The Tashmoo Inn Fire
 Sunday June 8, 1958 -- Vineyard Haven, Mass.

Freeman Leonard was the first photographer on the scene on the early morning of Sunday June 8, 1958 when fire destroyed this Main Street landmark. He recorded the following images (all except the first) and developed the color slides himself. The slides were shown the next day in the window of Mosher Photo and later were used as evidence in court against the alleged arsonist.

The original hotel building was built downtown in the winter of 1883-84 by Mrs. Mary T. Crocker and used as a boarding house. It was later enlarged and made into a popular summer hotel by the last Civil War veteran on Martha's Vineyard, Harry F. Castello. Its original location was on the corner of Main street and Church street (where later stood Cronig's Market.) In 1901 Castello moved the entire building from its downtown location to the "North End", near the corner of Tashmoo avenue and Main street.

At the time of the fire, the hotel's proprietor was Thomas J. Rabbitt. There were no injuries, although the hotel was completely destroyed. Its replacement value was estimated at that time in excess of $100,000.

A smaller building was later built at this site. The Sandpiper restaurant was located here during the 1970s, and today (2001) it is the Montessori School.

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Thumbnail Index to Photographs
Click on the image for enlargement.

(before the fire)

"Tragedy Strikes"

"Gone Inn"

"Hot Skeleton"

"Ashes to Ashes"

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