Welcome. Edgartown News was born from the simple fact that I have ink and Dektol in my veins and I need to write and photograph more than I need air or food, and from my love for this little town where I grew up and raised my family, the town I have left a few times but can't quite shake for good. Here you will find wanderings and musings, photographs and commentary; the people, places, and happenings - past and present - of a small island town: my home town.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pent Lane House is History

Pent Lane, Edgartown   

      The dismantling and subsequent removal last week of a house on Pent Lane has at least one Edgartown woman feeling wistful and nostalgic.
     The house in question had deep sentimental value to Jeanne Perry Andrews, who lived in the little house at what is now #8 Pent Lane (house numbers have only been in use in Edgartown for the past thirty years or so - since right around the time we stopped knowing each other - but I digress)  for the first four years of her life. 
     According to Jeanne, her maternal grandmother, Mary C. Enos, moved the little house - which Jeanne thinks was built in the late 1800s - from its original location on Pine Street (then called St. Michael's Way because of its large Azorean enclave) to the small plot of land she owned on Pent Lane. Jeanne says, "The first thing she did was plant hydrangeas because the color blue reminded her of the old country." The year was 1905.
     Jeanne's mother, Emily, was born in the house in 1907. When Emily married Manuel Perry in 1938, they stayed on with her mother. In 1940 the household expanded to three-generations when Jeanne was born; two years later, Jeanne's brother, David, came along (their sister, Kathy, would be born a few years later, after the family's move to Pierce Lane).
     Jeanne recounts, "We lived with Nana until 1946. We moved to the big house on what was then called Pierce Avenue [now the home of the Christopher Scott family] - my mother always said, 'It's not an avenue, it's a lane;' eventually the name was changed to Pierce Lane. Nana stayed at Pent Lane.
    "One day, when David was four years-old, he disappeared. In those days, Pierce Lane wasn't paved, so they followed his wagon tracks in the dirt down Cottle Lane. They eventually found him at Nana's. He said he wanted to help Nana bring in 'chop-wood,' as he called it. She kept the dry wood in the chicken house. Nana always had chickens - she didn't like to kill them, so she asked the milkman to do it. The house was heated with a combination kerosene, coal, and wood stove.
     "My mother and grandmother - as was typical for that time period in Edgartown - did laundry and housekeeping for the hotels and private parties in town, and Pent Lane was filled with children - the Bettencourt kids: Arthur, Rita, David, and Susan; and the Arnold family - Mildred Arnold ran her little yarn store right out of her front room.
     "Nana lived in the house from 1905 until she sold it in 1955.  St. Elizabeth's [across the street] was built during the time she lived there, and she was very happy when the church was built.
     "I can't believe it - a part of my life is going to be destroyed."

Pent Lane, Edgartown
Jeanne Andrews reminisces about her early childhood, living with her Nana on Pent Lane.

Pent Lane, Edgartown
This archway is a more recent addition to the property and will be preserved by the new owners, reportedly.





Pent Lane, Edgartown






Pent Lane, Edgartown
Mary C. Enos and Emily Enos Perry, on the kitchen steps. Photo courtesy of Jeanne Andrews.

Pent Lane, Edgartown
Jeanne Perry Andrews, sitting on the same kitchen steps - well, not exactly the the same steps, but the same location -  November 2010, just weeks prior to the house's scheduled destruction.
Pent Lane, Edgartown
The windows and other vital house parts were salvaged and donated to Habitat for Humanity, according to Jeanne.
Pent Lane, Edgartown
The week of November 15 found the little house finally meeting its demise. Jeanne says that the new owners, who also own the property adjacent to the back yard, will be building a bigger and wider house that will extend all the way back, spanning both properties, with a garage on the side.

5 comments:

  1. Wow! Leave the island for a few days and look what happens! I will miss this lovely home on Pent Lane. Nice article. Thanks Sara and Jeanne! Pat A.

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  2. I saw the now empty lot the other day. Thanks for filling it again, at least for a few minutes.

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  3. Sara, Very nice, but sad article.

    I had a thought while reading about Pine St. being called St. Michaels Way. Chances are,to have been called by that name so long ago because of the Azorean population, probably means that it would have been called Sao Miguel's Way....Whaddaya think?
    Allouise

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  4. Allouise, interesting thought. Depends, I guess. On one hand, that would make sense, on the other hand, there was a time when immigrants very much wanted to become "Americanized," learn the language, and take on American names. Maybe it was known as St. Michael's Way by the English speakers, and Sao Miguel's by the Portuguese speakers.

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  5. Sarah, thanks for this coverage.
    In the immortal words of Howard Andrews, "Poor Martha"!

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