From the Vineyard Gazette editions of June, 1958:
An Oak Bluffs landmark for generations, Darling’s candy store was virtually gutted at about noon on Wednesday and quite probably damaged beyond repair, although there was a rumor current the next day it was to be rebuilt. The proprietor, Harris A. Carr, died of a heart attack as he strove to assist firemen in fighting the blaze. Although several versions of the start and progress of the fire were heard, it appeared that Mr. Carr had been working in the place according to his seasonal habit, and that he was using a coal-burning candy kettle, apparently cooking something in it. He is said to have left the building to get a newspaper, and the fire started during the few minutes of his absence.
Although nothing could be certain, the appearance of the charred interior indicated a sugar fire, and there was further evidence of some sort of explosion. Mr. Carr attempted to help, and although urged to leave the place, persisted until he collapsed in the arms of one of the firemen. Dr. David Rappaport was called and the respirator employed, but without avail. The candy store has been a landmark of the town for generations.
A Siberian husky puppy from the kennel of the late Admiral Richard S. Byrd is due here tomorrow with his owner, Mme. Magda Polivanov, to pass some of the months of his youth at her Oak Bluffs cottage. Colonel Bowditch, a cousin of Admiral Byrd, had asked her if she would like a puppy from the Byrd kennels, and naturally she responded with great enthusiasm. The newcomer has been named Nicky for Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia, who was Mme. Polivanov’s godfather.
The Tashmoo Inn, a landmark of Vineyard Haven for close to three-quarters of a century, burned to the ground early Sunday morning with the further loss of virtually all of its contents. The hotel, on which considerable money had been spent for improvements during the past winter was ready for the summer opening. The replacement value as estimated by the proprietor, Thomas J. Rabbitt, might well be placed at a figure in excess of one hundred thousand dollars.
The fire was highly spectacular in appearance. To say that the structure was literally wrapped in flames is no exaggeration, as the fire poured out of every opening. Mounting high in the air, the leaping fire did not project itself in tongues of flame, but rather in a huge boiling cloud, visible for a long distance because of its height. The fire department made its customary prompt response, but there was little to be done save to restrict the fire to the hotel, which was a serious problem.
The Tashmoo Inn was originally built on Main street, and fifty-seven years ago moved to its present site on West Chop road, just north of Tashmoo avenue. In 1924, Mr. Rabbitt purchased the hotel from Capt. Ralph M. Packer.
Ruthven Todd is seen about West Tisbury these days wearing a western-style shirt and bolo tie, mementoes of his recent travels on the west coast. Readings of his own poetry took place in Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland and Santa Barbara, and were well received. Admirers of Ruthven’s earlier books of wild flower drawings will rejoice that on the trip he started a new book, this one filled with some of the flowers of the west.
Another in the Island’s epidemic of major fires, the third within a week, occurred Saturday at the Reinforced Plastics Corporation at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport. The fire, a particularly stubborn one to fight, was confined to the material of the roof and ceiling. All traces of the fire had evidently been confined by the heavy insulation in the roof until after the shop was closed down for the day. The smoke and flames that finally burst through the roof were first noticed by Mrs. Paul Kidder and two friends, as they were driving along the West Tisbury-Edgartown road. They reported the fire at the nearby Northeast Airlines terminal, and Emerson MacLeod, manager of the terminal, turned in the alarm in both the Edgartown and West Tisbury fire stations.
The rough grading of the incompleted portion of Moshup Trail, the Gay Head scenic drive, has now been extended to within a thousand feet of the end, where it will join the state highway near the town’s eastern boundary. It is passable to cars, if care is exercised in driving, and an idea of what this fascinating highway will be like can already be obtained.
Reopening the ancient trail, which was once followed by Island pioneers, and for countless generations before them by Island Indians, Moshup Trail passes through the site of the ancient Indian village. The little burial ground holds the dust of generations of Indians who lived in this sheltered valley.
Compiled by Cynthia Meisner