From Martha's Vineyard National Bank to Around West Chop

From Martha's Vineyard National Bank
to Around West Chop

as remembered by Stan Lair
June 18, 1979

Transcribed by C. Baer, 1996.

[The following transcript was made from a 120-minute audio tape labeled "From M. V. National Bank to Around West Chop. Stan Lair - June 18 1979." This tape was evidently based on a set of handwritten maps and notes titled "M. V. National Bank to West Chop." The numbers in the following transcript correspond to the numbers in the notes. There may be spelling errors.]

Comments? Questions? Corrections? Suggestions? Write the compiler.
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This is June 18, 1979. Now we're going to try a trip from the Martha's Vineyard National Bank to West Chop, including the loop around West Chop, a distance of maybe two miles, and encompassing around 175 houses.

Some of the credits to this should go to (because of their information which they gave me) should go to S. C. Luce Jr., Kathleen McDonough, Helen McDonough (I don't know what her married name is!), Helen Hart, Ralph Look, and Ruth Peters on West Chop history.

Main Street: East Side Going North

1. Okay, we'll start with the Martha's Vineyard National Bank, which is on the east side of Main Street, which I think we have covered before on another tape.

2. Directly in back of this bank was a large building built by William Barry Owen, called the Luxemoor Building. Mr. Owen met a Mr. Moore, who had a patent for embossing leather, and they started this project, but I don't think it lasted too, too long. We used to play basketball in this building, a good many years ago. It's none too good a place to play basketball but we had to play there. The timbers ran right across the hall and we had to shoot the ball over them, and on each end there was like chicken wire, to protect the spectators from getting hurt, but it didn't help the players much 'cause plenty of them were hurt on that chicken wire - cut fingers and so forth. Also on the second floor was a Customs Office, operated by Howes Norris. This building was later moved to a site near the Dukes County Garage, which we've described on a previous tape.

3. Directly back - well not directly back, off to one side of this and in back - was the Jake Luce house. That was Ethel, Marion, and Emma Luce, and they were brought up here. Lived there for a long time. I don't know what ever happened to the house. I have an idea it may have been torn down.

4. Then right on the beach, directly in line with the bank and Luxemoor building was the Nobnocket Club. This was a club that had bath houses underneath, meeting place on the second floor where they played cards and so forth, had a pier, very popular pier for bathers, also had an orchestra for dancing. They played for dancing all over the Island, I guess. The orchestra consisted of Alton Tuckerman (he was on the bass), Carey Luce, violin, Fred Peakes, trumpet or cornet, and Roy Norton on the piano. Alaric Swift had played with them at times with drums - I recall seeing them there set up at the Nobnocket Club. So, that was the old Nobnocket Orchestra. There was an old cat boat on the beach, on it's side, sort of in front of this Nobnocket Club. There used to be a place where the bathers could lie in the shade, and kids could play in the boat, and all that sort of thing. This building was moved back a little bit from the beach site and was remodeled by Annie Gonyan. A restaurant operated there at one time, and now it is the home of Rudolph Stan.

5. Directly to the north of this Nobnocket Club was another set of bath houses, owned by Captain St. Croix Oliver. These were strictly bath houses, nothing else. I could rent a bath house for the season, or whatever.

6. So, now we'll go back up on Main Street again, directly north of the bank, first house on the east side going north was the Captain St. Croix Oliver house, and I believe it's now owned by the Lambert Knight family.

7-8. Next one was the William M. Randall house, now owned by Lambert Knight, and directly back of this house was the house belonging to Mrs. Lambert, who was Lambert Knight's grandmother.

9. Okay, back on Main Street again, next house beyond the Randall house was Loretta Daggett. The Harrison Crist house was at this location. I don't recall whether it was a remodeled Loretta Daggett house, or a new one, but the Harrison Crist house was here. He was the editor of the Brooklyn Eagle, and now it is occupied by the Dr. Strock's.

10. Capt. Hartson H. Bodfish house. He was a famous whaling captain, and a book was written by Joseph Chase Allen about Capt. Bodfish, titled "Chasing the Bowhead." He had two boys, Howes and Hallett. And eventually the house was demolished by a woman who brought her own home from Oak Bluffs - moved it over here - and later it was owned by the Hanrahans. Mr. Hanrahan was the owner of the Mohawk Carpet Factory.

11. Next house going north was the Cordelia Luce house. Cordelia lived to be over a hundred years old. Then it was owned by her daughter, Sheri DeLey, and now Sheri's son, George DeLey. DeLey I guess by the way is French for "Luce."

12. Directly in back of the DeLey house was the Matthew Smith house. Both of those houses border on Owen Park, and this hill on the south side of these houses was known by a lot of people as Doanes Hill. It was a good place to slide on sleds in the winter. Also at times a dangerous slide, because some of the more adventurous kids would start up on William Street, which meant sliding directly across Main Street, just hoping no cars would be going by. I guess they were lucky, 'cause I don't recall any accidents there. And then slide on down the hill to the harbor, right onto the harbor ice. Less traffic in those days.

Bessie and Arthur Doane lived in this house for a long time, and that's how it got the name Doane Hill. I recall the first appendix operation I ever heard about was right here. Arthur Doane was operated on for appendix by Dr. Putnam. I presume right at his home - we didn't have any hospital then. I do recall the street being blocked off for awhile to keep things quiet. Arthur was pretty sick for a long time, but he recovered - in fact, he's alive today! I guess Dr. Putnam did a pretty good job.

13. Next is Owen Park. This is a tract of land given by Mrs. Owen to the town just for that purpose. Two houses were previously moved off to about half a mile to the north, around Bayside, and one is on the corner of Main Street and Owen Little Way. Mr. Owen had planned on building a mansion here but it didn't materialize.

