Photo by Alison Shaw.

There now appears on the new bandstand on the Vineyard Haven playground the following inscription: William Barry Owen, Playground and Recreation Area.

There has been no sign on this playground for many years and the original sign was small, obscurely located, and did not carry as much information. But this new sign makes clear that the town of Tisbury owns no park area, according to the legal interpretation of the term, but a playground.

The late William Barry Owen, an executive of the Victor Talking Machine Company in his day, returned after some years in England about sixty years ago. During the next few years he acquired considerable property in Tisbury and West Tisbury, and among them the land now owned by the town as a playground.

It was Mr. Owen’s plan to remove certain houses from this tract and build a mansion for himself and his family. He carried out the first part of the plan and two of the houses removed are now located on Main street and Crocker avenue, respectively. But he died in 1914, and a few years later his widow, Mrs. Mae Robinson Owen, sold this land to the town for a playground.

The other uses to which the tract has been put, in addition to providing a playground for children, constitute a dramatic example of the power of the New England town meeting.