1947 Map of Church Street Neighborhood, Vineyard Haven, Mass.

Photo by pilot Walter Hume Renear. (See entire photo.)
Notes by Walter Hume Renear, Stan Lair, and Chris Baer.


1. South wing of Renear's Garage. This was the first of the Renear buildings erected and serviced as an all purpose building- sales and repairs, etc.

2. North wing of Renear's Garage. This building was erected second, and served as, a repair shop. Both buildings 1 & 2 were later used as winter storage for summer resident vehicles.

3. Renear's Garage. This building, which fronted on the south side of Church Street, was built third. It became a showroom, parts department, paint department, battery room and day storage (such as fire trucks and government vehicles).

Note: Two buildings on the north side of Church Street and two buildings on the south side of Church Street were removed in order to make room for the above described "garage" buildings. Three of these buildings were moved to the south side of South Main Street - all in a row beginning with the first building west of Edu-Comp (they are still there in 2000). I don't know what happened to the fourth building. See this turn of the century photo looking down Church Street to see how the street looked previously.

Renear's Garage (buildings 1, 2, and 3) burned down in 1968. A tire shop is there today.(2000)

4. Renear's Showroom. This building was built in 1922. It stands on the north side of Church Street and was used as a showroom, offices, parts department; and, in the rear, as a tractor department and body display. In the model "T" days you purchased a chassis and then went to the rear of the building and picked out a body (these sat in rows on saw horses). Later (after the model "T"s, tractors and WWII) the rear section became the repair shop. Today (2000) it houses ComElectric offices.

It is an interesting building. It was completely constructed of reinforced concrete and designed by Major Charles Barnett. For many years it had the biggest glass windows on the island. Barnett, while with the Army Corps of Engineers, designed the lock gates for the Panama Canal. He lived directly across the street from the Unitarian Church.

There was a pit and lift at the rear of the lot on the north side of Church Street.


5. Renear's Service Station. The last of Renear's buildings to be constructed was the Service Station on the North Side of Church Street. The building was torn down in 1973, and a parking lot is at this site today (2000).

6. Home of Sheriff Walter H. Renear and Mrs. Celestia Josephine (Wetherell) Renear. It is now (2000) the bead shop.

7. The Masonic Hall. Today (2000) it is the Vineyard Playhouse.

Note: Just behind it, on William Street, was the home of Mr. Hartley Sparrow, a piano tuner. It was later the home of Howard and Lizzie Downs.

8. The Methodist Episcopal Church. The old wooden church at this site was destroyed by fire in 1922. They replaced it with a stone church, built by Herbert Hancock.Jim Norton did all the stone work on it.

9. Cronig's Gas Store. The gas store building was ultimately moved to Lagoon Pond Road across from the present post office (2000) and now houses the paint store.



12. Cronig's Market.
Stan Lair said of this building: "The former site of the Tashmoo Inn, it was moved by Henry Costello to North Main Street, just off of Tashmoo Avenue, and it burnt down, and replaced by the Sandpiper Restaurant, which was built just about on the same site. At one time at Cronigs Block there was W. E. Godfrey Clothing. Then in the rear was a Mr. Sparrow, a piano tuner. I recall seeing Mr. Sparrow on a bicycle. It was probably the first Smith motor wheel [?] on the Island. The wheel was fastened on the rear of the bicycle, right along side of the rear wheel. Old Mr. Sparrow was chugging along with his piano tools strapped onto the bicycle. Quite a sight! Also in that building was Dewey's Barber Shop. He was another colored barber. I went to school with his boy, Harold Dewey. I remember him well. The Barnacle Club was located there for awhile also. And Walter Norton had another ice cream parlor there. And Herbie Stephens opened a small short-order restaurant. Herbie was famous for his "Coot Stew." If you don't know what a "coot" is, it's a form of duck whose chief diet is fish, I believe. And unless they're cooked a certain way, why they're not very edible. And Herbie used to serve this "Coot Stew" and it was pretty good, I guess. He also had a sign stuck up over the front of the counter, said "Do not kid the coffee - you may be old and weak yourself one day." Quite a guy. George Carey also had an electric store there for a few years. Henry Cronig's office was there. Peakes & Lair's office was in the same office as Henry's, and on the end, towards the Bodfish House, was David Colinsky's clothing store."

13. The Vineyard Haven Post Office.
Today (2000) it is the Rainy Day store.

The south end of this building was the old Telephone Exchange and office, later the Cape & Vineyard Electric Office, and later Medi-Save. This same building was E. H. Lord's Shoe Store.


Henry Coye's jewelry store. It was also L. E. Briggs jewelry and furniture, and later Tobins and recently Holmes Hole. Stan Lair said: "There was a drinking fountain at one time on the sidewalk in front of this store. It was donated by the Sons of Martha's Vineyard. It had small projections at the base so the dogs could get a drink. Sort of an ornate fountain, pretty fountain. One day someone tied a horse to the thing, and something frightened the horse. He wrecked the fountain. I don't recall them ever repairing it - they may have."


17. The Charles Gale House.
Charlie Gale lived there, and later it was Jack Carey, and Rebey[?] Carey, and George. Stan Lair (from whom much of this information is compiled) was born in this house in 1902.

18. Bishop Whitemore's House, Episcopal bishop.


20. David Colinsky's clothing store.
Today (2000) it is Cronig's Real Estate.

21. The home of William P. Bodfish.

22. The Western Union office.
Stan Lair said: "At one time it was a grocery store, Bodfish and Coll. Then the S. B. S. Bake Shop. I recall that very well. I used to drop in there once and awhile to sit in the back room. Old Joe Correllus used to work there. He'd hand out a fresh-made doughnut, cookies, those sort of things. Right out of the oven. They were good. I used to drop in there very often and chew the rag with the bakers. Then, Averill's Bake Shop was in there, and Humphrey's Bake Shop. Then Jimmy Morris remodelled the whole first floor and had his florist shop there. He had a hot house in the rear. Later it became Western Auto, and for a short while it was the bank, just for a few short months. Now it is a French restaurant, Patisserie." Today (2000) it is a bagel shop.


24. The Dr. Leach House.
Stan Lair said: "Several families have been in that one. Lots of times it wasn't rented in the winter it was just closed up, and the family would just come summers and spend the summer there. Nice old house."


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