Eleanor Caldwell Jones

NARRATOR: Eleanor Caldwell Jones

INTERVIEWER: Kelly Hanley Goode

PLACE: Home of Eleanor Caldwell Jones
Academy Hill Apartments, Nantucket, Massachusetts

DATE: August 10, 2001

GOODE: This is an interview with Eleanor Jones on August 10th, 2001 at her home in Academy Hill Apartments. The interviewer is Kelly Hanley Goode with the Nantucket Historical Association. So I'd like to start with your childhood when you first began coming to Nantucket.

JONES: Well, I first came here as an infant in 1916 in August. I was born in February. And I came all the summers from then on until I was 22.

GOODE: And how was it that you came here for summers?

JONES: Because my grandmother owned a house on Pleasant Street, on the corner of Pleasant and South Mill, that had been in her husband's family since 1745. And she had inherited it. And later on my mother did, and that's why I kept on coming here.

GOODE: Did your mother grow up here?

JONES: No. She grew up in Lynn, Massachusetts. And I'm not sure how much she came here. She didn't come here for whole summers, I'm pretty sure, when her mother was living here.

GOODE: And what was your grandmother's name?

JONES: Mary Gardner Carey.

GOODE: And your mother's name was--

JONES: Edith Folger Carey.

GOODE: So how would you get to Nantucket?

JONES: We used to take the train to Woods Hole for a long time. And we would bring a trunk with us, you know, a big trunk. And you'd get the trunk out a few days before we were going to come and get all excited about packing. I can't remember how we got to the train. I guess maybe there was one that went from Needham that connected. I can't remember that.

GOODE: What do you remember when you got to Woods Hole?

JONES: Well, the train went right down to the dock. So all you had to do is walk across to the boat. And it was usually timed pretty well so you weren't hanging around there.

GOODE: And what boat was it at the time? Do you remember?

JONES: Well, there was the "Sanctity" and the "Nobsca"[sp?] and later on the "Nantucket"--not the present one.

GOODE: And all of your siblings--do you have siblings?

JONES: I have one brother.

GOODE: And what do you remember of those summers?

JONES: Well, we here soon after Bunker Hill Day, which is June 17th to the day after Labor Day usually. And we were neither natives nor Yacht Club summer people, so it was a little different. I used to have certain people here in Nantucket that I played with, you know, when I was younger like Albert Brock's sister Elizabeth and Frances Elder--only then her name was Lewis. Her father was a doctor. And other than--that my father was a landscape architect and he came down weekends. So during the week we would go to the beach whenever we could--either the jetties or to Wauwinet, which was our favorite place. In those days you could go out there and go down to the beach, you know, it wasn't quite so private. But the hotel was there then too. So we would go up for the whole afternoon, you know, and just spend three or four hours out there. And then my father would come down weekends.

GOODE: Did your grandmother have a car?

JONES: Yes, we did. My grandmother didn't but we did.

GOODE: Why was Wauwinet your favorite beach?

JONES: I don't know. It just always has been. Well, it's a good one to start children in, you know. It's the harbor side. And in those days when I was growing up nobody went swimming in surf side or on the coast. It was just considered too dangerous. And there were never lifeguards. The only lifeguard was the one at Jetty's Beach because there was a diving raft there. And that was the only lifeguard. So I don't know. We just never even considered swimming on the south shore.

GOODE: Were there concessions down at Jetty's Beach?

JONES: No. It was run by the royal family that used to own--it was called Royal Manner, the rooming house that the Roberts House owns now on Center Street. And I don't know. They were in various kinds of businesses. But the husband and wife ran a bath house there. And in connection with that they sold a little food maybe, but not a restaurant--hot dogs and all that.

GOODE: But it had a bath house?

JONES: Yes. You could go and rent a little cubicle, you know, change into your bathing suit and leave your clothing in there and go swimming.

GOODE: What else did you do for entertainment then?

JONES: You mean for entertainment?

GOODE: _____.

JONES: Well, I don't remember going to movies much in the early days. We didn't go out in the evening and that sort of thing then. We just didn't do it. I belonged to the Bird Club at the Mary Mitchell Association--was for maybe junior high and high school age. And when I got to be a Girl Scout the first badge I studied for was stargazer. And I went to a course that Margaret Harwood, the astronomer, gave here. It was a course for anybody. I mean I was by far the youngest person there, you know. So early on I got to use the small telescopes that they had on the roof there at Mary Mitchell.

GOODE: And what did the Bird Club do?

JONES: Well, we just did some bird watching and studied birds, you know, like clubs were the thing in those days. I wouldn't say we accomplished a great deal, but it was an interesting mix of people who lived here and people who didn't. And then every summer they had the hospital _____ on Main Street, you know, where everybody dressed up. And then late in the summer, in August I guess it was, they had the county fair, which is why Fair Grounds Road is called what it is. It was out there where the Electric Company office is.

GOODE: What would they have?

JONES: Well, they had, you know, baking contests--all that sort of thing with food. And farmers exhibited their produce. But they also had what they called chariot races, you know, which were really exciting. And they were like sulkies, only more elaborate. They had sulky races too, but then they had these--they called them chariot races. They also had a whole line of booths where people that we used to call fakirs--F-A-K-I-R, meaning that they were trying to cheat you out of your money I guess, you know--all sorts of things. But they always had circuses and that kind of thing.

GOODE: Did you let them cheat you out of your money?

JONES: Did I what?

GOODE: Did you let them cheat you out of your money?

JONES: Oh, vaguely I remember that--yes. I used to like the horse racing part.

GOODE: That must have been quite a big--

JONES: But that was a big deal, you know. The county fair now is a small imitation of it.

GOODE: It must have been quite large, having the sulkies and all that.

JONES: Yes. It was a regular big fairground.

GOODE: And you mentioned the friends that you--Elizabeth Brock and the Lewis girl. They were year round?

JONES: Mmm hmmm. We used to play. I mean in those days you played. You didn't go to things to be entertained. And you didn't go to take courses because there weren't any, for the most part. You just played house or ran around or whatever.

GOODE: Where would you play? Do you remember places that you used to play?

JONES: Well, we had a yard. We played there. I remember player at the Brock's house and the Lewis house.

GOODE: What was your grandmother's house like?

JONES: Well, it's really an antique house. When we first lived there-- I don't remember how old I was when we got electricity above the first floor. We went to bed by candlelight.

GOODE: What did you think of that?

JONES: Oh, I thought it was great. In those days you went to bed at night--you didn't read at night in bed but you did that ahead of time.

GOODE: Did you go to the athenaeum with the other children?

JONES: Oh, yes from, you know, the time I could read.

GOODE: What was it like then?

JONES: The children's section was just, you know, a few stacks at the back. Do you remember where the big circular desk used to be back there on the right? It was just called the children's section. Nothing stupendous. And, of course, they weren't using the great hall then either. It was in between when it was so heavily used and when they didn't use it much for anything.

GOODE: And you would walk into town?

JONES: Oh, yes. Walked all over. When we went to Wauwinet we used to walk to Causcada[sp?] fairly often. I think a couple of times we walked to Great Point. But there was no way for cars to drive then either on the road--there wasn't a road to Great Point. You either walked or you went by boat.

GOODE: What do you recall--the Depression--what effect the Depression had here?

JONES: Well, not living here year round I don't really know how it affected Island businesses. But in the summertime there were, you know, people coming here every summer but not day trippers. You know, people would come for a month or for the summer or something like that. Life was a lot simpler. I mean we didn't have that many gourmet foods or anything like that. And, you know, when you're growing up in grade school or junior high you're not thinking about the Depression particularly. My father was aware of it, I'm sure. He was a landscape architect. And, of course, one of the first things you cut out in your spending is gardens and things like that. But luckily he had just around that time been asked to do at Auburn Cemetery the first memorial park thing. It's the first time they had engraved stones above the ground. So he did that, and that was how he survived in the Depression.

GOODE: When walking into town in those days as a child, what do you recall in terms of how it appeared then versus now?

JONES: Well, where we lived, you know, the architecture hasn't changed that much. I mean I used to walk up Pleasant by Moore's Inn--cut over to Pine and go that way or over to Fair or whatever. Those houses are still there. The only thing that's different now is that some of them are being gutted and made larger--that sort of thing. But I can remember which stones I stepped on on Main Street, you know, the great big stones--the paving stones. I can remember how I used to walk and step on certain ones.

GOODE: _____.

JONES: It's the same. But it's outside. It's places like Wauwinet and driving to Wauwinet, you know. It used to be heap[??] land which they're trying to bring back now, you know. And there weren't all those trees. You'd look out and you could see a long way. You could drive along the Swan Road and see the water

GOODE: Oh, boy.

JONES: You know, there just wasn't all that growth. That's one of the main differences outside, plus all the housing.

GOODE: And what about Main Street?

JONES: Well, where Congdon and Coleman is, you know, it was Ashley's Market. And the bank was there, of course. But there were not a bunch of gift stores and things. Down Center Street there were some places like that. But on Main Street was the hardware store, grocery store, barber shop, you know, more practical.

GOODE: Were there any places you would go in with your friends--any places you would stop at?

JONES: The drug store--the same drug store, Congdon's Drug Store. They used to have the counter then. And they also had a little table right at the end of the counter between there and the window with chairs around it. You could sit down there. But also there were a couple of ice cream shops. On Orange Street almost near the top of the hill there on the left going up there's a double house sort of white on the left, plainer than the ones on the right--and part of that was Mrs. Hatch's ice cream store. And that's where everybody went. Or later there was one on--you won't believe it, but it was right on Main Street between the house on the corner of Gardner, you know, the old house there and the white Macy house that the Historical Association owns now.

GOODE: _____.

JONES: A little building set back in and people named Worth used to run it.

GOODE: It's a yard now.

JONES: Yes. There's no indication there ever was such a thing. I haven't seen any pictures of it either. There must be some.

GOODE: Where would your mother or grandmother shop for food?

JONES: A&P usually. There used to be one on Orange Street near the corner of Lyons. How long have you been here?

GOODE: About 20 years.

JONES: Was Ryder's Market still here when you came on Orange?