14. Next comes the Benjamin Clough house, still in the Clough family today.

15. Directly in back of the Clough house and down the hill towards the harbor was the Lothrop Merry house, occupied by Edward Lord at one time, Mrs. Charles Earl, and its present owner, Douglas Cabral, who rents rooms and calls it the Lothrop Merry house.

16. Okay, now we're back on Main Street again, next to the Clough house, heading north, was a small house occupied by Donald and Janet Swift for a number of years. That house was moved to that spot by water, and then pulled up the hill by oxen, and to its present location. It came from the Indian Hill area, by the Lily Pond. And that is quite an old house. Janet told me that she and Donald at one time uncovered one of the posts there, and chalked on it was something in the 1700's. That was quite an old house.

17. The next house was the Captain's House, so-called, under Mrs. Stiles Winslow for a long time, and before that it was the Isaac Chase property.

18. And directly in back of that is the Joe Chase house - between the Captain's House and the beach is the Joe Chase house. It's present owner is Robert Douglas.

19. Now back on Main Street again, we come along to the building that was called "Havenside Also" by the Strahn sisters who ran it. Havenside is around the corner. This building was a sanitarium. It was run by Dr. Samuel T. Davis. That building was demolished and the new development there is apartments for older people, called the Romarlo Foundation I believe. And that brings us right up to Crocker Avenue.

Crocker Ave.

20. The first house on Crocker Avenue is the McQuarrie house. That would be Janet Swift's parents. They lived there for a long time, then they bought the house from Rudolphus Crocker. Then it was later owned by the Wortmans, and a few other owners there. Dr. Banks who wrote The History of Martha's Vineyard also lived at this house.

22. The next house down Crocker Avenue -we're going down away from Main Street now - the next house down was General Goethall's, General George Goethall's house, which was later moved to West Chop (and we'll tell you about that one when we get down to West Chop.) In the spot where it was is now, or was, tennis courts, and I believe later on it was turned into a garden.

23. The next building going down was Havenside Hotel. That was operated by the Strahns. Mr. Strahn owned the Martha's Vineyard Herald at one time.

24. On the beach directly in front of this hotel was the old Strahn house, where Jenny and Louise Strahn lived.

25. Now directly at the bottom of Crocker Avenue was the home of Rudolphus Crocker. He must have been an influential man, 'cause he owned an awful lot of real estate, and he also owned the harness factory, where the 1883 fire started. There is also a large barn on this property that was converted to a house by the[?] Andresan.

26. And just north of that is a house Bucky Rhodes lived in - I don't know who owned it before that, but Bucky Rhodes did own it, and that's on the north side of Crocker Avenue.

27-8. Now we're coming back up the hill, on the north side, where Mrs. Vivian lived. Her name was Mrs. Pogue at one time. That was also owned by Rudolphus Crocker, that property, as was the next house going up the hill.

29.Now we come to the Crocker Guest House, owned at one time by Florence Woods.

Main Street: East Side Going North (cont.)

30. Now we're back right up on Main Street again, and we'll head north on Main Street once more. Right on the corner there is the Henry Stevenson house, later owned by Anna, who was Mr. Stevenson's daughter - Anna and Joe Allen. This house was built by Mr. Owens, and John E. White (he was president of the Martha's Vineyard National Bank at that time) lived there.

31. Next house, going north, is the Frederick H. Clark house. He was an artist, a painter. He had a daughter, Mary Bell Clark, Mary Bell Hotchkiss.

West Side of Main Street

32. Now we'll return back to the west side of Main Street, and start up again once more from there, starting with Bodfish and Call's Store, which is now the French restaurant.

33. The first house on that west side is the Rheno house, one time was owned by Laura Robinson, and is operated now by Mrs. Rheno as a rooming house.

34-5. Then we come to the E. H. Manter Shoe Store, which has since been moved. It was right on the corner of the next lot, though. That building was moved all over the place, and finally wound up down on Lagoon Pond Road, where it is the Color Center. And the house on that property was the E. H. Manter house, now belongs to Mrs. Mayhew. Also, Dr. Marchant lived there at one time.

36. Well, we're coming north again, and the next one is the Dan Alisio house, at the present time. Ida Luce lived there. She worked for Ernest Tilton for a good many years. Also a Dr. Bullett owned it for awhile.

37. Next was Shubael Vincent, he was father of Frank Vincent. Frank Vincent had the cat boat, the On Time. (In fact he had two of them, I believe.) And he would bring over our Sunday papers, take parties out for sails, and was always for hire - anyone who wanted to get over to the mainland.

38. Next is the DAR building. Once was the Nathan Mayhew School, I believe in the 1820's, 1830's, along through there. Well, this is the site of the flagpole that was blown up by the three girls during the Revolutionary War, so the British wouldn't utilize it as a mast for their ship, these three girls blew the pole up with gunpowder, and there was a plaque on the pole telling all about it.

39. Next, across Colonial Lane, is the Edward Roth house. This was once the Lawrence Smith house.

40. Then came Mrs. Foss - I recall Mrs. Foss' house, 'cause she always had a parrot out on the porch, and of course kids would notice those things. That house was moved from there, and finally wound up at the corner of Franklin and Tashmoo Avenue. Len White occupied it for awhile, Mrs. Fiebech, or Rudy Fiebech and his wife, and was moved to enlarge the Brewer Cocoran property. Directly across from Owen Park - I believe there is a stone wall right in that area right now.

41. Next was the Leander Owen house. This is a real old house - 1800's - I recall Jenny Gamsby living there. I believe she was the daughter of Mr. Owen. And that is a real old house.

42. Next is the Spalding's house. This was once owned by Rebecca Pope. She was mother of Bessie Stanton, who lived across the street, on William Street, and the house of course has been remodeled quite a bit.

43. Next is the Chestnut Cottage. The Crowell family lived here for quite a few years. I believe a Mrs. Lyman lived there at one time. She was some relation to the Strahns, who operated the Havenside Hotel.

44. Next is Virginia Crawford house, at one time was Charles West's. I believe he was the lighthouse keeper at West Chop.

45. Next is the Charles S. Norton house. This is right on the corner of Woodlawn Avenue and Main Street. He was the father of Bayes Norton and Helen Norton, Helen Andreson.

46. And then we're crossing Woodlawn Avenue, and we come to the, what we call the Riley house. Originally at this spot was Francis Vincent, father of Fred Vincent. The house burnt down, and was replaced by Mrs. Riley's house.

47. Next was "The Percival." This was a rooming house operated by Mrs. Percival. It was once the Ella Harper house. It was torn down to enlarge Duncan Kreamer's property.

48. And the next house was "Fairtide." This was the home of Captain George Eldridge and family, and was the former Harper barn and stable. It is now owned by Duncan Kreamer.

49. Then comes the H. N. Hinckley house. That was built by him. I believe it is apartments now. It was a large old house. H. N. Hinckley was a contractor and he was the owner of the Hinckley Lumber Yard, which is still operating today.

50. The next home was the Clarence Cleveland house. The Clarence Davies family lived here for a long time. It has been sold - I don't know who owns it right now.

51. Next is the Vineyard Haven Public Library. The original building was given to the town by the McArthur family in 1909. A family by the name of Brown lived at this spot at one time.

52-3. Well, across Greenwood Avenue, the S. C. Luce Jr. property on Main Street was the Ellis Luce house. Mr. Luce had the house flaked and it was moved to Chilmark. It is now near the church, and I believe it was owned by Oliver Robinson at that time. But that was moved to enlarge Mr. Luce's property. On this same property, in the rear of this house was a barn that used to be rented to the Strahn family at Havenside as a dormitory for the girls - the girls who worked there in the summer at the hotel.

54. Next is the home of Mrs. Henry Cronig, at one time was owned by a woman by the name of Smith. I don't recall her first name. Used to call her Aunt somebody Smith. She came from the South, and she would arrive every summer and bring her help right along with her - summer help.

55. Then is the William G. Manter house. Real large house there on Main Street.

56. Then comes the Unitarian Church.

57. Next house is the Bryden house. It was owned by Norman Johnson, a carpenter and builder, who had a shop on Union Street at one time. There was a large barn in the rear of this property.

58. The next building was the Colonel Carey house. This has since been moved off, and is now the Nathan Mayhew Seminars, up on North William Street. Now Henry Coleman - he was the butler for Colonel Carey - Henry was a pal of Ben Turner (we told about in an earlier tape) and the two of them together were quite a team.

59. The next property was Colonel Gibson, as I recall it. The Colonel Gibson house - once Roy Luce lived there, is now the Greenough house, was also (before the Gibsons) Moses Vincent, a contractor and undertaker.

60. Okay, crossing Tashmoo Avenue now, the Captain Ralph Packer house was also the Episcopal rectory.

61. Then we come to the Sandpiper Restaurant, former Tashmoo Inn site. The Tashmoo Inn was moved there from the corner of Main and Church Streets in Vineyard Haven by Harry Castello. It did burn down, and was replaced by the Sandpiper on about the same location.

62. Next is the Allen Gale house, once owned by Mary Slack, was called the Branscomb house, also.

63. Now we're going to cross Locust Lane, to a real old house that at one time was Stephens Reading Room. It was also later occupied by Dr. Dean, Dr. Cabot (an Episcopal rector), Bill Carter. It was moved here from Hatch Road, from the Kingman Brewster property. I'll let you hear first hand about the moving of this house, so the next voice you hear will be Stephen Carey Luce:

[SL:] Stephen and Roger had a reading room, and it was down on the harbor?

[SCL:] Yes, down on the harbor. And I settled the estate of Dutton Randall. ... Anne[?] Randall. And I traded Cyrus Sears for the land where his, and I moved it up there, from down on the harbor where it was. The fella would buy the land, but he wouldn't take the house! And I started[?] up the road[?]... I didn't know where I was going with it, either! I started up the road and I went down there and golly here was this vacant lot. And I said, "Oh gosh, I think the thing would go all right in there." Cyrus Sears owned the land between the [?] built[?] barber shop, where ...

Where Burts...? Which way?...

... the vacant lot, I guess it's vacant now, isn't it?

No, we have a Mini-Mall there. Brickmans...

Yeah that's right. No that's right, there are shops in there.

...He owned that?...

And I traded that land there with him for that lot down there. George Norton said to me, "Where's he going with this house?" I said, "I just found out ... right in here. Cut the rollers and take 'em in." So, he backed it in there, and there it is!

There it is today!

Okay, that was Stephen Carey Luce. You'll have to pardon the squeaking tape recorder. I didn't realize it was picking it up at the time, but we have since rectified that.

64. Okay, the next house is the William W. Claghorn house, now belongs to Chester Cummings.

65. The next house, with the fieldstone front, it is now owned by Marge and Russ Rusbosin, was the home of Homes Swift. He was the father of Frank Swift, who ran a clothing store down on Main Street.

66. Next was the home of Henry Gould. We used to call him Grandpa Gould. He was the village police force - entire force! - he was a constable in those days. He was the chief and everything else you could think of, and he was it. He also went around lighting the gas lights on the street corners at night. Take his little ladder along with him, and hand light up the street lights. Mrs. LeBeau lived up here for a long time. Okay, we're now at Daggett Avenue.

Main Street: East Side Going North

67-8. Let's go back, start on the east side again, and we'll start just beyond the Clark house, with F. O. Tilton. He was the original owner of the Tilton Lumber Company, and his house sits back from the street. It is now occupied by Donald Tilton, Donald's Tilton's widow. Donald was his son. There was also a barn on this property that is now occupied by his grandson, Robert Tilton. Been remodeled into a nice home. This was once the site of the old mill, that had been moved from Spring Street, moved down here to the Tilton property, and then eventually was moved directly in back of what they called the Barn, which is Bob Tilton's home.

69. Directly back of that was General Carey, and was called the Mill House. It was incorporated into the house, at one end, and is still there today. Later, Lillian Hellman lived there, and now it is occupied by William Snow and his family.

70. Now we go back on Main Street again. The next house going north from the F. O. Tilton home is Colonel Rochester. Colonel Rochester's house. His son was called the "Crimson Rambler." He usually rambled all over the town here - liked to walk. The house is now owned by the Chinland family.

71. The next four estates ran from Main Street to the harbor. The first was the Charles Barnett house, which was once a private school. It has since been torn down, and something else has been built there.

72. Then came the Whitney estate. It was owned by a family by the name of Habersham at one time. Now owned by the author John Hersey. That property stands out in my mind - as a kid we were always amused by the statues they had in the garden there - two fairly large bronze statues in the nude - always amused the kids. They're still there today.

73. Then came another fairly large estate, owned by the Lamborn family. He was the Sugar King. It once was the Zorn property - it was called Juniper Place, and was later occupied by St. Pierre School of Sport. Then it was bought by Henry Cronig and a lot of changes were made there. Broken up into house lots and the houses were torn down and switched all around.

74. Next was McArthur property, earlier owned by Judge William H. Arno. Mrs. Pauline McArthur was Judge Arno's daughter. She lived there with her husband and finally lived there by herself with her three boys. I don't recall her oldest boys name, but there was Arthur Paul (the second boy) and then Billy. She had a studio built on the one end of the property, still there today, and she would hold these evening sings, entertainments, and so forth. She had some real nice musicians there - she had a real large grand piano. Mrs. McArthur would be all dickied out in her evening gowns, wearing a pair of sneakers! She also had a billiard room in this same studio, some well known people that played there: Henry and Arthur Hadley were two. I believe one of them was director of the Philadelphia Symphony. Mrs. McArthur also served refreshments sometimes, and she would serve Welsh rarebit - in a thunder jug! If you don't know what a thunder jug is, it was used in the earlier days - it was placed under your bed, when we didn't have the indoor plumbing, and so forth. I presume it was a new one, but anyway Welsh rarebit was served in a thunder jug. The original house burned down, and a house was moved there from West Chop, which is there today.

75. The next building on Main Street also was a McArthur building. Once it was painted red. It's a small house, right on Main Street.

76. Directly back of this house, and on the beach, was the Henry Scott house. It is now owned by the author William Styron.

77. And next comes the Bayside Summer Hotel, started in the very early 1900's, operated by Charles S. Norton.

Owen Little Way (Frog Alley)

78-79. And the next building on the corner of Owen Little Way and Main Street is called the Hicks House. It was moved from there - It was one of the houses moved from there from Owen Park, along with the hotel building. He also built a casino on the beach, had bath houses on the first floor, and a dance hall on the second floor, meeting rooms and so forth. And now it is the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club.

80. On the corner of Main Street and Owen Little Way was the Whitlock house - we're on the north side of the street now - was the Whitlock house, later owned by William Snow. I don't know the present owner's name.

81. Going down Owen Little Way a little bit, on the north side, was Mrs. Righter. She was Mrs. William Snow's mother, who owns the Mill House at the present time.

82. The next one down was a house called the Andresan house. I don't think that house, or either one of those is that old.

Main Street: East Side Going North (cont.)

83. Well, back again on Main Street, we're heading north again toward West Chop, on the right hand side was the Henrietta Hollister, later Mrs. St. John.

84. And then the next one was the Dean Swift house, once was the home of William Legg, who's Harry Legg's father, and then Roy Fuller owned it for a long time. There's nothing else between the Legg house and Hatch Road, so let's go up Hatch Road.

Hatch Road

85-6. Okay, the first house on the left is the Dr. Whiting house, and the next on the left was the Flora Guyan house - Mrs. Sharey lived there at one time.

87. Directly on the end of Hatch Road, where it makes the bend there, directly straight ahead on the corner, toward the harbor, was Colonel Goethals, it's still owned by his son, young George Goethals, I believe.

88. Now we turn the corner, and on the left hand side the next house would be Charles B. Cleveland (that'd be Rod Cleveland's father).

89. The next house would be the former site of the Stevens Reading Room we were talking about, described by Carey Luce, that was moved to the corner of Locust Lane and Main Street. This property was owned by the Shoemakers, and then Kingman Brewster, ambassador to Great Britain at the present time, and former president of Yale University.

90. Next, on the corner of that little street that runs down towards the harbor is a house owned by James West, "Jump Spark Jim" we called him.

91. And next was a house owned by Morris Cleveland.

92. Then we come to the Cole property, once owned by Mrs. Hallett, who had a coachman and horses, and is now owned by Fred Eaton.

93-4. Next, the Wortman house, then the VanRiper home, former home of Calvin Childs. He owned a yacht, and Elmer Rogers was his skipper.

95. Way on the end was the Leon Robinson house, once Charles Robinson, and that is a real oldie.

Hatch Road is a dead end, so we come right down to the end of the street, so we'll go back on the other side, on the west side of Hatch Road now, heading back.

96-7. Llewellyn Cleveland had a small building here at one time where he had a taxidermy shop, where he mounted and stuffed ducks, fish, and what have you, and near this same spot was a school, way way back. It was called the North School, way before my time, about 1829. Long time before my time!

98. Next is the Hallett Barn or Cole Barn, and that's still there today.

98 ½. The next few houses were more or less modern type, fairly recent, until we come to the Ben Frank Cleveland house.

99. And the house right on the corner of Hatch Road, as we're about to go back down again to Main Street, right on the corner, it isn't too old, but it was the Fredericks Studio. At one time Edith Beetle lived at this location.

Main Street: East Side Going North

Okay. Now we're back on Main Street. We'll stay on the east side and head north again.

100. Next is a large estate owned by Hollingsworth, later Herbert Ware. A beautiful old Georgian type house was in there, with a long drive going in, was all brick. Laid on edge, no less, not flat. There must've been thousands and thousands of bricks there, still there today. It also had a large barn. The barn was later converted to living quarters, had tennis courts, sunken garden, beach house. The movie "Annabelle Lee" was partially photographed here. A look at that property today makes you feel a little sick, they way it has been cut up, developed and changed. The whole thing has been changed.

101. Slightly off to the north of the Ware property was the George Armsby house. George Armsby had a lot to do with the development of the Tisbury Water Works. He operated a plumbing shop on Union Street. I recall right over the kitchen sink in his home was a pressure gauge - the only one I ever saw in a house - connected to a water pipe so he could keep track of the water pressure. I have also seen in several of the present West Chop houses an instrument called an annunciator with his name on it. I presume he sold them. What it was was a box mounted on the kitchen wall. Had several dials on it, one for each room you wanted to connect. When a button was pushed in the room upstairs, a buzzer sounded in this box and a little dial would indicate which room it was, in the kitchen. And connected to the room was about a one inch diameter sheet metal speaking tube. In the end of the tube was a whistle. If you wanted to attract somebody's attention you just blow into the end of this tube and the whistle would sound and you'd push a little handle, flip it open, and converse through the tube. That was in the days before telephones. There's still some of those around today! I see them in houses down in West Chop.

102. To the north of the Armsby house, and facing the harbor, was the Silas Daggett house. Well, a family of two girls and three boys grew up here, all the Daggett children. It is now owned by the Jewett family. A real old house.

Grove Ave.

103. Slightly to the northeast of the Daggett house was a ships chandlery. Ships chandleries dealt in all kinds of things for ships: food, rope, marine hardware, and so forth. And the wharf in front of this building was covered with old anchors and chains. Looked like a bunch of junk, but I suppose it was valuable. It was operated at one time by George Eldridge of the Eldridge Tide Book and then later by Edward Lord, and while he owned it, it burned down. That was the end of that. That was right at the end of Grove Avenue, right hand side.

104. Across Grove Avenue, and further to the north was a house owned by H. H. Mills. Still in the Mills family. Mr. Mills is the inventor of Gravy Master. He also manufactured rock candy at his plant at City Island, New York. Rock candy was made on a piece of string, as I recall seeing it there. Looked like a lot of large white buttons spaced about a half inch apart on the string. I think it was used principally in the barrooms for some kind of drinks.

105. Okay. Now we're going back on the other side of the street, the south side of the street of Hatch Road [sic], going up the street. Real large area there consisting of five houses - it was owned by the Roberts family, and stretched from Main Street almost down to the beach. Mildred Roberts was the last I remember. She was noticeable by driving a real old Chevrolet. Not too many years ago, but it was a real old car. I don't know the year, but it was an oldie. They owned all that property.

106. A real old cemetery is on the corner of Grove Avenue and Main Street.

107-8. The only house on the north side of Grove Avenue at that time was E. T. Walker's. He operated a paint and hardware store on the corner of Spring and Main Street where Issokson's is now. He had two sons, George and Harry. Harry later built a small house on the property near Main Street. I believe the Eldridge family lived in the original house when their father was running the chandlery further down the street.

Main Street: East Side Heading North (cont.)

109. The next on the east side of Main Street was the Captain Thomas Smith house. They were the parents of Atherton Smith.

Pat Cleveland's house is the next one, and that is a new one. So we'll go back now to Daggett Avenue and head north on Main Street again on the West side.

Main Street: West Side Heading North

110-1. So backtracking now, we're on the west side of Main Street near Daggett Avenue. The first house was George Norton. Now the Paul Engleys live there. George's wife was named Maria. He worked at one time for Bodfish and Call. He then operated his own little grocery store which was back of his house facing Daggett Avenue. It was a full-fledged grocery store. He sold meats, he had a refrigerator in there - a real large walk-in refrigerator for meats. Like a neighborhood grocery store. He also ran a Model T Ford truck driven by Gene Isaacs which would travel as far as Gay Head, stopping at houses along the way, and if he didn't have what you wanted that day, you'd give him your order and he would bring it up the next trip. This truck was loaded with everything you could think of - meats, fruit, canned goods, you name it. Later an ice cream store operated from this location. Then it was the home of Rod Cleveland for a long time.

112-113. Okay. Next is the home of Harry McLellan, and then, just before Fairfield Avenue, was a house that burned down somewhere around 1940 in that area. It was the home of Ed J. Lewis and his brother, William Lewis, they lived there.

114. Crossing Fairfield Avenue, which actually was a dirt road in those days, and Old Lighthouse Road, which is still there, the next house was Matthew Dias.

115. Now, going up the hill, right opposite Hatch Road, the Hatch Road intersection, was the Ed Ames house.

116. The houses next are new, owned by Sim Pinkham. Llwellyn Cleveland had a hothouse a little further along in the same area.

117. Next was the Edward Robinson house, owned later by several owners, including Judge Jim Boyle, Twinky and Bill Carr. There's one other one in there, I forget the name.

118. Then we come to the Rideworth Lodge which is directly opposite Grove Avenue on Main Street, right opposite the intersection there. It was operated by Mrs. Rideworth as a summer hotel for a long time.

119. On the next lot on the corner was the location of a house owned by Henry Cronig, which burnt down. Henry installed one of the first oil burners which he and Bill Colby were selling at the time. Apparently that was the cause of the fire. Anyway the house was burned completely down one night, a bitter cold night, and later a small house was built further back on the property, and it is now owned by Jerry and Ev Shea.

120.Next house was owned by Mrs. Fred Weeks.

Main Street: East Side Heading North

122. Okay, we're crossing back over the street again, across Main Street, starting about where Pat Cleveland lives. We're still heading north. That whole area is a new development including Pine Tree Lane, Oak Tree Lane, and it was developed by a man by the name of Maurice Bloomerth who had several houses built in that area. Mr. Bloomerth was, besides being a real nice gentleman, was also a big tipper. You'd greet him in the spring, he was just as apt to leave a twenty dollar bill in you hand when he shook hands with you. I recall him coming into the plumbing shop where I was working one noon. I was sitting there eating my lunch, just setting down, and I didn't know who the man was at all. He asked for some little thing, some ten cent article or something. I got up and got it for him, and he gave me a five-dollar tip.

123. Okay. The next house, set well back in from the street, and was owned by the Soren family. Later it was a girls' camp, also the Heeney School for music, and I believe it is now owned by James Angel.

124. The next house was also owned by the Soren family.

125. Next was two houses, one near the street, the other looking over the harbor. They were owned by Lorenzo F. and Ellen Luce. They were later remodeled and owned by Richard Lenihan.

126. Next is the home of Harry Weeks. I don't know who owns it today. He had one son, Byron Weeks. Slightly older than I, but I do remember him.

127. Next came the home of Reuben and George Cleveland. It is now the Hollingsworth home, summer home there, owned by the Hollingswroth family.

128-9. Next house I am uncertain who owns it, but then we come to the former home of E. P. Moller. He had two daughters, Amy and Vivian. The Mollers were a riding family. You could often see the whole family riding with their saddle horses, and the girls were the envy of all the young people today, had their little pony cart. They're a two-wheeled wicker cart, had a door in the rear and seats on the side. And all the kids were a little bit envious of these Moller children riding around in their pony cart. That was the ambition I guess of every youngster in those days, to own a pony. His business was decals. The house was later demolished and the present house - I call it the "Jet House" - it was built by the Thayers, Thayer family. Same driveway is there today that was at the original house, cement concrete driveway, with a circular drive near the house. It was okay for a horse and wagon, but I think it would be pretty difficult for a car to make that turn. I guess it could be done but the radius of the circle is so small that'd it'd be a little hard to turn a car around there.

130. Next was the home of Mrs. Annie Cleveland, which was later sold to Willard Jackson. He bought it to protect his interests there. He owned the next large area - the large, open area now, still there. I believe it is now owned by Ned Douglas. Big, open field.

131. Next on the right hand side, and we're still heading north, is the location of the General George Goethals house that was moved there from Crocker Avenue. Later is was bought by James Douglas, Secretary of the Air Force under President Eisenhower, and father of Bob Douglas, owner of the Shenandoah. And I don't recall who owns it now.

Main Street: West Side Heading North

132. Okay, returning to the west side of Main Street, heading north again. Incidentally all of this road as I recall from Hatch Road all the way down and around West Chop was a shell road - oyster shells I believe. But they'd be pretty hard on automobile tires I would think today. Okay, we'll start at the bend in the road on the west side, just about across from the Angel Property right on the corner of Main Street there. On the corner was the home of George Robinson. George Murphy lived here at one time, and also Gordon and Hilda Abbott. Willie Place owned it, and he built one or two smaller little houses around it.

133-134. Next is a house owned by Walker Lewis, and then another Walker Lewis house. Between these two houses is a driveway.

135. In back of this second Walker Lewis house is John Menkins' home. He came here from Germany with Mr. Moller. I believe he was Mr. Moller's groom - took care of his horses and that sort of thing. Then later on John was a gardener - took care of lawns and that sort of work.

136. Next on the left hand side comes the home of Frank Cleveland. He was the father of Raymond Cleveland, Pat Cleveland. That house is now owned by the Hollingsworth family.

137. And next was the Moller barn, where he kept all his riding horses and pony, all his riding equipment. That house was remodeled into a home and is occupied today by someone, I don't know who.

138. Next house was the Henry Walker house. It is now owned by Eno Campbell.

139. Then came William A. Morse. He was considered by many as a very smart attorney.

140. Next one's Frederick Bristol's School for Singers, also owned by the Davies family at one time, Katherine Anderson's family. Mrs. Jackson next door wanted a larger garden so the house was bought by Willard Jackson and moved further down the road, beyond the lighthouse, and was owned by the Fullers, and called "the Folly." We'll come to that in a little bit.

141. Next, the present home of Ned Douglas, was called the Roach House. It formerly was Willard Jackson, and this family also owned the next two houses.

142. The next house down was the so-called Willauer house, and it was moved from there by Ned Douglas to enlarge his lawn. And it moved toward town to the McArthur Property, replacing the McArthur house which had burned down.

143. The third Jackson house, also called the Willauer house, was bought by David Murphy, David and Tina Murphy, the present owner, and it used to be called "The Spider." Mr. Jackson named all his houses after bugs I think. They all had a bug name, because the original owner of his house was Roach, so he called this one "The Spider," and there was other insect names for some of the other houses.

144. Okay, the next is a very large house, which was the property of James P. Chadwick at one time. It was extensively remodeled in the thirties by Robert Bigelow. This is a seven bathroom house - a biggie. It is now owned by Donald Pel.

Okay. The next house is owned by Mrs. Haskell. The present house is fairly new. The old house that was at this location was moved across the Point, as the West Choppers describe it, to the end of the dirt road that goes down by the West Chop Wharf. It was moved down there and it is now owned by the Cruikshank family.

The Loop - Ocean Side Going North

145. Now we will start around the West Chop Loop, on the east side of the road, and the first estate is the John Grandin house, still in the Grandin family. It was moved here, and Mrs. Peters will tell you why. The next voice you will hear is Mrs. Ruth Peters.

[SL:] …till you come to John Grandin's.

[RP:] oh, that's quite a house!


Where the main tennis courts are, there was an inn, an abandoned inn.

You mean up here?

Yeah. The first two tennis courts. not the new ones built in the back, but the ones on the Main Street.

