The Call of Economics

Even after the demise of Erastus Carpenter’s dream of a fancy resort in Katama, the lure of vacationers to Cottage City continued. As before that era, however, life continued to be a struggle for many Vineyarders. They had to work to get by and there were few steady jobs. Dr. Daniel Fisher’s oil refinery had closed, but his candle works remained Edgartown’s largest employer. There were factories to make harnesses, overalls and shoes in Vineyard Haven, but those jobs were limited.

Like Cottage City's tourism industry, many of the island’s jobs were seasonal. The paint mill and brickyard on the north shore didn't operate in the cold months. Neither did the shipping of berries from the cranberry bogs. Felt fabrics made from island wool was also sent to the mainland. All of these activities provided work for some, but not many.

House painting was a common steady job for men. For women, it was teaching school and working in retail shops; although those jobs were scarce as most shops were so small that their owners had to run them themselves.

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image of brick_mill

Martha's Vineyard Museum