From the Sept. 8, 1944 edition of the Gazette:

In other years the Labor Day rush was a thing that most people dreaded, whether they were Islanders or Island visitors, and indeed it was a most hectic and exciting exodus of visitors, plus hundreds and perhaps thousands of weekenders and day excursionists. But this year there was no rush at all!

Steamboat company officials, including the local agent, Malcolm West, and Jack Vallis and Albert F. Haas, were all on hand at Oak Bluffs, prepared to cope with any problem that might arise, and fearing the worst, with transportation facilities reduced from four boats to two, by the war. But there was no rush at all. No crush, no mob, no panic, no nothing beyond what these same men have seen every weekend this summer.

Fifteen to eighteen hundred people may have left on Monday, but no more, and the usual crowd visiting the docks was reduced to a fragment of its traditional size.

The reason behind this reversal of custom was that the exodus covered days, days before Labor Day, and after it, as well. Nine hundred passengers sailed on the 4:30 boat from Oak Bluffs on Monday, on what is usually regarded as the heavy trip of the day. Twenty minutes later the boat from Nantucket took on a couple of hundred more to fill her passenger list, and that was the last boat out for the day.

But on Tuesday, the 9 o’clock boat out of Oak Bluffs carried a full passenger list and approximately 160 people were left behind as there was no room for them. This followed a heavy passenger list on the 7 o’clock boat from Vineyard Haven, which, although not half loaded, still carried many more than the usual number of people. Commenting upon this unusual situation, the steamboat company officials said that the warnings from the government against travelling on Labor Day, had evidently been heeded by the great majority.

Great numbers of passengers have been leaving the Island daily, for several days before Labor Day, and it was obvious that a goodly number, fearing the usual crush or something worse, postponed their departure until the following day, only to find themselves in a greater crush than that of the holiday.

As regards the cars, the transportation of vehicles has been steady, and all reservations have been filled up to some time next week, yet the total number carried has not been great, as compared with the traffic in cars in normal years.

The earthquake which shook the whole eastern coast at 12:40 Tuesday morning was felt but lightly on the Vineyard.

In Vineyard Haven one or two persons observed what they called a “trembling” of their homes. At Gay Head, the lighthouse keeper, Frank Grieder, felt a distinct shock, which he recognized as a quake. In Edgartown, Capt. St. Clair Brown was among those who noticed the quake. No damage was reported in any quarter and no alarm was manifested by anyone.

This will go down as one of the driest summers on record, but Vineyarders with long memories can cite a season which was even more so. Charles F. Shurtleff of Edgartown recalls that in the early nineties when it was time to plant potatoes in the spring, the ground was so dry that the old horse-drawn plows, which were all the farmers had in those tractorless days, had all they could do to get deep enough.

The rainless summer is not a complete novelty, after all.

One of the largest business blocks on the Island, sometimes known as the Ginn Block, sometimes as the Metropolitan Block, on Circuit avenue, Oak Bluffs, was sold this week by Philip J. Norton, acting as agent for the Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank of Harwich, to Rodney D. Marks of Oak Bluffs.

Mr. Marks plans to remodel and renovate the property and to reduce it to two stories in height. The block, which is bounded by Park and Kennebec avenues and by the Phillips Hardware Store on Circuit avenue, and has a large frontage on the avenue, now houses the Oak Bluffs post office on its Park street side, the What-Not on Kennebec avenue, and on the Circuit avenue corner, Keating’s Drug Store. An empty store, used for storage, adjoins the drug store, and next comes the telegraph office, then Mr. Marks’ office.

The bank took over the property, which is said to have been built by Dr. David I. Ginn, of Harwich, a good many years ago now, about five years ago, in a foreclosure proceeding. The second name by which the property was known came from the fact that the upstairs floors were used by the Metropolitan Hotel, which has been out of business for some years.

The largest tomato which the Gazette has seen so far this season is a Blooming Winsail, raised by Curtis Moffat of Edgartown. This is one of the red red tomatoes, rather than orange red or yellow red. The large specimen in question weights two pounds and, measured around the hips or the bust, whichever it is, comes to seventeen and an eighth inches. In short, the tomato is a buster.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox