MISS CHARLOTTA’S TEA ROOM
This little building, moved to the village from its bay-front location in 1992, has had many lives. Built by the Baileys to be a service station in 1926, it never fulfilled that mission because of the hurricane that year. It was built because when ferry service started, the Bailey brothers realized that cars on the island would need easier access to service and gas than that provided by the pumps at the end of a long pier. But the hurricane changed everything.
- The not-quite gas station became a temporary store while the new Bailey’s General Store (the one in our village) was built with gas pumps under a portico.
- Frank Bailey’s sister-in-law Charlotta Matthews suggested that the building be used as a tea room to serve ferry and store patrons.
- Most of the cooking was done at the Matthews (now the Island Inn), and she brought pastries, soup and sandwiches, and beverages to the tea room.
- Three winter resident men, eager for more to do than gossip and wait for their wives at the tea room, built a nine-hole miniature golf course in the rear.
- The tea room operated in tourist season (fall, winter, spring).
- After 1937, the ferry landing relocated east toward the lighthouse and the tea room permanently closed. The building was converted into the school teacher’s home.
- No pictures of the interior have been found, so displays are a “best guess.” Children of that era only recall that they were told to stay out. “You’re too wet and full of sand!”
- Charlotta never married, always kept busy, and was nicknamed Scooter. Her nephews – Francis, Sam, and John Bailey – called her Aunt Char or Chebum, a nickname that has yet to be adequately explained!