There was a time when houses on Main street in Edgartown often had rooms to rent by the week or month. It was not all that long ago, either.

When Betty Sanchez’s house at 96 Main street was sold in the 1990s, the new owners discovered that all the bedrooms had padlock fittings. Her house and its famous front porch (which has now been removed) was known among the young people as a good and cheap lodging house for the summer, and year-round for Gazette staffers. Its most famous resident was The Old Editor, who was Henry Hough’s predecessor at the Gazette. By the 1990s those days were long gone, but some still mourned the loss of the front porch, while others missed the Edgar Marchant House sign that had adorned it for so long.

Another missing sign is that of the Horn of Plenty which hung from a post in the front yard of 148 Main street. That sign managed to stay for much longer. In 2001, the estate of Margaret Patch sold this house, which, like the Sanchez house, had seen much better days. In the 1930s the Horn of Plenty was a popular tea room in a day when there were not very many dining options in Edgartown. The house was owned at the time by Chester and Mattie Pease who owned a great deal of Edgartown commercial property. It was rented by a woman from Providence named Elizabeth Hirons who came every summer for more than 15 years and operated the restaurant in the downstairs portion, and had upstairs accommodations for herself and her staff. In the wintertime Mrs. Hirons owned and operated a gift store in Providence. The restaurant was very successful and was continued for a few years after her death by her relatives.

In 1949, the Peases sold the house to Henry and Olga Smith. The Smiths used it as their home until Margaret Patch bought it in 1965. She brought out the old sign and ran the place as a guesthouse. A year later she also bought the Jonathan Munroe house and added that to her enterprise. Margaret was a newly divorced washashore from Briarcliff Manor, and she owned other commercial property which she managed for many years.

Now the Jonathan Munroe House bed and breakfast is for sale again, as is the Edgar Marchant House. The house at 148 Main street has been sold and the Horn of Plenty sign with its cornucopia shape has not been up for many years. By the time I began my daily walks to the Registry of Deeds the sign was showing much wear and tear, and the house was in sad shape, too. Back then, in 1988, every house was not as spic and span as they seem to be now. These anomalies of condition made me wonder about their stories and made me curious. I am still curious, but I miss the signs.