Welcome To KEY TO THE CITY's Page For
Dukes County, Massachusetts
Chamber of Commerce.
Edgartown was settled around 1642 as the first colonial settlement and became the county seat the same year. It was known as Great Harbor from its beginning until about 1671. By the 1800's it had become a major whaling port on the east coast. Many of the buildings in town date back to this era. North Water Street has a row of captain's houses that are unequaled. A walk down the street after dark intensifies the ambiance with the glowing streetlights from another time. Some of the home here were built in the beginning include the Vincent House in 1672 and the Thomas Cooke House. Also on South Summer Street is the Benjamin Smith home built in 1760. The Federated Church nearby was built in 1828 and the Old Whaling Church was built in 1843. Most of these historic buildings are still being used today either as museums, businesses or as public buildings.
The town is known as a premium yachting center. Yachts, presumably, have taken the place of the big square riggers that sailed in and out of the harbor here for hundreds of years.
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Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary
About three miles from town, this wildlife sanctuary has 200 acres. The Massachusetts Audubon Society owns and maintains the site. There are many trails and programs at the center.
A pagoda tree from China may be seen on South Water Street. It was brought here as a seedling by Captain Thomas Milton.
A number of beaches are in the area, among them, South Beach, Katama Bay, Wasque and Cape Poge on Chappaquiddick, Lighthouse Beach and Bend-in-the-Road Beach.
Dukes County Museum
The Dukes County Historical Society, at School and Cooke streets, is a block-size museum complex. The twelve rooms of the 1765 Thomas Cooke House are filled with early island memorabilia. Also in the complex is the Gale Huntington Library of History, through which you pass to get to the Francis Foster Museum, which has a small maritime and island collection. Outside is a boat shed containing a whaleboat, fire engine and old wagon, plus the original Fresnel lens from the old Gay Head Lighthouse, mounted in a replica of the lighthouse lantern and watch room, and still lighted at night.
Take a five minute ferry ride to this famous island. There is a public beach facing the Edgartown Harbor at Chappy Point, plus the Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge and Wasque Reservation beaches.
The Whaling Church
This church was built in 1843 and designed in Greek REvival architecture by Fredrick Baylies, Jr.
The Vincent House
This is the oldest house on the island with much of its original work intact. The Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust now owns the house. Please call ahead for tour schedules.
The Edgartown Harbor Light
This historic lighthouse sits at the entrance to the harbor. When a 1938 hurricane ruined the lighthouse, plans were made to replace it with a modern light. Local residents didn't want that to happen and petitioned to save the old light. Because of the damage the original lighthouse had to be replaced with another historic light from Ipswich. The "new" light was built in 1875.
Edgartown has an Open Town meeting form of government. The Town Administrator is appointed by the three member board of selectmen.
Edgartown is the county seat of Dukes County.
Edgartown Chamber Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce
Edgartown OrganizationsMartha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce
Edgartown Libraries Edgartown Free Public Library
58 North Water St.
P.O. Box 5249
Edgartown, MA 02539
Phone: (508) 627-1373
Edgartown Schools Edgartown School
RR1, Box 6
West Tisbury Road