GOODE: I don't think so. No. I heard about it. I heard it mentioned.

JONES: No. Well, it was later Ryder's Market. And then there used to be on Mulberry Street I think it was--one of those streets that goes down from Orange to _____--there was a little penny candy store. We used to go there a lot.

GOODE: What about at the Five Corners? What was that?

JONES: Well, we lived right near there, and it was just houses. There wasn't any store there.

GOODE: So you said you came summers till what in about the late thirties you came for summers?

JONES: We came from 1916--well, from 1916 until-- Let's see. My father died in '37. Well, in '38 everything changed because we were starting to get ready for World War II. And I worked here then summers. And my mother stayed in the house on Pleasant Street and tried running a gift store for awhile to maintain herself. And my brother got through high school and went into the Coast Guard. So I think the last time I spent a whole summer here was '37. Then after that it was weekends and, you know, visits until '69 when we moved here.

GOODE: So when you were working here where did you work?

JONES: Wauwinet House.

GOODE: All right. Tell me about the Wauwinet House.

JONES: Well, it was quite different. It was more like a summer camp. Even though they charged rates that were very high for the day, there were bathrooms down the hall. And it was just, you know, wooden corridors and extremely simple rooms. The living room was nothing fancy. The food was very good, and the dining room had a view. And that's where I met my husband. We were both working there.

GOODE: And who is your husband?

JONES: Robert Jones. Now his family had lived in Wauwinet year round since 1929. They had to move there after the stock market crashed. So he really knew about the Depression. And he went to the one room schoolhouse in Siasconset even for a few years and then went to school and graduated from high school here.

GOODE: What were your jobs at the Wauwinet?

JONES: Running the office. When I got through college I went to secretarial school like a lot of other people who graduated from college then since there were no other jobs.

GOODE: For women or in general?

JONES: What?

GOODE: Jobs for women or just jobs in general?

JONES: Well, especially for women. So this was my first job actually for the summer.

GOODE: Who do you remember that stayed there? Anybody stick in your mind?

JONES: What?

GOODE: Do you remember of anyone who stayed at the Wauwinet that you remember--anyone that stuck in your mind or guest that you recall?

JONES: Not particularly. No. I mean it was a summer job.

GOODE: And when did you get married?

JONES: We got married three years later in '41 just before World War II started. By that time my father had died anyway, and his father died in the spring of '41. We were married in August and we moved to _____ Head. And both our mothers came to live with us. We had rented a house. And I think that would have worked out okay, but we weren't there long enough to tell because of the war.

GOODE: You were married on Nantucket?

JONES: What?

GOODE: Were you married on Nantucket?

JONES: Yes. In the living room of the old house on Pleasant Street.

GOODE: And how long did your family have the house on Pleasant Street?

JONES: Well, my mother left it to my brother. And he sold it in '57 which was a big shock to me. Because we had just moved to Salt Lake City and that was sort of cutting the ties.

GOODE: So during the war--did you come out to Nantucket at all during the war?

JONES: Not very often. We couldn't afford it. We were raising a large family. And mostly if we did come it was in October when my husband could have a vacation. Then we moved to Salt Lake. We didn't come at all for 13 years.

GOODE: How was that?

JONES: We used to go crazy wanting to be near the water, you know. The children hadn't been here enough to feel it, you know. They loved the mountains and the camping and everything. But when we came to move from there we decided it was either the east coast or the west coast.

GOODE: There was going to be water somewhere.


GOODE: And what did your husband do?

JONES: He was an engineer. When we moved here he came as the first head of the DPW. They never had one before. They had separate departments, you know, water, sewer, whatever--all separate things. And they decided they needed to get it together and have a superintendent so he was it.

GOODE: What kind of decision was that to make to move to Nantucket year round?

JONES: Well, we knew what we were getting into and we thought it was great.

GOODE: And that was in 1964? Is that what you said?

JONES: 'Sixty-nine.

GOODE: 'Sixty-nine.

JONES: The only trouble was that it was just the year before that Mr. Beineke[sp?] bought everything out and the prices started going up. So when we got here even in '69 we couldn't afford to buy anything, you know. We just didn't have money at all and so we rented always.

GOODE: Tell me about where you rented.

JONES: Well, when we first came we stayed at Whaler's Lane--three I think it was. The Yacht Club owns it now--sort of a high building, and it was not in very good repair. But the town had it to put up people who didn't have other housing, you know, until they could find something else. So we lived there for only a year and a half I guess it was. Then we rented a house in the corner of Main and Bloom almost across from the Homestead. The landlord lived next door. It was Mr. Kinnett. He's the one that's given a lot of things to the Historical Association. It was right near Mary Mitchell. And we lived there three and a half or so. He died and then the house went on the market. And we had first dibs but no money, so we had to find another place. And we did a lot of looking, and we finally found the York Street place luckily.

GOODE: And you lived there for how long?

JONES: Twenty-seven years.

GOODE: So that was right near where you grandmother's home was.

JONES: What?

GOODE: You were back in the same neighborhood.

JONES: Yes. Across from it.

GOODE: Okay. So what kind of work did you do when you came to Nantucket?

