From the Jan. 16, 1970 edition of the Gazette:

Tashmoo Inn of Vineyard Haven, for nearly 90 years a landmark and old-time inn, comes under new ownership and management this month, and will be converted to efficiency apartments, for which purpose it will be increased in size.

Title is vested in the Tashmoo Inn Corporation, of which Thomas J. Rabbitt Jr. is president and treasurer. Thomas J. Rabbitt Sr., managing owner since 1923, has turned over his interests to his son but will remain as a member of the new board.

The property consists of the present hotel which was built in 1960, following the destruction of the older building by fire, six cottages and four acres of land.

Thomas Rabbitt Jr. said that he has a five year plan for expansion, which will begin this coming spring. The present building will be converted first, seven efficiency units being planned for this initial change. Expansion of the building, as planned, will increase the number of units to 40. These, he said, will be patterned after the Causeway Apartments of Walter Woods, also in Vineyard Haven.

Tashmoo Inn was established by the late Henry A. Castello, shortly after the Great Fire which occurred in Vineyard Haven in 1883. It’s original location was on the land now occupied by Cronig Brothers Market. Moved to its present location by Mr. Castello, it was first sold to Capt. Ralph M. Packer Sr., later to Mrs. Mary A. Guerin, and finally to Mr. Rabbitt Sr. in 1923.

A nature preserve may soon grace West Tisbury — if selectmen and townspeople are willing. The First Congregational Church, at its annual meeting Wednesday, offered a gift to the town for conservation purposes, of approximately two and three-quarter acres of land, adjoining the church parsonage.

Because the terrain being offered is dense with thickets and wild berries, and includes considerable swampland, it has always been a popular nesting place for birds — blackbirds, towhees, whippoorwills, song sparrows, goldfinches and catbirds abound.

The proposed sanctuary would extend from the West Tisbury-Edgartown Road north below and past the parsonage. On the west, it would be bounded by the artificial dike that conducts water from the Mill Brook near Scotchman’s Lane to Parsonage Pond. The east boundary of the land is the Mill Pond.

This is the second tract to be offered to the town since the establishment of the West Tisbury Conservation Commission about three years ago. In 1967, Miss Priscilla Hancock made a gift to West Tisbury of a quarter-acre bordering the Mill Pond and adjoining the town office building. A bench was placed there; ducks and the remaining West Tisbury swan frequent it, and it is now a carefully kept park area.

Round about May, when arbutus is beginning to nuzzle and wild violets to peek in the grass, Island viewers of the Johnny Carson show and the Merve Griffin show may be startled to see Gay Head in the snow, with an avocado green and black hounds-tooth check sofa and red and blue upholstered chairs perched precariously on the cliff side.

And if they don’t see Gay Head, they will probably see Menemsha with a coffee table aslant in the snow behind a fishing shack, while a model in a blue chambray shirt and Levis smilingly holds a lantern. Or they could catch another model in a peach evening skirt and jacket that matches the Menemsha fishing boat she is standing by.

Other settings photographed this week by Film Fair television, which, among others, prepares Marlboro cigarette ads, were Beetlebung Corner, West Tisbury’s Agricultural Hall, the Roger Allen house and Mrs. Guy Emerson’s Chilmark living room. There were 5,000 feet of film shot, of which 90 will be used to make a 60-second commercial advertising Kroehler’s Cape Cod furniture in a New England setting. The advertising agency involved in the production is the Leo Burnett Agency.

About 30 people — cameramen, directors, models, makeup men and advertising men spent three days on the Vineyard scouting locations and doing the filming. Several of them came from Los Angeles, and shivered and shook a little as they talked of the “rugged New England seascape” and how they had chosen the Vineyard in winter for their picture-taking because they wanted the contrast between a harsh New England winder and the “cozy, comfy herculon-covered furniture” they are promoting. All the same, they hadn’t bargained on 40 knot winds blowing snow on their sofa beds and their models in mini-knickers.

The group had originally been directed to Mystic for their filming, but they found it “too much of a Disneyland East — just too clean and too spanky neat.” The Vineyard, producer Niki Hall said, “is the sort of beautiful country the furniture designers were thinking about.”

Only one member of the party — a driver from Tauton — had ever been to the Island before, but all talk of returning “when the climate, as well as the people, will be warm and friendly.”

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox