Between Owen Park and the West Chop Cemetery, Vineyard Haven’s Main street was once the seasonal home of four internationally acclaimed writers and a renowned broadcast journalist.

Summer neighbors Art Buchwald, Lillian Hellman, John Hersey, William Styron and Mike Wallace all lived on the harbor side of the street during the second half of the 20th century. Four of the five decided to stay on in the little 1791 burying ground, also on the east side of Main street.

“The harbor and the boats kind of unite all these writers,” said amateur historian Wayne Nichols, who led a walking tour of the neighborhood Saturday afternoon for the Vineyard Haven Public Library.

More than 15 people gathered by the Owen Park bandstand to start the tour with Mr. Nichols, who also leads walking tours of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, in the character of Alexander Hamilton.

In the early 1980s, Mr. Nichols told the group, he was living on the Island and found summer work as a chauffeur for Ms. Hellman.

Tour stopped at several spots, including local graveyard where most of the writers are buried. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“She loved to fish. That’s how I met her,” he said, recalling his first encounter with the famously gritty playwright and author who, despite multiple strokes, continued to head out on her fishing boat Julia.

Recruited by Julia’s skipper Jack Koontz — former longtime fishing columnist for the Gazette — to help lift Ms. Hellman between the vessel and the dock one day, Mr. Nichols said he hit it off with the author and wound up with a job transporting her high-profile dinner guests.

“She was known as one of the greatest hostesses,” said Mr. Nichols, adding that he occasionally was invited to join the party if Ms. Hellman wanted her guests to stay a little longer.

Ms. Hellman’s former summer home, Mill House, was demolished and rebuilt not long ago, Mr. Nichols said as the tour group stood in the driveway overlooking the brightly-shingled property.

Mr. Hersey’s Italianate villa, Hedge Lee, still stands above the harbor. Built in the 1920s, the red-tile-roofed house became the Hersey family’s summer home in the 1960s. In the off-season, they shared a compound with author Ralph Ellison in Key West, Mr. Nichols said.

The Pulitzer-winning novelist of A Bell for Adano, Mr. Hersey also reported and wrote Hiroshima in the aftermath of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Japan. He was also the author of Blues, a set of essays inspired by fishing Vineyard waters. Mr. Hersey died in Key West in 1993 and became the first of the four authors buried in the West Chop Cemetery.

At Mr. Buchwald’s tree-shaded former home across from the library, a half-circle of white Adirondack chairs sat empty on the broad green lawn as if waiting for the humorist and his neighbors, particularly Mr. Styron and Mr. Wallace, to resume one of their summer conversations.

These three men had more in common than their wits, their Pulitzers and the Vineyard. They all suffered from depression, Mr. Nichols said. Mr. Styron wrote one of his most famous books, Darkness Visible, about the affliction.

Nicknaming themselves the Blues Brothers, the three friends took daily walks along Main street, Mr. Nichols said. Passing the cemetery each time, Mr. Buchwald, Mr. Styron and Mr. Wallace decided they also wanted to spend eternity together there, Mr. Nichols said.

Mr. Styron went first of the three, in late 2006 at 81. His gravestone is inscribed with stars and a crescent moon over waves and the words, from Darkness Visible, “And so we came forth, and once again beheld the stars.”

Mr. Buchwald followed in early 2007, also at 81, after having entered hospice more than once and writing an unexpected final book, Too Soon to Say Goodbye. His stone bears the image of a manual typewriter with paper inserted, ready for the author’s ideas.

Mr. Wallace lived to 93, dying in 2012. His stone lists his name and dates and the quote "Tough But Fair."

In a tradition seen at other Island cemeteries as well, small pebbles had been left on the arched top of each writer’s stone as tributes to the author’s memory.

Ms. Hellman died in 1984 and is buried in Abel’s Hill Cemetery in Chilmark.

“There’s always an exception with Lillian Hellman,” Mr. Nichols said with a smile.