For the first time in more than fifty years, the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown has changed hands. The Walker family has been in control of the property since 1898, seven years after its original opening. In that year, F. A. Douglass, the first owner of the Harbor View, sold two thirds of the interest in the hotel to Dr. T. G. Walker and L. T. Townsend, Dr. Walker later acquiring the entire property, which has been owned recently by his children, Mrs. Luther M. Sibley and Raymond Walker.
There was great excitement on the Vineyard when the hotel was being built in 1891. Bulletins about its progress and increasing magnificence appeared in the Gazette throughout the year. Heated arguments about its name divided the Island into two factions. One believed that “The Edgartown” was the only possible name for the new hotel, while others held out for The Harbor View. The matter was finally put to a vote, and The Harbor View triumphed by a narrow margin.
In the course of the argument, a poem about the nameless hotel appeared in the Gazette. It ran in part:
“Far removed from din of city,
Set apart, an Eden there;
And as pure as heavenly vision
In the sweet untainted air.
High upon the hilltop yonder Hotel _ _ is seen,
In the sunlight’s golden splendour,
In the moonlight’s silvery gleam.”
The shingles for the new hotel were imported from New Brunswick. There were 100,000 of them. A tall flag pole was erected, and the building was entirely piped for gas. An added convenience was a telephone line that ran from the hotel to a nearby livery stable.

Had to Enlarge It

By 1893, the Harbor View had become so popular that plans were made for its enlargement. A wing was built, permitting the addition of sixty rooms upstairs, which, the gazette announced, “would double the summer population of Edgartown” and, of course, be of great benefit to all concerned.
After the improvements were completed, the hotel was re-opened in June of 1894. It boasted nearly 100 rooms, the dining room had been enlarged to accommodate large dances, the piazza extended, and a smoking and billiard room had been added.
An advertisement in the Gazette in 1895 announced that there were “hair mattresses, woven wire springs, electric bells in every room.” The Harbor View was “lighted with gas throughout, drainage good, and sanitary arrangements are of latest improved patterns.” It was, at that time, the most splendid hotel on the Vineyard. The rates were $2.50 to $3.00 a day.
The Harbor View did so well that additional plans for its enlargement were made in 1898. For some reason, however, these never materialized.
Under its new ownership, Charles Center, the present manager, is to continue in charge. Alfred Hall, representing the purchasing group, has announced.