Hilarious Parties

From Gazette editions of March, 1959:

Once more an attempt to convert the former Morningstar estate in Nashawena Park, Oak Bluffs, into a licensed private social club, has been denied by the Oak Bluffs board of appeals. The unanimous decision to deny the petition of Edward W. Brooke of Boston and Oak Bluffs, was made, according to Walter C. Ripley, the chairman of the board, for two reasons. One reason was the number of people opposed to the waiving of zoning regulations of single-residence districts. The other was that the board felt that Nashawena Park, which has been strictly a residential zone for many years, was no place for a club of any description.

Most of the hearing was taken up by the petitioner himself. Mr. Brooke, who is a lawyer and an extremely capable extemporaneous speaker, presented a lengthy defense to the well-organized opposition by neighborhood residents. Mr. Brooke was seeking to establish an unofficially named Island Club for social and fraternal purposes by members and their guests. The Island Club operated in the Morningstar property last summer, but not as a business.

The hearing was conducted without rancor, while some of the letters of protest were strongly worded, especially as regards “incidents” on the property last summer. A letter from lawyers representing Esther B. Stanley charged that since Mr. Brooke had owned the Morningstar property it had been the scene of a number of “hilarious parties” late at night. A letter from Kenneth Elwell mentioned parties at the club: “I want no part of such goings-on.” He suggested the club seek other quarters.

Mr. Brooke said that he wished to establish the club “because some of the people who come here cannot go to the other clubs, cannot go to the yacht clubs. That was my prime reason. It is not to be a saloon, not the all-night sort of thing. Last summer I didn’t even allow bridge playing because I didn’t want gambling.”

Completion of the Oak Bluffs harbor bulkhead speeds on. Heedless of weather conditions which might have discouraged some men working on similar projects, the crews have kept their pace. The work has not slackened since it began and now the outline of the final section of the bulkhead begins to take shape.

Oak Bluffs has taken the lead among Island towns by building this bulkhead and making the harbor attractive to visiting pleasure craft. By the same token, it is drawing the largest fleet of commercial fishermen in winter of any Island harbor. Shortly there will be added, at private expense, finger piers which will increase the dock space and add to the convenience of boatmen. Many such systems of bulkheads and finger piers are equipped with running water, lights and telephone service, these facilities being available to boats lying at the piers, the electric current being brought aboard the boats by means of extension cords plugged into convenient outlets.

It has been suggested and even pressed to some degree, that similar bulkheading with finger piers be constructed inside of Lagoon Pond, in the vicinity of Lagoon Bridge. The popularity of Oak Bluffs harbor being already assured, Island interest in this sort of waterfront improvement seems bound to increase.

It’s hard to keep a good man down. And in the case of Al Cummings it’s hard to keep him on the ground. A week and a day from the date when Al, a steeplejack, tree and roof climber, was injured in an Edgartown fall, he was on the roof of the Walter Smiths, once again concerned with a TV antenna. Equipped with a crutch, Al soon lost patience with his mechanical aid, and completed the job without it. It’s all in the whaling and deep-sea tradition, from the days when a man went back aloft as soon as he recovered from a fall from the rigging.

We think it will give pleasure to lovers of our own Island to feel that Vineyard street in Honolulu, so named in the long ago days of Pacific whaling, will soon be a thoroughfare in the fiftieth state of the Union. The seamen’s lot in Nuuanau Valley cemetery where Ben Luce and others of Martha’s Vinyard lie buried will also be embraced by the invisible mantle of statehood that means, in a closer sense, home. Home, even if so much of the Pacific rolls between.

It used to be said that the blue cloud of old Haleakala was visible for eighty miles at sea, and Vineyard whalemen looked for it. Eighty miles — why, what with the news of the past week, it seems that we can almost see it from here. Mark Twain, in his famous eulogy of Hawaii, wrote, “In my nostrils still lives the breath of the flowers that perished twenty years ago.” Lucy Smith of the Vineyard endorsed that feeling, but substituted for the final phrase “more than fifty years ago.” Fragrance such as that is well worth having in the Union.

Complied by Cynthia Meisner

library@ mvgazette.com