues to produce a wide range of knives and kitchen utensils.

The house was then acquired by Martin B. Faris and his wife Sarah Trowbridge Day Faris in the early 1900’s. They named it Kedron Meadow. Theirs is an interesting story, for another time, that also has a Civil War component.

A proposal to construct apartments over Philips Hardware on Circuit avenue has presented the town and planning board with an almost untenable quandary. Despite the creative plans, urgent need and wide public support, existing zoning laws stand in the way of and prevent this ambitious development. Philips Hardware, founded in 1928, remains a locally-owned, family business and one cannot help but wonder what the family options may be if the proposal is denied. Ominously, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission is expected to vote on this town-related project on Nov. 3. The commission itself has an election on Nov. 8; Susan Desmarais, Fred Hancock, Brian Smith and Richard Toole are running. Oak Bluffs, with the Island’s largest population, is unfortunately not entitled to a proportionate number of seats on the commission.

Pequot avenue’s Anne Cummings was the first to report that the consecrated tree in Hartford Park fell last Sunday. A place of worship since the mid 1840’s, the cedar (some say Juniper) tree was believed to have been referenced in a Nathaniel Hawthorne short story (My Kinsman Major Molineux), which is unlikely even though a tree with a similar purpose was. The tree’s 1914 plaque reads: “The Consecrated Tree, So called because devout men from the neighboring Camp Ground resorted here for prayer and praise sixty five years ago. Tradition related that this was then an ancient tree with spreading branches standing in a forest of oaks.”

Richie Combra and Amy Billings are surveying options as to the fate of the historic trees’ remains.

Congratulations to Ben Deforest and the crew at the Red Cat Kitchen at Ken N’ Beck for its award as the best restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard by Trip Advisor; big praise indeed for the little 9 X 9 kitchen. Indeed, Trip Advisor qualified this as the best of 121 Island restaurants and of 35 in OB.

Welcome back Mocha Motts, hot coffee once again Monday morning.

Happy hallowed weenies everyone.

Keep your foot on a rock.