JONES: When I came back to Nantucket? I worked-- The first summer I was here, you know, I had to get something. But I worked taking dictation and typing letters for the woman who was the President of the Artist's Association. She was a psychiatrist from Florida or someplace. And then I took on the job at the Artist's Association of running the office when it was down where Sailor's Valentine is now in the Macy warehouse. And so I worked there. That wasn't a winter job though, see, that was pretty seasonal. I worked there for a couple of years, and also I started volunteering at the elementary school to get a library started. My sister-in-law had this little room here where she had been for about a year and people donated books, you know. And she was sort of trying to do that. And she ran out of steam. And so I worked part time there and then part time at the athenaeum down in the children's room.

GOODE: It had moved down to the basement?

JONES: Yes. For several years. And finally I went to the Superintendent of Schools and said that I thought the library job should be full time, you know, _____ library. So that's what it got to be. I only worked at the athenaeum maybe two summers, something like that.

GOODE: And the elementary school was _____.

JONES: Well, I was right down at the end of the hall on the second floor. It was not as big as this room. It was like an oversized janitor's closet and right in the stairwell, you know, when you go up the stairs there. And so we gradually got more books and more books. And we, you know, with a little trepidation I put shelves down the hall, you know, expecting the fire chief any minute. But he never came. So we had shelves in the hall, down the hall. And then, of course, later in '78 we moved to the new school. We got to help plan the design--the interior too.

GOODE: So in the library here at Academy Hill, how did the teachers and the students respond to it? They had not had a library before that.

JONES: I guess they liked it. I wasn't here before, but I'm sure. Well, they were all in favor of it. And actually I got really good support from the school committee, you know. It took them awhile to get used to the idea for some reason. And although we didn't have a very big budget at all, we found that the State Department of Schools had a library in Boston that you could borrow books from and keep for a number of months. So I used to go up there and roam around and pick out the books and then they'd send them down. It didn't cost anything--well, the postage to go back--that's all. So we got a pretty good collection and gradually it was budgeted. And gradually we got _____ things.

GOODE: So when did you start your love of children's literature?

JONES: Way back in my childhood. And our children were brought up being read to and reading. We didn't have TV until we moved here, so they were all pretty much grown. And everybody read.

GOODE: What was the idea behind the planning of the way the elementary school library is structured now?

JONES: Well, the architect used to come here to the building and consult, you know. And there was this-- Right off the bat I don't know whose decision it was, but it was a good one--that the library should be sort of the center of the school, you know. And so when it came to planning it out we had some ideas about how we wanted it. The architects don't always have all the knowledge about the way to arrange the library and that sort of thing. And so luckily we had quite a lot to say. I'm amazed that they let us influence it. And it's worked pretty well on the whole. Still the same as it was.

GOODE: And the library was dedicated--named for you.

JONES: Yes, later.

GOODE: Do you remember how that came about or how you heard about it?

JONES: Oh, I think it was a group of teachers probably went to the Superintendent or the Principal. I don't know.

GOODE: Do you remember learning about that?

JONES: Do I remember what?

GOODE: When you learned about that or heard they were going to do that.

JONES: I've forgotten how I learned about that. Oh, I guess it was-- See, I retired without really announcing it ahead of time. I decided that I would leave in June but I didn't tell anybody until after school was out. And so then I decided-- I was 64. And I just decided that it would be a good time to have a new person come in--and especially when at that point they were really going to try to teach library science in the elementary school. And I'm not a teacher and I was never trained as a teacher. And so I thought it would be a good time. So I quit in June. And then I don't know how. It got announced at a school committee meeting I suppose. So in August the teachers threw a big party at the Skipper and everybody came. And that's when it was announced. So it was the following June that they actually did it.

GOODE: There must have been quite a library here for them to want to put it in the middle of the school there. You must have learned a lot about--

JONES: It's a good library. It's been an example to quite a few people, you know, who came down. When John was the Principal people used to visit the school more. I think it's worked out pretty well, with a few minor exceptions.

GOODE: So you retired in 19--

JONES: Eighty. Then I worked with the Learning and Resource Center which was part of the schools too until '74--I mean-- No, I worked until '89 at the Learning and Resource Center. It was in the basement of the _____ School at that point-- No, it was on Vesper Lane, then it moved to the _____ School.

GOODE: Okay. Let's see. [BRIEF PAUSE]

JONES: School then was a very different place than it is now.

GOODE: How so?

JONES: Well, it was much of a feeling of adventure that you could do your own thing. And if you had an idea it wouldn't hurt to bring it to the attention of the Principal and that he would be interested. And we were gradually moving from _____ readers to literature-based reading programs, and there was a lot more original thinking going on.

GOODE: And are they moving away from literature-based reading?

JONES: Now they're moving-- Now they're back to a _____ reader. There are a few teachers who manage to sneak it in, but they don't feel comfortable doing it, you know.

GOODE: Now are you involved with a group that is working to try to improve the schools?

