Fond Memories of a Black Childhood: Oak Bluffs Had Band Concerts, Lemonade, Cookies and Whist

We were always stared at. Whenever we went outside the neighborhood that knew us, we were inspected like specimens under glass. My mother prepared us. As she marched us down our front stairs, she would say what our smiles were on tiptoe to hear, “Come on, children, let’s go out and drive the white folks crazy.”

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Peter West to Plant, Grow and Dig Oysters

The Selectmen of this town have granted a license to Mr. Peter West to plant, grow and dig oysters, in a certain part of Squash Meadow Pond, for 20 years. We are glad to hear this. The oysters grown on this Island are of a very superior quality, and we should not be surprised to learn of the complete success of the new enterprise.

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A Walk Down Pennacook Avenue
Skip Finley
Pennacook avenue in Oak Bluffs is a street full of stories, the latest of which is a lovely coincidence.
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Rink History of Oak Bluffs Goes Back to 1878, When Everyone Swooped Around on Roller Skates
Vineyard Gazette

The proposed revival of a roller skating rink in Oak Bluffs calls to mind the grandeur of the one that occupied a place of honor in that town from 1878 to 1892.

Roller skating became a craze in the early 1870’s, and the first roller rink in the country was built in Worcester by a wealthy promoter named Samuel Winslow who had invented a new and improved type of skate, in 1876. The idea caught on with great speed, and by the time the rink at Oak Bluffs was completed, just about every able-bodied individual in the country was swooping around on roller skates.

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Tower of History: Renovations Begin at East Chop Light
Louisa Hufstader

Repairs are under way this fall at the East Chop Lighthouse, the historic cast-iron tower that sits on Telegraph Hill, its beacon flashing green-green-green to guide mariners on their way around the chop.

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Vineyard Bookshelf: Historic Tales of Oak Bluffs
Steve Donaghue
From 2012 to 2017, Skip Finley wrote more than 250 columns for the Vineyard Gazette, centering on the history and unique character of Oak Bluffs.
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Oak Bluffs Wharf is Kindled into Destructive Fire
Joseph Chase Allen
A spectacular blaze, the cause of which is not definitely determined, destroyed the freight she and outer end of the Oak Bluffs steamboat wharf late Wednesday afternoon, involving a loss of property owned by Vincent’s Fish Market, on the dock property, the value of which was set at $30,000 and a loss to the Steamship Authority, covered by insurance, not yet even approximated. The fish market equipment was uninsured, according to David Vincent, the proprietor.
 
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The Vineyard Skating Rink
Vineyard Gazette

The Vineyard Skating Rink, now transformed into the “Cottage City Casino,” equipped with stage and scenery and furnished with comfortable seating, is likely to prove one of the most popular institutions of Cottage City. Mr. H. E. Reed, a wide-awake gentleman of proved executive ability, is the manager, and has already opened the ball with a week of comic opera.

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In Statue Debate, a Hurtful History Has the Final Word
A. Bowdoin Van Riper
The fiercest, bloodiest wars are those fought not over territory or a throne, but over a way of life.
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Vineyard Abolitionists Stand Tall
Skip Finley
Many contributors to black history weren’t black. Take the abolitionists, for example.
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