Martha's Vineyard history

How Martha's Vineyard Grew from Shabby to Chic

While Chappaquiddick left an indelible mark on the Vineyard, the broadscale population change and development that occurred on the Island over the next 50 years had started long beforehand.

Hurricane of 1938 Hit With Force and Surprise

Sept. 21 marks the 75th anniversary of the Great New England Hurricane of 1938. Although in many respects the hurricane of 1944 was much worse (it killed more people around the Vineyard than any storm in the 20th century), the 1938 hurricane is the one that stands in the record books.

At Rest But Alive With Vineyard's History

When John Alley was a kid, his Uncle Fred would pay him to mow the lawn at the West Tisbury cemetery. One day, just as he was leaning over between two headstones, he felt a hand on his shoulder. Young John headed for the hills.

“That was it! I lost the lawnmower and ran,” remembered Mr. Alley, thinking one of his silent friends had come back from the dead. Turns out it was just Prudy Whiting letting young John know that her father’s sheep were on the loose.

Fred Fischer horses

At Last, Fair History Explored and Explained

The first Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair was held on October 26, 1858: it was announced on September 15 of that year. And thus began a pilgrimage that would be unfamiliar in nature though familiar in spirit to modern-day fairgoers: 1,800 people made their way to the Grange Hall in West Tisbury by horseback, in wagons or on foot.


Harpooning Swordfish: A Lost Local Tradition?

Harpooned swordfish, once synonymous with the Fourth of July holiday and a staple of the Menemsha fishing fleet, are no longer being caught by Vineyard fishermen.

Though prevalent in local fish markets this season, harpooned swordfish are now all being caught by fishermen from afar.

The reason has to do with a convoluted bureaucracy, an expensive permit system and waning interest in the age-old method of catching fresh swordfish.


The Island’s Place in Thai History

Islanders are invited to celebrate the dedication of two West Chop homes that will become part of the Trail of Thai Royalty in Massachusetts on Sunday at 1 p.m. The ceremony is at 703 Main street in Vineyard Haven. The event is part of a daylong program of authentic Thai cultural experiences designed to honor the Island’s special connection with Thailand, put together by the King of Thailand Birthplace Foundation.

Early Summer Scrapbook

A school of forty or fifty sturgeon was sighted off Wasque. Many Islanders had never heard of such a school before in these waters. The sturgeon were chasing the mackerel which ran right into the shore. All the sturgeon were big fish, believed to have run from 300 to 400 pounds apiece. It has always been said that when sturgeon arrived, the bluefish were here.


Memories Still Thrive Along Down-Island’s Main Streets

The history of the Island’s main streets is written on the facades of the older buildings. The three down-Island main streets all have their stories — and their storytellers.

Main street is memory lane for those who share in the fellowship of growing up, playing and working on the pavement and along the side streets.

Richard Clark of Vineyard Haven, Dennis daRosa of Oak Bluffs and Edward (Peter) W. Vincent Jr. of Edgartown all have spent most of their lives stepping, smelling and breathing the life on the down-Island sidewalks and streets.