A Last Relic

From Gazette editions of November, 1959:

One of the most familiar landmarks on the Vineyard, the old Eastville Inn property, should be nothing more than a vacant lot by the first of the year. Leo Convery, the owner, has completed arrangements to have most of the structure torn down. Last weekend, the rear wing was moved by Walter Ripley to property nearby, where it will be turned into a guest house. Ernest Duarte has been given the contract to tear down the remainder of the building and dispose of the materials. Mr. Convery will then see to the clearing of the tract. He said that he had nothing in mind so far as the further development of the property was concerned, but that he thought the location was ideal for several types of businesses.

The old building has not served as an inn for several years. But when the inn was in operation, it presented a friendly sight. For quite a few summers there was dining on the long veranda and the tables with red checkered tablecloths lent an inviting air of rural festivity for passing motorists. The age of the building is uncertain, but Dr. Charles Banks wrote that Eastville was “a hamlet made up mostly of taverns and ship chandlers’ shops where the seafaring man was accustomed to tarry . . . . One still survives, the Eastville Inn, as a last relic of this neighborhood of taverns.”

Oak Bluffs and Tisbury scallopers have started fishing in Lagoon Pond. They were not so numerous as in past years, but turned out in good numbers. Tisbury had issued 85 commercial licenses. Oak Bluffs had issued but 67, far less than last year’s opening figure. One thing appeared certain, that whatever the luck might be this week or next, it will be a paying proposition as long as the price holds up. The first price announced by an Island buyer came from Chester Cummens of Vineyard Haven, an Eldridge buyer. Mr. Cummens announced the price of $10.50 a gallon early. The best eyes were quoted in Fulton Market at $15. In Edgartown, where there were about 60 commercial scallopers, the limits on the first day were quickly gotten. There were 35 boats out that first morning. Eighteen of the boats were at Edgartown Great Pond. The rest were at the outer harbor and Anthier’s Pond, both of which are exceedingly grassy this year, making the taking of scallops somewhat difficult.

“I was some surprised, boy,” said Herbert Mercier Sr. of Edgartown, employing a typical Island speech mannerism when describing his reaction at winning the new, long, sleek, fish-tailed light blue Cadillac, offered by the Gen. George Goethals Post, American Legion, at the Veterans Day dance held Tuesday night at the school gym. Mr. Mercier did not attend the dance and so was informed of his good fortune by telephone just about midnight. He got himself dressed and was ready to receive the committee on delivering Cadillacs when it arrived a few minutes later. The proceeds derived from the car project will go into the fund being used to develop and improve Veterans Memorial Park. Robert Carroll of Edgartown, who sold him the winning ticket, said ruefully that was as close as he ever got to such a victory.

The sorely tried Vineyarders are likely to adopt a wait and see attitude toward Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield’s latest grand pronouncement. A major improvement in postal service to provide next-day delivery of first-class letter mail for people in Massachusetts and Rhode Island was announced. Postal patrons in the area are assured that barring infrequent human errors of distribution, first-class letters mailed before 5 p.m. will be delivered anywhere within the two states on the following day. The volume of letter mail handled on an average day in the two states approximates six million pieces. Population has been increasing and the resultant postal service pattern has become increasingly complex. Drastic curtailment of railroad service has been a further complication.

Practically everyone knows Mildred, the wife of George Arnold, and the mother of Billy and Dennis Arnold; although she is a wifely wife and a motherly mother, she is in the eyes of this town above and beyond these noble dimensions. It is a rare stranger who would venture to call her Mrs. Arnold. She is Mildred, and that is that. Now how did such a remarkable first-name state come about? The solution may be the fact that she is one of the noticeably few human beings who are capable of making life an adventure. She pursues her various interests, and they are many, with such a fierce intensity and can describe them with such vividness, that inevitably the people who know her are carried along, willing and engrossed. Thus it is that people who are not really interested in fishing become interested in Mildred’s fishing, and people who are not really interested in bowling become interested in Mildred’s bowling. She tackles everything thoroughly and completely, including going into tirades when the things she does or says are mentioned in the newspaper.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner