Oak Bluffs Town Column: April 12

A remarkable picture of Beach Road (circa 1900) placed on Facebook by Martha’s Vineyard Antique Photos sparked a discussion among Shelley Christiansen, Tom Dunlop, Sam Low and others about erosion at End of the Wall beach in Oak Bluffs. The loss is even more deceptive given the absence of surf on Nantucket Sound and startling because even average northeasters close the road at the culvert we used to call first bridge, once a crabbing spot.

martha's vineyard train

Martha’s Vineyard Railroad Had a Very Short Ride

For 21 years — from the late summers of 1874 through 1895 — a passenger train chuffed along a route that looks inconceivably imposing to us today: from what’s now the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority wharf, over the very sands of State Beach, through the fairways and greens of the Edgartown Golf Club, perpendicularly across Upper Main street, along the border of not one but two cemeteries and into what are now the subdivisions and farmlands of Katama before terminating at two dead ends: the dunes of South Beach and a hotel at Mattakessett whose ugliness was rivaled only by its windswept isolation and self-evident vulnerability to fire.

The Vineyard Railroad

In its issue of Saturday evening last the New Bedford Standard published the following as a special dispatch from Boston:
Boston, July 11. - As a preliminary measure in the proceedings against the Martha’s Vineyard Railroad company for opening its road without the Boards approval, the Railroad Commissioners have under consideration the issuing of a public notice to the effect that the condition of the road has not been approved by the Board, and that it is unsafe for public travel.

Change of Hands in the Cottage City Railroad

A railroad deal which bids to play an important part in the high life of Cottage City has just been consummated. The Cottage City street railway has been sold to gentlemen interested in the Boston & Quincy Railroad company, and Josiah Quincy is president of the syndicate. Land near Norton’s store at Eastville has been purchased for the location of a power house, 40 by 70 feet, and work will be immediately begun for a first class electrical equipment. E. G.

The Rail Road

All difficulties have at last been overcome, and the iron horse now speeds from Oak Bluffs to Katama and returns with the swiftness of the wind. The snort of the engine strikes upon the ear and reverberates over hill and dale, waking up the dormant energies of man, and causing the cattle on a hundred hills to skip and jump like rams.

Vineyard Highlands Horse Railroad

Mr. Lemuel T. Talbot, formerly superintendent of streets in Taunton, has contracted to build the horse railroad at Vineyard Highlands, to be run the coming Summer, and the cars, in the style of the Summer cars of the New Bedford & Fairhaven road, are ordered of J. M. Jones & Co., West Troy, N.Y., the builders of the cars of the latter road. This is good evidence of the enterprise of the Vineyard Grove Co., and we hope it will be a success in every respect. [New Bedford Standard.