From past editions of the Vineyard Gazette:
The natural formation of the Island of Martha’s Vineyard is such that nature seems to have prepared an excellent route along the north shore, where a railroad can be constructed at a very small comparative expense. The highest land on the Island is an elevation, 100 to 300 feet high, extending along the sound nearly the whole distance.
The equipment of the road will be of the very best, and no effort will be spared to make the trains convenient and comfortable, as representatives from all over the United States visit the Island annually. It is intended to run quite near to Lambert’s Cove, to make connections with a wharf where New York boats can touch. In doing this the road will pass a United States government signal station on “Makoniky Head,” from which can be had a view of Woods Hole, Cape Cod, the magnificent island of Naushon, owned by John M. Forbes; while on a clear day can be seen Gay Head and Newport. This is one of the most important localities of the whole coast, and will undoubtedly be secured and developed into a second Bar Harbor.
In passing along the entire distance, the visitor will find as great a variety of scenery as can be had in America; on one side can be seen a beautiful country, dotted here and there, with miniature lakes, while in the other is Vineyard Sound, which is one of the greatest marine routes in the world. This is commonly known as the “inside route,” and as the sound is only three or four miles in width, it is not an uncommon thing to see 50 or 60 vessels coming up or down at one time.
While the company depends largely upon the summer travel for success, yet it is the opinion that the North Shore will be used in the near future for a winter resort as well. Statistics show the average length of human life on this Island, the largest on the New England coast, to be 23 years longer than in the whole world, while children’s diseases are almost unknown. The country along the sound is well-wooded with pine and oak, from the branches of which can be heard the songs of birds not found elsewhere north of the Carolinas. These items, together with any other advantages, have been carefully considered a factor in development as well as the present demands for the road by the public.
A detailed plan for encircling Lagoon Pond with a boulevard will be presented to the commissioners from the state Department of Public Works at their annual hearing on the Island next month. The plan is to construct a road leading off Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, at the point where the old causeway crosses a cove in Lagoon Pond. Connecting with Hines Road — so called — it would continue, following the shoreline of the pond, and connect at the town line with a similar road, to be built in Oak Bluffs. The whole would constitute a shore drive around the most beautiful lake in the county.
The airfield on the central plain of Martha’s Vineyard is beginning to shape up as something more than raw earth, mud and the destination of building materials trucked over the roads from the steamboat landing. The time has arrived, also, when the United States Navy feels that the public may know something of this project which has brought life and a strange new pattern to a domain where only the hawks, rabbits and wildflowers have dwelt for many generations. The airfield development is officially known as the United States Naval Auxiliary Facility here.
Enough barbed wire to stretch the length of the Vineyard two or three times surrounds the enclosure. Inside the high fence, which is guarded at all times against unauthorized persons, is the airfield — its broad runways, stretching so far that they pinch out to nothingness in the distance — carved out of a wilderness of scrub oak and a few larger trees. The field will be completed within a few weeks, and it will contain “complete facilities for the operation and handling of aircraft.” The airfield will be completely self-sustaining insofar as its operations and daily life are concerned. It is an island within an Island.
To arrive at Oak Bluffs is to land at an inviting place and few landing places have the attraction of Oak Bluffs. Oak Bluffs has an attractive waterfront with lawns, boulevards, park, band stand and nice summer homes. Oak Bluffs is the shopping center of the Island and business would improve with a good steamer landing place. I hope that the property owners will try to correct this and be ready for next summer’s business.
The annual report of the Trustees for the County Aid to Agriculture, besides giving credit for much good work in the programs on the Vineyard, comments again on the importance of “maintaining the same general character of the Island because this is what brings people here. They can have six lane highways and neon signs anywhere in the country. This is one of the last refuges of those who like beauty in a natural environment. This has created inflated values which can be spoiled almost immediately by lack of planning.”
Compiled by Alison L. Mead