Ancient ways

Land Owner Faults Commission For Ancient Way Guidelines

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission last Thursday heard emotional testimony from an Edgartown property owner opposed to new guidelines for the protection and maintenance of five ancient pathways in Edgartown, each of which dates back to colonial times.

Benjamin Hall Jr., an Island attorney whose family owns land off Ben Tom’s Road, one of the ways that would fall under the proposed guidelines, said they had been hastily drafted and would deny his family the right to develop their property.

Superior Court Judge Hears Arguments In Ancient Way Tree-Cutting Dispute

Middle Line Road is not much of a road. But it’s a heck of a legal problem, as quickly became evident when the controversy over its 270-year history and uncertainty over its future use landed in the Dukes County superior court in Edgartown this week.

The essence of the case is simple enough.

The Hall family, which owns land alongside the road, wants to improve it. To that end, they engaged contractors to cut trees and widen it.

Connor Downing

Tree Cutting on Byways Angers Town, Neighbors

The latest round in a dispute pitting a landowner’s right of access against conservation values played out like a game of cat and mouse in town hall, the courts and the woods of Edgartown last week.

It began a little before 10 a.m. on Friday morning, when Paul Elliott, the president of the Edgartown Meadows Road Association, found workmen cutting down trees along Middle Line Road.

Movement Begins to Appoint Wardens to Patrol Neglected Ancient Byways

In the weeks ahead, a group of Edgartown residents plans to take a new step to preserve and protect the town's ancient ways and roads.

As many as 30 volunteers will be sworn in by the town as byway wardens. Their mission will be to keep an eye out for illegal dumping and misuse.

Court House Road a Historic Way Worthy of the Name

Gifford’s Store, as most persons of mature age would call it, still stands on the West Tisbury-Edgartown road, which highway developed from the ancient Mill Path, whereby Edgartown settlers walked or rode to the mill on the Mill River, to have their corn ground.

“King’s Highway” Is Known Only to Few

Not many Vineyarders have heard of the “King’s Highway” or know that any such road exists on the Island. King’s Highway, or “Hie” Way, as it was in the beginning, is, according to tradition, the old road between West Tisbury and Quitsa. It is approximately halfway between the South and Middle Roads and parallels the two from the vicinity of the West Thibury-Chilmark line to a point not far distant from Beetlebung Corner, following the line of Ridge Hill and crossing the Guerin and Henry Allen estates.