A World War II-era plane that went down in a fiery crash more than seven decades ago is found again, buried under the sea floor in Cape Pogue Bay.

A Civil War monument that stands at the entrance to Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs becomes the subject of bitter debate.

A house overlooking the Vineyard Haven harbor whose rich past dates to the days of the American Revolution is suddenly torn down.

For an Island that has always valued its past, history has been kicking up quite a fuss lately.

As the Gazette prepares to celebrate its 173rd year of publication next week, the subtle and not-so-subtle tugs of war over what should be buried and what should be saved ring oddly familiar.

Longtime publisher and editor Henry Beetle Hough famously railed against development for most of the 65 years he owned the Gazette. His relentless campaign to prevent then-Harbor View Hotel owner Bob Carroll from spoiling the view of the Edgartown Lighthouse is the stuff of legend.

Less known, but equally successful, were his efforts to keep up-Island stone walls out of the hands of rock crushers and a television tower from being built at the Gay Head Cliffs. As recounted by Phyllis Meras in her biography, Country Editor, Mr. Hough called the proposed 226-foot tower a “colossus” and compared it to the Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building.

His rhetoric may have been overblown, but who isn’t grateful today that the stone walls and Aquinnah cliffs and the breathtaking sight of Starbuck’s Neck and the Edgartown harbor remain largely intact?

Development has proceeded on Martha’s Vineyard, both before and after Mr. Hough’s tenure. Growth and change has been inevitable, some of it even desirable. The Island is after all a living, breathing community, not a historic replica.

But the Vineyard has learned not to take change lightly. Bylaws, policies and commissions created over years to protect the Island environment, both natural and manmade, are designed to slow things down, giving Islanders a chance to weigh the pros and cons of preservation. Irritating as that process can sometimes be, its legacy is the beautiful Island we now inhabit.

That is why the recent demolition of the old mill house, believed to be one of the oldest homes in Vineyard Haven, has stirred anger and confusion.

Where the breakdown in required approvals occurred is still unclear, as is the question of whether the demolition might eventually have been warranted by its deteriorating condition.

But the fact remains that this very old house was torn down without the opportunity to fully chronicle its significance or debate the value of saving part or all of it, something no penalty — financial or otherwise — will remedy.

The offense is not in failing to preserve history. There are times when history deserves to be buried. The offense is in not allowing the question to be aired.