When the Great Harbour Inn opened in Edgartown this spring, early guests and staff members had several surprises in the form of improvements in the building waiting for them, improvements not discernible from the outside since Richard L. Colter, the owner of the inn, was careful not to disturb the appearance of the 200 year old building.

The two principal items in the reconstruction was the addition of two bathrooms on what Mr. Colter refers to as the second sleeping floor, or the third story. But more interesting was the work of removing an old - 200 years old - and unused stairway which was located in a particularly dangerous relationship to the doorway of one of the bedrooms.

The old stairway, which could have served in a pinch as a fire escape, was more satisfactorily replaced by an outside fire escape at the rear of the building.

A matter of convenience and economy also was the installation of a laundry chute, which is made of metal and will carry soiled linens for the third floor to the first, calling for a bit of engineering knowledge from Mr. Colter, who holds an amateur standing in the field, for at one point it was necessary to have the chute skirt around a partition measuring some eleven inches in width, a leftover from the early days when the rear wing was added to the original structure.