From the Nov. 19, 1943 edition of the Gazette:

Fifty-three cents a pound is the ceiling price on the Vineyard on young turkeys, weighing less than 16 pounds dressed weight, as furnished to the Gazette by Alfred Hall, chairman of the Price Control Panel of the Edgartown War Price and Rationing Board. Other figures of interest to Thanksgiving shoppers include the following: young turkeys, 16 to 20 pounds, 51 cents; over 20 pounds, 49 cents; old turkeys, under 16 pounds, 51 cents; 16 to 20 pounds, 49; over 20 pounds, 47.

U.S.O. executives on the Island would be glad to hear from residents who would like to entertain one, two, or maybe a dozen service men for Thanksgiving dinner.

Those families who are planning to observe the holiday in the traditional way, from a gustatory standpoint, are asked to get in touch with the U.S.O. in their respective towns, and list the number of guests they desire, the dinner hour, and any other pertinent facts.

Winter paid a call over the weekend, and left both frost and ice as calling cards. So rapidly did the temperature drop on Saturday that by 10 p.m. there was ice in birdbaths and little puddles, while on Sunday, a bitterly cold day for the season, ice of respectable thickness was made after dark. The thermometer at the Gazette office, usually conservative in its readings, recorded a low of 22, while other readings of 26 to 30 were common, and lower ones were doubtless recorded in the outlying districts.

Vineyard Haven scallopers, forty to fifty strong, launched their sharpies on Lake Tashmoo on Monday morning, the first fishermen to seek the scallop in these waters since the Wampanoag days. The pond, opened to the sea by the town, two years ago, and allowed to be stocked with shellfish by natural forces, was opened to the commercial fishermen on Monday, with gratifying results.

All fishermen obtained their limit for the day, reporting a good set of shellfish, although they do not run as well for size as the Lagoon scallops. The presence of grass and moss in the pond likewise interferes to a degree with the free use of dredges, but all in all, the first harvest from these beds promises to be a good one, which will supply fishing for several weeks at least and return a dividend to the townspeople of several thousand dollars a week if the present rate of return is maintained.

Proponents of the opening of this pond to the sea took a very human advantage of the circumstance to look up objectors and say: “We told you so!” The fight to open the pond had been carried on over a period of years, before the hurricane of five years ago, opening the pond, established proof that it could be done without affecting the town’s water supply. This act of nature removed the final argument against making the lake an arm of the sea, and subsequent results appear to show that the argument in favor of such opening was sound.

Maintained for many generations as a herring fishery, with eel-potters fishing there in the fall of the year, the pond was fresh for the most part, except for those brief intervals when the creek was opened, allowing the level of the pond to fall and the salt water to enter. It was known that shellfish, such as scallops and clams, seeded the beds, but they never developed to a profitable degree because of the beach closing, which freshened the pond again.

Those who argued for the opening of the pond referred to ancient tradition, which mentioned the use of the pond as a boat harbor in Revolutionary times, and before, which implied the presence of a wide, deep creek. The presence of many scallop shells in the Wampanoag middens in the vicinity likewise supported this theory.

Fear that the salting of the pond might contaminate the springs which supply the town with water, was voiced by many. These springs flow from the hills near the shores of the so-called Upper Pond, and the overflow drains into the pond itself. Six years ago the upper pond was separated from the lower pond by a dike, constructed by the town under the supervision of engineers from the state Department of Public Health.

The upper pond, which is small, therefore became a fresh-water basin, available as an emergency water supply which can be used in case of fire or shortage of water. With the tremendously high flow of the storm tide which accompanied the hurricane a year later, the dike proved to be adequate to protect the upper pond, and the springs themselves were still higher, so that no trace of salt appeared in either water supply. The opening of the scallop beds this week, therefore, clinches for all time the argument in favor of establishing this shellfishery, and it is anticipated that the success of this first season will inspire a movement to continue the improvement of the pond opening, with a long-range view to eventually deepening the pond over a part of its area and establishing certain harbor facilities.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox