It’s charming working at a place like the Vineyard Gazette where someone on staff, apparently researching a story, left a page behind from the Sunday, May 20, 1883 Boston Sunday Herald. What caught my eye, occasioning me to purloin a copy of it, was the headline, Cottage City, and the sub headline, Notes of Busy Preparation for a Season of Gayety. What follows could be used in a column about Oak Bluffs today — the painting, carpentry and repairing for the maddening crowds.

The author’s writing, typical of the times, consisted of some run-on sentences that could leave one breathless. That notwithstanding it was a poignant opportunity to read about some of the people and places included in this column for the past five years in the (then) present tense.

Mr. Brownell of the Seaview Hotel earned a mention as did several popular hotels including the Wesley, Central, Highland House and Prospect House. Captain Joe Dias received a shout out for his generous gift of 500 trees to the Rural Improvement Society and the selectmen acquired the lot across from the Baptist Church on Pequot for the new engine house.

The column has a rather chatty tone and parts could be construed as idle (although certainly not malicious) gossip about folks returning for the season. There was a Black Baptist Camp Meeting in 1875 in the Highlands but even with the general acceptance of the community, the Highland Property Trust that succeeded the Vineyard Grove Company sold property as late as 1944 only to persons “of the white race . . . of the Christian religion. Other than that, Cottage City had a new attitude by 1883.

The article in the Herald ended with statistical highlights of the year past, to include support of the poor, street lighting, a night watchman, repairs to the bulkheads, the draw tender to the lagoon bridge and other costs associated with running our favorite town.

Three Oak Bluffs authors have new work out. Tuckernuck avenue’s Jessica Harris’ new book, My Soul Looks Back, is her memoir about growing up black and middle-class in New York city with friends like Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Nina Simone and Toni Morrison. The book centers on the 1970s in the West Village when Jessica was writing about and socializing with memorable people. Jessica will speak at the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival this August 5 and 6. Carol Anderson, who wrote the book White Rage, will also speak. So will Vineyard authors Susie Middleton, Sarah Waldman and Joan Nathan, who, along with Jessica, are speaking at Lola’s for Martha’s Vineyard Magazine’s Cook the Vineyard Luncheon on July 17. Each author will have a recipe selected for the much anticipated annual lunch.

This Saturday, Thomas Dresser is speaking at the Oak Bluffs Library at 2 p.m. on his new book, Hidden History of Martha’s Vineyard about Vineyard nomenclature, the Underground Railroad, shipwrecks, Island structures and graveyards. Refreshments will be served and there is no charge.

Oak Bluffs author Kate Hancock and Oak Bluffs artist Lane Gregory are launching their children’s book The Roses on the Wall Paper at Featherstone Center for the Arts Sunday, May 21 from 4 to 6 p.m.. Both will be there to sign books, children are welcome and refreshments will be served.

Sea Smoke will take the place of the former Smoke N Bones across from Tony’s Market, and the boutique MV Allston is back at a new location next to the Island House. Sea Bags is new on Circuit avenue selling bags made from canvas sails and located next to Slip 77. Giordano’s opens for its 87th season on Thursday, May 25.

Congratulations to Sengekontacket’s Jennifer Turner who will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University at Hartford on Saturday. Jennifer is the retired chief executive of Girl Scouts of Connecticut. In the same ceremony, long time Vineyard visitor Obie McKenzie, a managing director at Blackrock, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science.

Amy Washington of Lola’s joins the Artcliff Diner’s Gina Stanley as the only female head chefs at Island restaurants. Amy has deep Island roots and returns from her experience in New York. Welcome home Amy.

Happy 415th Birthday Sunday to Martha’s Vineyard, the land amidst the sea, renamed by Bartholomew Gosnold on May 21, 1602.

Keep your foot on a rock.

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