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Harbor View Hotel of Martha's Vineyard

    Harbor View Hotel of Martha's Vineyard
 in Edgartown


Edgartown became Martha's Vineyard's most affluent town during the height of the whaling industry in the 1830s and 1840s. After the Civil War, when whaling ceased, Edgartown continued to be a prominent summer destination. With financial assistance from the town, citizens built a railroad from the steamboat wharf in Cottage City to the Mattakesett lodge at Katama. Local investors soon took initiative to build a resort at the end of North Water Street, where the ranks of the whaling captain’s homes came to an end to lure summer visitors to the Vineyard.

On July 23, 1891, situated on Starbuck’s Neck overlooking the harbor entrance, the shingle-style Harbor View Hotel of Martha's Vineyard celebrated its grand opening, inviting four hundred islanders to mingle with the hotel guests for an unforgettable evening. The view from the broad hotel porch was spectacular; the entire property was illuminating from the lanterns hung in the veranda and the fancily decorated parlors. From most windows you could see the busy harbor and the island of Chappaquiddick. From the rear of the hotel, one could see Vineyard Sound and Cottage City (oak bluffs) in the distance. Mattie Josephine Atkins of Denver and the string quartette of the Fitchburg Band provided entertainment and music that went on until late at night.

In 1893, depression hit the island of Matha’s Vineyard. The nation was beginning a steep financial downturn. Several buildings, including two hotels in the Cottage City area, burned down to the ground.

The first few years for the Harbor View Hotel weren’t easy. In 1895, another new manager was hired, and after two years in his position he bought out the owners of the hotel. Within a decade, he had doubled the Harbor View’s size. He also added tennis courts and turned the hotel into a profitable venture.

Scout Real Estate Capital, a Nantucket-based real estate company, acquired the Harbor View Hotel in December 2006. Scout has begun a multi-year restoration program for the property, and is introducing new resort amenities designed to ensure the Harbor View Hotel & Resort remains the “Grande Dame” of Vineyard Hotels.

Harbor View Hotel of Martha's Vineyard, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 1996, dates back to 1891.


Guest Historian Series

Stanley TurkelRead more about the history of Harbor View Hotel of Martha's Vineyard, as told by Historic Hotels of America 2014 and 2015 Historian of the Year Stanley Turkel. Excerpt is taken from his latest book Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (AuthorHouse 2013).

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