JONES: No. I don't belong to that. I belong to a study group. I don't know if it will continue this year or not. But for the last two or three years the teachers who were studying certain books about advances in education, you know. And then we'd meet and discuss it. And it's about twelve people I think. And this last year we didn't have any official meetings. We read books, but we never got together the way we did the year before because it's so difficult, you know. They have teachers scheduled for something every day. But we're still reading.

GOODE: Now in 1980 you co-piloted the children's literary book club--what is it?

JONES: A group. Yes.

GOODE: Tell me how that--

JONES: Well, it was John Miller's idea. He was the head of the Learning and Resource. And he wrote a note to me asking if I would consider doing this with Judith Powers who was at the elementary school. And so we did.

GOODE: And what is it?

JONES: It's parents and other people who are interested in children's books. It's not a group for children. It's for adults to talk about the best children's literature that's coming out, you know.

GOODE: And how often do you meet?

JONES: Once a month during the school year. And we've had visiting authors in connection with the elementary school library, you know, some good authors.

GOODE: And how many people are in the group?

JONES: Oh, it's varied. When we first started we were lucky if we had six or eight. But this last year sometimes there were 20--but I would say regularly maybe a dozen or 15. It's not advertised anywhere or anything, but it will probably die out with the present climate. But, you know, the teachers who are mainly interested are mainly reading _____, you know. Jackie Jette[sp?]. and Karen Bortrett[sp?] left several years ago. And Judith won't be there much longer. But maybe there will be some changes. I hope so for your kids' sake.

GOODE: But none of your children when you returned to Nantucket-
JONES: Our three youngest children were in high school. And it was not good for my next to youngest because she had had trouble getting herself going during junior high. And when she went into high school she decided that she would really conquer this, you know, and get good grades, and so forth. And she did. And we came in the spring of her junior year in high school which is bad. And she had just been asked to join some club for the next year and all that. And so we came down here from a school of two thousand to Nantucket High School which, you know, at that point had about--if it was a big class it would be 40 or 50 in the graduating class and a very restrictive atmosphere. It was when Mrs. Locker was the Principal. And it was whisper in the lunchroom and, you know, that sort of thing. So my youngest daughter just--during her senior year she didn't care whether she, you know-- She passed and everything--but she didn't want to go on to school. But for my son it seemed to be okay.

GOODE: So in 1989 you stopped working at Learning and Resource Center then.

JONES: Well, I was 74 by then.

GOODE: You had the right to then. How have you spent your time since then?

JONES: Well, you know, I've been on various boards and committees and that sort of thing. And for awhile I volunteered in the elementary school library. But the last couple of-- Since I moved here I haven't been doing that much.

GOODE: Well, I'd like to ask you about a couple more things. Let's see. You were involved in the African Meeting House steering group. And that's located right next to your apartment on York Street where you lived. Why did you get involved in that?

JONES: Well, that's probably why I got involved because I was right next door. And we were using that property. See, we owned-- We didn't own the house. We rented the house, but it was the whole property then. And so we were trying to keep the bamboo down and that sort of thing over that part too and wondering how much longer the building would stand. And I can't remember how I got involved directly except that we were neighbors. That's probably how. Now Helen Seger[sp?] lived in the neighborhood too. You know where she lived. So at that time it was hard to resist Helen also.

GOODE: And when were you first aware that it would have historical significance--that building?

JONES: Well, I didn't know it when I was growing up.

GOODE: You didn't.

JONES: You know, I used to walk by there. I knew it had been a church. And I keep thinking that once I heard singing in there, but from all the dates it couldn't have happened.

GOODE: What was it when you were a child? What was it--

JONES: Like when I was under ten. But according to what the Barrett's say who lived there a long time that isn't so. They stopped singing in there or whatever they were doing. I mean that was after it had ceased being a church anyway, but before the time I would have remembered. But I knew, you know, I knew what the neighborhood was like because I'd been there all the time.

GOODE: Was it a Black community at the time when you were growing up _____?

JONES: No. Beyond it it was, and that's the way it is now. It still isn't. Most of it was beyond on Beyer[sp?] Street and Warren and Coon and Beaver and around in there. But we had strong feelings about, you know, not having all this racial strife anyway, having lived in Utah long enough where they-- Like in the high school our kids went to there was one Black person in two thousand.

GOODE: What was the feeling on Nantucket through the twenties did you feel in a sense of race relations?

JONES: I don't think people thought about it much. The Portuguese people were here, and that was an accepted fact. And I think there weren't that many American Negroes here then. There were more Portuguese ancestry people. And it was part of the scene. We depended on one man from Cape _____ who came over here, and he had a little vegetable farm--Peter Rose. And he used to come around with a push cart and sell vegetables at the door. And, you know, they were part of the picture.

GOODE: And you mentioned Peter Rose. What other people do you remember--just adults in general in your growing up?

JONES: Well, I belong to the Wharf Rat Club. And I joined--well officially since '35. But my parents used to wheel me down on that wharf, and so I had been hanging around for a long time--but not the way they do now. So that was part of the scene also. Also when we were growing up--when we first were coming down here before we had a car regularly we used to go to Wauwinet on the Lillian.

GOODE: On the what?

JONES: The Lillian. It was a sailboat that went up there.

GOODE: Oh, I've seen pictures of that.

