The recent mention of the Vineyard Haven playground in the Gazette having excited comment and queries, Paul Owen, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. William Barry Owen of that town, has looked up the records in the county registry and the Tisbury town office, in order to determine exactly the present status of this public property.

The burden of such records, which follows, establishes clearly that insofar as the town action is concerned, this is a playground and not a park, yet, by reason of the conditions surrounding its transfer to the town by Mrs. Owen, or her agents, it must be called Owen Park in official references. Under the town’s action, however, “playground and recreation area” is correct.

The beginning of the transfer occurred July 26, 1919, when Mrs. Owen arranged with the town to convey one portion of it to town ownership, and the town assumed responsibility for the mortgage on a second portion. Mrs. Owen was to receive $3,500 for that portion which she held clear, and it was to be paid to her at the rate of $210 annually, until payment was completed.

Trustees Were Named

In the meantime five trustees were appointed to handle the affair, Francis P. Luce, S. C. Luce Jr., Herbert L. Smith, Charles H. Brown and Maurice F. Delano. These trustees were authorized to transfer their responsibility to the Community League, a charitable organization or to whatever organization should succeed them, and it was Mrs. Owen’s condition that the area should be known as The William Barry Owen Park. It was further stipulated by Mrs. Owen that when the town should take title, it could be for a park, or public playground and recreation area, as provided by law.

In March, 1921, at a special town meeting, the town of Tisbury appropriated the necessary funds to pay for the entire area, which cost the town a total of $6,000, this including the mortgage and payments to Mrs. Owen. The vote, as taken under the article in the warrant for the meeting, was “to appropriate the necessary funds for the acquirement of a playground and recreation center.”

The first committee, or board of commissioners, to take charge of this property were designated as park commissioners, but it having been subsequently learned that this was not the proper designation, it has been the practice since to elect a “playground and recreation committee.” All this has been well known to Tisbury town authorities for years and has affected everything in the way of town action regarding this property. Yet the action of certain town meetings has stood and still stands as an expression of the will of the people even though there is a recognized difference between the respective status of park and playground.