The ones on the right hand side as you're going around the loop? Be on the right?

As you come around the loop, the two on the right hand side. And that was an abandoned inn when I came in 1909. It evidently was built to rival the Cedars, and nobody took anything and it was abandoned. And Tom West was a trustee then, and he wanted to build his own tennis courts. Well people said "That's unheard of!" People had to meet for tennis every morning to make their engagements during the day. There were no automobiles or anything. Or telephones, there wouldn't be telephones either. So he said that he would build tennis courts, he could get that old inn and move it. So he got the old inn and moved it down to the water[?]. And then he left West Chop, became president of Rhode Island Hospital Trust, and of course on the other side[??] went to Quissett I think. He could go home every night. And he was a little bit difficult. So he sold it to the Dralias[??]

Who moved it down there? You remember?

I don't know who was the mover. I was too young to be interested in the moving then! I suppose Harry Horton did. Didn't he move everything then?

Well he moved about everything, yeah.

That was Mrs. Ruth Peters telling how the Grandin house was moved.

146. The next house is the McBride house. This is a real old house. It was moved to this spot from the corner of Tea Lane and the North Road in Chilmark. I believe it was flaked and moved. Flaking a house means it was cut up in sections and all the pieces were numbered so they could be replaced to their original place. And this way the house could be moved as a flat object.

147. Next comes the Bissell's house. We're right next to the Lighthouse. It was built in 1901 by John Preston. He taught music. This is on the town side of the West Chop Lighthouse.

Now we come to the lighthouse. Now all of the property around the lighthouse was once owned by my grandfather and grandmother, Abner and Sarah West. I still have the deed here. I'll read a little bit of what the deed says. So okay now we will read what it says in the deed:

"December 5, 1843. From James and Charlotte West to Abner and David P. West. In consideration of the sum of four hundred dollars, the following property… A certain lot of land situated in said Tisbury and Holmes Neck, so called, and called the Point Lot at the West Chop and bounded as follows. Beginning at a stake and stones about it on the west side on the north end of the Point Pond, so called, hence running west by south by Rufus Davis' land 68 rods to a stake and stones. Hence north 15 degrees until it strikes the sound. Hence east and southerly by the sound or shore until it brings the first mentioned bound to bear west by south. Thence run west by south across the pond to the first mentioned bound. With all the privileges and appurtenance in any way thereinto belonging, excepting a lot of land owned by the United States whereon stands the dwelling house and lighthouse. The above lot contains thirty acres more or less."

Now on September 10, 1870, this same property was deeded to Sarah West for the sum of $150 by Abner West, but I don't know why, I don't know what the reasoning was for that, but that's what happened. So at one time my family was the owner of a heck of a lot of valuable property. If they'd held on to it, I probably would be driving a couple of Cadillacs today!

148. Okay, the next house - we're still on the east side and we're heading north - the next house beyond the lighthouse was the Chadwick house. It is now owned by Mrs. Reese. Well, Mrs. Peters has a story about that one, too. I'll let you listen to her again. And the next voice you will be hearing will be Mrs. Ruth Peters.

[SL:] ...The Chadwick house, on the other side of the Lighthouse.

[RP:] The Chadwick house. Well it was standing when I came.

Belongs to Mrs. Reese now, doesn't it?

Yes. And Mr. Chadwick, you know, was the head of the Boston Consortium of Music. He was a composer. Delightful days.[?] Very temperamental, as composers are. And he just looked at the plan and thought "that's a nice place to have a house," and didn't come down at all. Had it built. You heard this tale, didn't you?

No, I don't think so.

[Laughs] Well they came on the Uncatena, the night boat, and they went to bed. In the middle of the night this horrible noise. The whistle was loud then, woke up. … "Sell the house, we'll go!" His wife calmed him down and said yes, go. She was careful about waking him in the morning.[?] He woke up, the sun was shining, sparkling on the water, everything was lovely and then he'd missed the boat, he couldn't get away, so he forgot about going. That night, same thing happened. Same thing happened, and they said, well, we'll go. Certainly you can't, George, you can't compose here, I realize that. We'll give it right up - we'll sell it. Well fortunately (they tell me, I wasn't here then) we had two weeks of beautiful weather, and he composed some of his best music then, and was there ever since, till he died!

[149. Not on tape. His notes say, "Weir Goodman not an old house."]

150. Then we come to the home of - was - J. Sumner Draper. He was father of the lady we just heard, Mrs. Ruth Peters. Actually these were two houses put together by Robert Gould Shaw. They were bought by the Drapers in 1909. And it's right on the shore - nice piece of property.

The Loop - Inland Side Going North then West

177. Back up a little bit, across from the lighthouse, on the West side of the road now, we're heading north again on the West side, across from the lighthouse, was the Frank Small house. This was moved there from Oak Bluffs. Don't know too much about its history, but the Small family lived there a long time.

178. Then we come to "The Folly." This was the house that was moved here from the Jackson property, further back down the road, and is occupied by the Fullers.

179. Next house is the Great House. That was moved from Vineyard Haven, about where the police station is today. It's an old house - it survived the 1883 fire. I believe this house was also flaked. It was owned by a Mrs. Warner, and now is owned by her daughter, Mrs. Trotter.

180. Next comes the Silas Howland house. Originally it was built for Philip Saltinstall.

181. Then there is a small portable building. I'm now going in a westerly direction, sort of heading up the hill. It was built by Mrs. Goldthwaight to make room for her grandchildren. She wanted them to have separate quarters.

182. And now we come to the house owned by Mrs. Valiant. It was first bought by the Gerrash family. It was one of the four houses originally built for speculation and rental, which included the Dalton house, which was across the street, and next one was Connie Saltinstall's, and the one by the pier, later was Harry Greenough's. Mrs. Valiant still maintains that house as a year-round home. She's here in the winter.