JONES: You could pay fares, you know, and go up. Because I don't think we got a car until the early thirties maybe.

GOODE: So you would go down to--

JONES: Steamboat _____. Right where the steamer docks now. Then the steamer used to dock down at the end. And so they had this landing on the side there where the Lillian was, and it made two or three trips a day--a big cat boat.

GOODE: Would it be full?

JONES: Mmm. That was part of the Wauwinet _____.

GOODE: Were there adults from the Wharf Rat Club that you remember or other people that--

JONES: I just remember the man who was Commodore--Herb Kaufman. Well, also Helen Sherman who lives here--she was a member then probably.

GOODE: As a girl did you know her?

JONES: I knew her. I didn't know her intimately. I knew who she was. I knew where they lived on Huzzy[sp?] Street then--a house with wisteria. And she was part of a big family. Yes. But, you know, I knew them by sight, and I don't remember seeing her much down there. I don't think we saw many kids around. We still don't.

GOODE: So what would you say are your-- You know, when you meet someone who doesn't know anything about Nantucket, what would you say to them about it as a place?

JONES: Well, nowadays you're mostly talking about how it changed. It has changed. As a place to live or a place to visit?

GOODE: As a place for you. Is it a special place for you?

JONES: Well, it's special to me because I had been coming for so long. But I think it's special to a lot of people nowadays who retire here or start coming here in middle age. Because it used to be a quiet place to come. And some of the people who have retired here have helped to start programs that, you know, provide music and that sort of thing in the winters. There's a lot more going on in the winter than there was when we moved here. And when I was growing up I don't think anything was--well, churches, you know. But that's about it. Oh, one thing I remember about growing up is the fire alarm system used to be all the church bells connected. There was no siren. And so when they had the glow in a fire it would be all the church bells--really eerie. And I remember waking up in the middle of the night and hearing them and smelling the smoke. And it was the night that Point Breeze burned down. That was a very definite memory.

GOODE: Did you get up? Did you go back to sleep?

JONES: Oh, we got up. We all got up and walked down there. Nobody was-- It's amazing--nobody was injured. But there were people running around outside in their nightgowns and, you know, it was about three or four in the morning. And that building is still there. It's amazing it survived. But life was simpler, I must say. You know, children today have nothing but lessons and groups, you know. Not many of them get a chance to play around.

GOODE: Which is valuable.

JONES: What?

GOODE: Which is valuable--just to play.

JONES: Sure. I mean I grew up in that kind of a neighborhood where regardless of age we were all playing together. And luckily where we lived our kids had that chance too.

GOODE: You mentioned the changes on Nantucket, and obviously there are some positive changes--cultural changes.

JONES: Oh, yes. Well, I mean the Community Music Center and the Artist's Association. The library has come a long way.

GOODE: Do you think the positives outweigh the negative? There's a lot of negative talk, of course.

JONES: Well, as far as activities go. As far as the comfort level or landscape, the changes have not been very positive, do you think?

GOODE: Well, I've only seen it the past 20 years.

JONES: Well, there's been a lot of changes.

GOODE: In those 20 years--yes. We have lots of _____.

JONES: As far as our children go, my three sons are all out west. And they have no desire to come here and live. They like to visit. But my daughters are all in the east. And two of them live here and the other two come whenever they can. And my youngest daughter married an islander. So they have varying-- They remember Wauwinet. Even though they never came here that much that's a high point. And they never stayed that much in the house in town because my mother died and my brother took it over.

GOODE: Do they remember that house though?

JONES: Do they what?

GOODE: Do they remember it--the house?

JONES: Oh, yes. The older ones do. The younger--

GOODE: Is there anything else that you could--

JONES: Well, you know, I remember things like August storms and, you know, going along South Beach there when it was just shacks. South Beach is Washington Street.

GOODE: Oh, okay.

JONES: It just used to be little places along there, you know. And it was public I guess. It may not have been called a public beach, but we used to go down there sometimes. We had a little sailing dinghy anchored or at a buoy right close to shore.

GOODE: Where would you sail?

JONES: Oh, just over to _____ or something. I've only been to _____ a limited number of times. I've never driven there. I've been over in a boat--a row boat, a sailboat and I've walked. But I've never driven there. I don't approve of driving on the beach actually.

GOODE: Did you ever go out to Great Point when you were working in Wauwinet?

JONES: We used to go out and have picnics at Smith's Point at the other end of the island. Great Point--when I was growing up I went once or twice when we walked. Then I didn't go again for ages. And then we moved here my brother had a car, a four wheel drive, and I drove out with him a couple of times. We had a four wheel drive for awhile, but we never felt like driving on the beach. But it was nice in those days to buy fish and lobster at a reasonable price. The first summer we were here there would be a fishing boat tied up to Steamboat Wharf every once in awhile. And the word would get around they had lobsters for a dollar apiece, and just go down there and buy them.

GOODE: And when did that stop?

JONES: That was in '69. I think maybe if it lasted one more year it was surprising.

GOODE: So what's the change that you saw? There were summer residents and year round residents. Was it after World War II that things started to change for tourism?

