These Old Houses

Tearing down old buildings is most often cheaper than restoring them, so the sale of two antique houses to private buyers this week marks a positive turn for historic preservation on the Vineyard.

The Old Parsonage in West Tisbury, a seventeenth century farmhouse believed to be the second oldest home on the Island, and the Warren House, an eighteenth century merchant’s home on North Water street in Edgartown, are both in urgent need of extensive renovations.

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Three Centuries Old, Quansoo House Ready for a Makeover
Remy Tumin

The house sits at the far end of Quansoo Road in Chilmark, through a meadow of goldenrod and tall grasses overlooking Tisbury Great Pond. It is perhaps the oldest house on Martha’s Vineyard, more than three centuries old, and one of the finest existing examples of multi-century architecture on the Island.

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Documentary Filmmaker Buys Old Parsonage for $600,000
Remy Tumin

The Old Parsonage house in West Tisbury, believed to be the second oldest home on the Island, has new owners.

The 17th century farmhouse owned by Tara Whiting and her brother Daniel Whiting sold to Eric Burns and Bonnie Lafave of New York city for $600,000. The deal was completed on Friday, Justin Manning of JJ Manning Auctioneers confirmed.

The house was scheduled to go to public auction on Sept. 28, but Mr. Burns and Ms. Lafave’s pre-bid offer was accepted beforehand.

Reached by telephone on Monday, Mr. Whiting called the sale bittersweet.

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Old Parsonage House in West Tisbury Heads to Public Auction
Remy Tumin

A 17th century West Tisbury farmhouse believed to be the second oldest house on the Vineyard is set to be sold at a public auction later this month.

The Old Parsonage house on State Road in West Tisbury is owned by Tara Whiting and her brother Daniel Whiting.
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Judge to Decide Whether Chilmark Affordable Housing Deal Still Valid
Sara Brown

In 2007 the town of Chilmark, the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank and the Howard Hillman family announced a three-way land swap that was designed to save a historic house, open up a new conservation corridor and create more affordable housing up-Island.

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Sheriff's Meadow Highlights Historic House

The historic Mayhew-Hancock-Mitchell House at Quansoo Farm is the topic of a presentation by Adam Moore of the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation at an August 14 talk beginning at 5 p.m. at the Chilmark Public Library. The historic house, dating back to the 17th century, is one of a handful of homes in the U.S. that contain original wattle and daub construction.

The foundation is currently raising funds to preserve the house.

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Old Home Foe; Not the Heat but the Humidity
Xenia Rakovshik
Unlike most houses that undergo basement reconstruction, the house on 8 Planting Field Way in Edgartown has a foundation that has kept the building upright for 163 years.

“With a lot of old homes the foundation collapses entirely,” said Scott Decker, the general supervisor. “We end up having to literally raise up the house, rip out the old foundation and put in new footings.

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Feeling Blue Over Deterioration of Yellow Houses
Mary Jane Carpenter

I have a fondness for yellow houses. They are not very common in Edgartown right now. Years ago they were more prevalent. If you can imagine it, the Doctor Daniel Fisher house was once painted yellow! Hard to believe its wedding cake splendor was covered in yellow icing.

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Captain Warren's House By Any Other Name
Mary Jane Carpenter

Is it really the Warren House? I see in the Gazette that the Warren House is back in the news. I have to smile. The house had a sign on it, “The Captain Warren House” for as many years as I have been coming to the Vineyard.

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Fire Destroys a Community Treasure; Corbin-Norton House will be Rebuilt
Mark Alan Lovewell

One of the Island's most historic mansions, the Corbin-Norton house on Ocean Park burned to the ground in the midst of a heavy gale Monday night.

By the time firemen arrived, the house was fully involved, fanned by northeast winds as high as 40 miles per hour. Oak Bluffs fire chief Dennis P. Alley said it took firemen from three towns more than four hours to gain control of the fire and prevent it from spreading into the neighborhood. Mr. Alley said he determined the cause of the fire to be electrical wiring in an outlet behind the wall in the first-floor living room.

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