When Will the Greed Stop?

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Yet another Island treasure is at risk of being torn down. (“Historic Hough House May Face Demolition,” Friday, Sept. 4.) Why? According to the Gazette, the new owners of Henry Beetle Hough’s famous Edgartown home feel it can’t be renovated to meet their needs. My question for the Waldron family‚ and others who purchase historic houses only to tear them down‚ is this: Why buy a property that doesn’t suit you in the first place? Rather than destroy Island history, can’t you find a larger modern house, or buy a piece of land on which to build your colonial and carriage house?

Fifty years ago, Henry Beetle Hough founded the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation to save properties like his in Edgartown from being ruined by developers. When will Island officials display similar courage and vision, by standing up for the Island’s character and history rather than roll over for megarich seasonal residents and the architects who enable them?

Tony Horwitz

Vineyard Haven

Important to the Town

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Edgartown is known for its history, its architecture, its waterfront and its excellent harbor. It seems a shame to allow an interesting and historical house to be demolished, thereby losing some of the elements that make the town special. Henry Beetle Hough was known worldwide for his newspaper and his books, most of which were written in the house on Pierce Lane.

Mr. and Mrs. Hough’s house may not be very old but it is certainly historic. The architect of the house designed a number of other houses in Edgartown, as well as the Edgartown Yacht Club. What makes it important to the town (and to tourists) is what the house represents: the beginning of the conservation movement on the Island, the work of the Houghs to preserve land on Martha’s Vineyard, and the fame of the Vineyard Gazette.

Surely something can be done to preserve this bit of history, so important to the town.

Edith W. Potter


Save the Hough House

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

There simply must be some way to save the home of Henry and Elizabeth Hough from demolition — if not for its architectural value then surely for its historical value as the residence (and workplace) of the Gazette’s longtime editors, publishers and environmentalists. There, as Phyllis Meras reported on Friday last, Mr. Hough wrote not only his editorials for over half a century about the growing need to preserve traditional Island values but his many books, especially the acclaimed Country Editor and, in effect, founded Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation as well.

I urge you not only for your own sakes, but for all Islanders too — and for posterity’s sake, especially — to take the lead in persuading the town of Edgartown to save and preserve the Hough house from demolition.

Thomas Goethals

Vineyard Haven

Comments from the Web

What a tragedy! That anyone with so much money can buy a house for $4 million and then destroy what is part of Edgartown’s history — I grew up in that neighborhood and and it makes me so sad to see it destroyed.

Janet Norton


I find it hard to believe that buying a house for four million bucks, destroying it, spending untold amounts building a new one, makes sense. I know there are wonderful properties on Island for sale that are in that elevated price range. Wouldn’t one of those be sufficient for a family?

R. Landis

Ridgewood, N.J.