JONES: No. I think it was later than that. It started to change about '68, '69, and when the economy improved so much that a lot of people were making money where a lot of people hadn't before. And the way it is now there's so many people here with new-found wealth. People that used to come here years ago were mostly family money, you know. And they were not obsessed the way some people are now. I mean I just know some people now who are not my age but contemporaries of Susan's, you know, in their fifties, and so forth. And they are obsessed. And when they have a pile of money they want everybody to know. And it's different. The people are different. A lot of them are good people but they're momentarily [LAUGHS] dazed I guess.

GOODE: Tell me about Academy Hill building you're living in now. This used to be the school--and what is it now, for the record.

JONES: It was made into 27 apartments. And 12 of them have to be subsidized. That was the arrangement that the town made when they leased-- Let's see. They still owned the land when they leased the building or sold the building, I don't know. The town still owns the land. And I don't know who the designers were. I think they did a pretty good job dividing up the building. They economized in a few places but they're minor. And I don't think it rented fully for awhile.

GOODE: And what's it like living here?

JONES: Well, one of the chief advantages, as far as I'm concerned, is that you don't hear anything on any side or from above or anything because it was a school it's so well insulated or fortified or whatever against sound going between classrooms, you know. So I think that's a real advantage. Because I've lived in other places that were not like that. It's a combination of people who want to be by themselves and others who think we ought to be doing more socializing. And it's interesting. As it is, it's a minimum amount of socializing--officially, you know, like a Christmas party. But there are informal get-togethers. Susan put in the container garden out here.

GOODE: Your daughter?

JONES: Yes. And people are getting so they use that more now. I mean they actually sit out there and talk or read or whatever they're going to do. But there's just been a thing on the bulletin board this week about what can we do about the living room. All it needs is a carpet. I think they go through that yearly. But I don't know what will happen. But some people would like to have things going on and there are other people are horrified at the idea. It's like any apartment building.

GOODE: And do you know-- Are there people that you've known over the years?

JONES: Well, I knew _____, you know, and Chris Van Lieu[sp?] and Helen Sherman and who else. Not that many. And quite a few-- There's been a certain amount of turnover in the two and a half years I've been here. Mary Miles used to live here. And then she left and now she's back. But it's an interesting-- It's a pretty live wire group of people for the most part, each in his or her own way. But the only time they ever get together is the Christmas party.

GOODE: But is there support among--

JONES: Oh, the farewell party for Suzanne when she left. She was the manager. But it's convenient. And there's a launderette, you know, coin machines.

GOODE: And you're in town still.

JONES: And it's warm in the winter. The heat is included in the rent. It's oil. Then we pay our own utilities.

GOODE: Do you still walk places from here? Do you walk into town?

JONES: Mmm hmmm. Quite a few of the people do. But also the elder affairs bus thing comes out, you know, regularly. Because some people go every weekday to _____ for lunch.

GOODE: Do you ever go over there?

JONES: I've been there, but I haven't been there to lunch. I've been there to meetings.

GOODE: Do you ever partake in any of the programs?

JONES: I get the program frequently. I've been to a couple of the programs.

GOODE: So this walk is a different walk than you used to take into town.

JONES: Mmm hmmm. Well, I like it's being shorter because I can go into town more often. If I forget something, it's not a big deal to go back. [CHANGE TO SIDE B OF TAPE] Then it's a good thing if you're a reader because there's nothing else to do. There were movies, but only at night. And we had a radio, but no TV or anything like that. Kids today--well, some would love it and others would hate it. We used to go up and play ball up at the mill, you know. After supper when my father was here we'd go up and throw the ball around, and we'd knock tin cans off a post and that sort of thing.

GOODE: It must have been exciting when your father came on the weekends.

JONES: Oh, it was. We always waved, and then we went down to Brant Point and waved and dashed over to the wharf to pick him up.

GOODE: Was there _____ beach at the time?

JONES: Oh, yes.

GOODE: What was that like?

JONES: I was going to show you a couple of pictures of what it was like down at _____ beach. This album is not anchored. Well, this was on _____ beach, for instance. And I think the ones on the back were either there or-- These are all Nantucket pictures here. So this is--

GOODE: It was all sand up where the grass is now?

JONES: Yes. Oh, yes. There was nothing like that. In the back there are some others.

GOODE: This is you?

JONES: Mmm hmmm.

GOODE: Was the Yacht Club--I guess--

JONES: The Yacht Club was there. And there was something where the White Elephant is.

GOODE: A business?

JONES: Yes. And this is out somewhere in the moors. I guess we used to rent a horse and buggy now and then. These--I don't know where these were taken. On the beach someplace. Might have been _____ beach.

GOODE: Your mother must have enjoyed coming down here.

JONES: Mmm hmmm.

GOODE: With her mother too. Did your grandmother grow up on Nantucket?

JONES: Yes. You know where she grew up? You know the farmhouse out beyond the Lifesaving Museum that sets way back--the Folger farm?


JONES: Well, when you're driving out, you know, where the Lifesaving Museum is--then you take that bend and start up the hill. There's a rutted road and there's a farmhouse. Now they just built a great big art of a house close by. The farmhouse is where she grew up.

