Harbor View Hotel of Martha's Vineyard

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Discover Harbor View Hotel of Martha's Vineyard, which is situated on Starbuck Neck overlooking the harbor entrance in Edgartown.

Harbor View Hotel of Martha's Vineyard was constructed at a time when the United States was defined by great economic prosperity, industrial expansion, and significant social reform.

Edgartown became the most affluent town in Martha's Vineyard 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 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 hotel guests for an unforgettable evening. The view from the broad hotel porch was spectacular; the entire property was illuminated from the lanterns hung in the veranda and the fancily decorated parlors. From most windows, guests could see the busy harbor and the island of Chappaquiddick. From the rear of the hotel, one could see Vineyard Sound and Cottage City in the distance. Mattie Josephine Atkins of Denver and the string quartet of the Fitchburg Band provided entertainment and music that went on late into the night.

In 1893, depression hit the island of Martha’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 Hotel’s size. He also added tennis courts and turned the hotel into a profitable venture.

  • About the Location +
    Edgartown became the most affluent town in Martha's Vineyard 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.

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