From the Nov. 15, 1929 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

One evening recently an Edgartown woman was informing her young nephew as to the number of dwelling houses which, a matter of fifty or more years ago, were located on Main street, but which since have been torn down, moved to other sites in the village, or have been changed wholly or in part to be used for business purposes. Beginning at Mellen’s corner and going down Main street, it was rather interesting to listen as she referred to some of these former residences.

Starting the trip down, first on the left was the old Dr. Fisher house, which stood in the space between the Mellen house and the newer Dr. Fisher residence, the old house being later taken down. The land on which it stood is now embraced in the Faris estate on its western front.

On the eastern front of the present Faris estate, between that property and the Methodist church, once stood the large two-story house, for many years the residence of the late Capt. James B. Huxford, former Edgartown whaling master. Hon. William M. Butler, who had previously purchased the former Fisher estate, later also the bought the Huxford property, and the house was later sold and moved to Starbuck’s Neck, where, somewhat changed, it has been for many years an annex to the Harbor View Hotel.

The next house found to be missing was the former dwelling house used by the keeper of the old Dukes County jail. The house occupied a site on the west corner of the present court house lawn, and the stone jail, with its four cells, as is recalled, was immediately in the rear of the keeper’s house, and surrounded by a high, close board fence. Former keepers whose names come to mind were Samuel Daggett, Samuel Keniston, Sr., Chase Pease, and there were probably various others, keepers of the old jail first and last. It was taken down, and the jailer’s house was sold and removed to the north end of the town. It now forms a part of the large Putnam summer home, near the house and grounds of the Edgartown Tennis Club.

Continuing down Main street, where is now the east lawn of the court house, stood 50 years ago a large two-story house at that time owned by the late David Fisher, who was the eldest son of the venerable doctor. Later the house was moved to its present location on Morse street, head of North Summer, and its former site near the courthouse was occupied by the large livery stable building owned by Capt. Richard Holley and sold by him to Capt. Thomas Mellen. In course of time the stable was purchased by Raymond Walker, and the land on which it stood was acquired by the county. Mr. Walker first moved the stable to his premises on upper Main street, just beyond the county jail, now the property of Capt. Claude Wagner, and again the big barn moved on to Old Acres, on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven road, where it is at present, Mr. Walker having sold Old Acres about a year ago to Edward F. Silva.

Next on the trip down Main street we note the absence of the former Donnelly house, the home of the parents of John D. Donnelly, which stood on the site where is now the A.&P. store.

Next is the French block of stores, now tenanted by Connors’ Market and LaBelle’s Coffee Shop. The block occupied the full width of the lot where for many years stood the residence of Capt. William C. Pease, who was 60 years ago a prominent commander in the U. S. revenue cutter service and had been an officer in the navy during the Civil War. A son, William Worth Pease, lived many years in New Bedford, employed by the Morse Twist Drill Co. The house and lot were purchased by the late James W. French, prominent Boston realtor, who moved the house to Starbuck’s Neck, and built the bloack on its site.

Next, at the corner of Main and North Summer streets, is the former residence of the late Holmes W. Smith, which was previously the home of Capt. Henry Pease, 2d. It is greatly changed from its appearance a half century ago, and the large house has now stores on the first floor, one occupied by the Dress and at Shop, and apartments on the second. It is the property of F. Hudson Worden.

On the opposite North Summer street corner is the former residence of Capt. Jared Fisher, Sr., later for many years known as the Blanchard house. One time one of Edgartown’s comfortable old-time dwellings, it is now given to business on the first floor, Folsom’s hardware store and the summer office of the Western Union Telegraph Co., and an apartment on the second floor, at present occupied by the proprietor, W. F. Folsom and family.

Possibly the above list is not complete, there may be omission, but it serves as a reminder of the great changes which have taken place on a short portion of Edgartown’s Main street in the past half dozen decades, a street which was in existence more than a hundred years before the Revolutionary War, having been officially laid out Feb. 6, 1654.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox