The Vineyard had a faint fore­shadowing of the tumult of war this week, when windows were — rattled and houses were shaken by the firing of big guns at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod and by target practice by two warships offshore.
With the thought of earthquake tremors fairly fresh in memory, a number of Islanders believed there had been new convulsions of that na­ture last week, but .it now seems apparent that warships must have been responsible for the tremors felt. The big guns at Camp Edwards received their initiation this week and the rumbling of these guns was plainly apparent, in addition to the rattling windows and doors which accom­panied the reverberations. Even more violent tremors were occasioned by the warships, which were observed on a flight over the South Shore by Steve Gentle of Edgartown yesterday. The earth-shaking at Gay Head was more violent than in most parts of the Is­land, according to State Officer Leon­ard N. Martin and others.


From the May 2, 1941 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:


Editorial: This, Too, Has Changed

Once before, the houses of Martha’s Vineyard shook as a result of the firing of big naval guns on war vessels off the South Side. But they did not shake so severely then, because the year was 1904, and the biggest guns of the fleet were twelve inches and the battle­ships were not so large or so formidable as they are now. That was the era, if we mistake not, of the Great White Fleet, and the White warships used to come into Vineyard Sound. Sometimes they fired in the Sound, and people sat on Prospect Hill and other hills to watch them.
Robley D. Evans was admiral then, and T. R. was president. (He told the graduating class at Annapolis, “See that the shots hit!”) It was a pleasant, tranquil period, and we all felt pretty sure of ourselves, and of the serene and unruffled future. Imagine such a thing today as a battleship painted white, even for the sake of pageantry!
The target practice continued through the fall of 1904 — that was the proper name for it, although it is now called “gunnery exer­cise” — and then the protests of fishermen became too strong. It was said that the heavy firing drove the fish away, and Secretary of the Navy Morton told Admiral Evans to tell the fleet to move on where there would be fewer repercussions aside from those of the guns themselves.
We know more about war now, and when the big guns were shaking our houses last week and the week before, it was more than merely an interesting or curious effect. It was grim. One thought of earthquakes at first, and when the news of the war vessels got around, one thought of other things. We are glad that Congressman Gifford asked the Navy Department to take its practice a little farther out to sea, out where the sea air can absorb more of those formidable vibrations before they reach our Island like warnings of the destruction of war.