GOODE: That's not going into the forest, is it? Is that where it was?

JONES: No. Oh, no. The Lifesaving Museum is out by the swamps.

GOODE: So she grew up out of town.

JONES: Yes, she did.

GOODE: _____.

JONES: Now her husband's father was a sea captain. Excuse me. [BRIEF PAUSE] This is the side of the gate at our house on Pleasant Street. Now see, this is the corner of Lyon and Pleasant. So you see how different it was as far as--that particular place as far as houses went.

GOODE: And what about trees? Were there less trees?

JONES: Well, we planted trees in our yard, and they grew up to be really big. But there weren't many. There weren't any when we first were there.

GOODE: That's your mother?

JONES: No. Wait a minute. No. That's a friend of hers.

GOODE: I love that house. It looks sideways from the road.


GOODE: Did you have your own _____ that you would go to--the same one you would go to every summer?


GOODE: Any pictures of your brother?

JONES: As a baby. I was trying to pick out pictures of just Nantucket. Towards the end-- This is in Siasconset on Shell Street. That's my mother there.

GOODE: What was Shell Street?

JONES: That street is still there. Here's my father and mother and my cousin Mariah Holden who lived in Siasconset. That's where she lived. And this is my grandmother that owned the house we came to.

GOODE: So you would visit them out in Siasconset?

JONES: And this is the Holden's daughter who is a cousin.

GOODE: And this is your father?

JONES: Mmm hmmm. Here's my brother here.

GOODE: When did your brother live here now? Did he live here year round at some point?

JONES: He came back here to live year round after World War II. He's the one that started the Lifesaving Museum.

GOODE: Where's this?

JONES: That's in town. Oh, that one. That's not even Nantucket. That was Belmont or something. See, this is the first tree. It grew up to be very large.

GOODE: Oh, wow! Yes. Would your grandmother tell you stories about Nantucket?

JONES: Not too-- You know, she had brought up eight children. And that was it for her. She had had enough of children, I guess. And she lived with us in the wintertime too, but she was not one to tell stories. She knit a lot of mittens. Actually she died in our house eventually. But, you know, she was not active as a storyteller.

GOODE: What about your mother?

JONES: Was she a storyteller?


JONES: Well, she used to-- Everything I know about family history came from her. _____ in Westminster.

GOODE: This man right here?

JONES: Yes. He was my great uncle. And he used to live right down the street here on the corner of Huzzy and Westminster in that house. And he's the one that Bob Mooney--whose diaries Bob Mooney used in his book on the Civil War. That was my uncle Si. His name was Josiah Murphy.

GOODE: Do you remember him?

JONES: Oh, yes. I knew him better than either of my grandfathers. He used to come to see us every fall when we lived in Needham. He would come up and visit awhile and bring _____. And that was one thing I used to do summers was spend a lot of time in his house.

GOODE: What was he like?

JONES: Hmmm?

GOODE: What was he like?

JONES: Oh, he was just a nice old man, you know, who was interested in kids and talking to them. One grandfather died when I was two, and the other one not until later. But I seldom saw him, you know, he didn't live near us.

GOODE: Do you remember any stories that he would tell you?

JONES: No, not really, you know. His descendants were all--some of them still live here--the Peases, you know, Frances Pease.

GOODE: Oh, yes, Frances Pease. And his name again was--

JONES: Josiah Murphy.

GOODE: And you called him Uncle Si?


GOODE: All right. So I guess that concludes the interview with Eleanor Jones.

JONES: What? Oh. We used to go over there. And you could see from the mill the surf side. I mean it was flat and, you know, no high vegetation. And we used to look down at Tashma[sp?] farm. You remember that before they tore it down. They used to have people going hunting, you know, and they'd be all decked out in their hunting regalia and riding to the hounds. And we used to see that every now and then down in back of Tashma farm.

GOODE: And then you said you played with the Bartlett's--they lived across the street?

JONES: They lived up the hill--the next house up the hill. There's a big plumbing warehouse there now. Well, they're the ones who put it in. Before that it was just the house up further.

GOODE: And what were their names again?

JONES: Bartlett. The father was Ralph and the oldest son was Irving. He was the fire chief when we moved here. And Franklin is the younger son and he's still here. He lives on the corner of-- What do they call the street now that used be Angola? Comes into Pleasant right next--

GOODE: Do they call it Angola now? Do they call it that?

JONES: No. The one that's right next to Moore's Inn.

GOODE: Oh, the Candlestick Lane?

JONES: Yes. I can't remember that.

GOODE: I think it's something like that.

JONES: All right. The Bartlett House is right on the corner of that before you turn right on--ugly house. That's one they could tear down.

GOODE: And so did you mostly stay-- So you played with them. All right. Could you see the _____ cemetery when you were up there? Could you see that?

JONES: Did I see what?

GOODE: Could you see the cemetery behind the hospital?

JONES: Yes. My grandfather and grandmother are both buried there, as are both my parents.

GOODE: So your father was buried here?

JONES: Mmm hmmm.

GOODE: But his family was not--was his family--

JONES: He what?

GOODE: Was his family from here?

JONES: No. They were from Maine.

GOODE: Okay.