171. Next house - or next building - on the corner is the Cedars, or part of the Cedars, actually it was the first part of the Cedars that was built. Two families took this whole building at one time, had their rooms there and they all ate at home, but for some reason they rented the whole building. They were the Jacksons and the Greenoughs.

The Loop - Ocean Side Heading West then South

151. Now we're going back to the Draper house, on the other side of the road again, now on the north side, sort of heading west. What was what is now Singer's, was built by Dr. Homans. That is one of the three original houses of West Chop. The next three are three of the original houses that were built there.

152. Next going on up the hill now is the Fuller house, built by Charles P. Greenough. I recall seeing one of the ocean going tugs that used to go into the Vineyard Haven wharf with that name, "Charles P. Greenough."

153. Next house is the Charles Jackson house. And these three last houses were the originals on West Chop, and the Jackson house is still owned, occupied by the Charles Jackson family.

154. Next is the house of Franklin Q. Brown, called the Shore Cottage, bought in 1910. It was once the Eaton house.

155-6. And then comes the Dalton house, that was one of the rental houses, the four rental properties that were built for speculation, as was the next house that is owned by Pat White at present. This was one of the rental houses, and it was bought eventually by Endicott Saltinstall, and then Reed Morse bought it.

Well, we now come to the flagpole, and we're now going on to the dirt road that runs down by the West Chop wharf, and is sort of a bumpy road, if you venture down that way. I guess they leave it that way so there won't be too much traffic. Well the first thing you see as you go onto this road is the road leading down to the West Chop wharf, and bath houses used to be down there. Steamers used to land here in the summer, in the evenings, and they were met by Walter Renear. Walter Renear had a barge - a so-called barge - a barge was a long, enclosed wagon. Had an entrance at the rear, and the seats were on each side. Sort of a forerunner of today's buses, I guess you'd call it. It was drawn by a pair of horses. He would meet all of the evening boats and pick up people and take them to their homes. And also pick up their baggage and trunks and stuff. There also was a ticket office and express office on this wharf. Later it was moved to the, well between the Cedars and the Casino, where it is now used as a tool shed. Very small building.

157.Well the next house beyond the wharf road approach was Harry Greenough's, one of the old rental houses. Harry Greenough bought it sometime in the twenties.

158. Next was the Downers' house, now belonging to Mrs. Downer's daughter, Helen Tallman.

159. And the next house is the Thayer house. It was sold by closed bids, and it was bought by the Righters. They're related to Mrs. Downer - one of Mrs. Downer's daughters, I believe.

160. Next was W. I. Badger - his son lived here for a long time.

161. Then came the Tuttle house - Arthur Tuttle.

162. And the final house along that road was the Cruikshank house- the one that was moved from the Haskell property, across the point as they described it.

Well that's the end of that little dirt road, but well make a right turn on it and head down towards the beach, 'cause there were a couple of houses down in there.

163. There was the Pulling house that was there for a long time. These houses were called the forty-fours for some reason, I don't know why.

164. Just to the west of the Pulling house was the Hadley house. Henry and Arthur Hadley, who at one time - one of them at one time director of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. It burned down, was never replaced. And the Donald Starr house in that area was a later one - it was built by Hugh Talon, an architect.

165. Okay, now we're coming back up that dirt road, heading back towards the Loop around West Chop, around the other side of the road the next house was Mr. Badger, Mr. Badger bought, W. I. Badger, to protect himself, and it was later owned by the Gillettes, as it is today.

166. Next building was the O'Shea house. He was a musician. Then it was sold to Dr. Perry. He was head of Exeter Academy, and his daughter owns it now, Emily Cox.

167. Next came the Munn house, bought from R. W. Morse, bought by Mrs. Todd, then the Munns owned it.

168. Next on the corner was the house built by Charles Whittier, now owned by the McGinleys.

Well we're now back on the hard surface again, and we'll continue around the loop, on the right hand side. On the right hand side is the tennis courts - that is the area where the John Grandin house once was, and was described by Mrs. Peters, on the moving.

169. Now we come to the hotel , the Cedars Hotel, operated by a few people. Flora Jordan operated it at one time. Some hotel! They got some notable people that stayed at this place.

170. Around the corner, on Franklin Street, was the West Chop Barn, so called, at one time Walter Renear utilized it to house some of his equipment - wagons and horses and so forth. I believe Mrs. Peters said her family used to keep her car in this barn.

The Loop - Inner Side Going South then East

172. Now, backing up to the corner, up near the flagpole, at the Cedars on the corner there, on the opposite side of the street, then came the Casino. This is a building where all the West Chop people held their Sunday religious services, also parties were held here, dances, Saturday night dances, and just a gathering place for the West Chop people. The Murphies - Frank Murphies - he was caretaker for that property for a good many years - they lived upstairs over the Casino.

173. And then next was some more tennis courts, and then comes the West Chop Post Office, open only in the summer, and was operated by the Bangs family for a lot of years - Paul Bangs, Stuart and Dorothy Bangs. This building has recently been dedicated as the "Bangs house," and has a plaque on the street side commemorating it.

174. Then we come to the playground. At the back of this playground is a building called Red Lodge, owned by the Brown family, F. Q. Brown family. It was moved here from Mohu on the Lambert's Cove Road, up in that area. I believe the previous building that was at the location had burnt down - that is, the West Chop location.

175. Next building was called the Cobb Cottage. It was owned by John Hoar for a long time. It is now the Wightman house.

176. Next was the Goff house, once owned by Philip Morse, but built by Commodore Stone in 1900, and now owned by the Conways.

177. The final and last house we come to on this tour is called Draycott. It is now owned by Brud Warner. It was once the Joliff house, also McCormack Goodhearts owned it for awhile. Had a studio in it, on the property, and also a large barn. Both these buildings are still there.

Well, this about completes the tour from the Martha's Vineyard National Bank to West Chop, as it was in the early 1900s.