Historic buildings


Can This Old House Be Saved? Maybe

None of the houses on North Water street in Edgartown are small. But tucked among the old whaling captains’ homes, with their broad lawns stretching down to private docks on the outer harbor is a comparatively diminutive Greek revival building known as the library. The fate of this home has hung in the balance since September, when plans for its demolition were first presented to the Edgartown historic district commission in the wake of strong neighborhood opposition to the project.

A leading opponent is neighbor John Connors.

Corbin Norton house

Touring Oak Bluffs, Paranormal Boom Town Ablaze With Spirits

More and more ghosts are being drawn to Oak Bluffs’ attractive summer housing. “Some spirits have a sliver of their psyche attached to some place where they were happy,” explains Holly Nadler, Haunted Island author, bookstore owner and part-time ghost-hunter. As these properties change owners more frequently, some are becoming crowded. “This place is gooey with ghosts,” said Ms. Nadler, conducting a tour of the Camp Ground last weekend.

Twin Cottage, Landmark on East Chop, Is Up for Possible Demolition, Owners Say

East Chop residents mourned the end of an era this week, reacting to news that an old Victorian in the heart of Oak Bluffs' Highlands district may fall to a wrecking ball in the coming months.

The Grand Old Lady of Ocean Avenue

It’s been called the flagship of Ocean avenue. When it was originally built in 1891, it belonged to Philip Corbin, a manufacturer of household hardware and locks from New Britain. Conn., who got his start as a locksmith apprentice and grew his business until it employed 15,000 people.
His house was a Queen Anne man­sion, three stories tall and with eight bedrooms. It was a sign of the changes taking place, the transformation of a re­ligious retreat called Cottage City into a full-fledged resort called Oak Bluffs.
Not surprisingly. Mr.

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

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.

Edgartown Mansion Will Be Preserved

An agreement to sell Edgartown’s handsome Dr. Daniel Fisher house on Main street, built in 1840 for that great whaling era figure, has been reached between Island Properties, who president is Dr. Alvin M. Strock, its owner for the past seven years, and a newly formed nonprofit corporation, the Daniel Fisher Corporation.

Dana Place Sold

The Lester H. Dana place, with its beautiful contemporary house on the summit of Manter’s Hill, off Tea Lane, and fifty-five acres of land, has been sold by Mrs. Dana to Mrs. Julia Green Sturges of New York.

New Dwelling to Top Manter’s Hill, One of the Historic Properties of the Vineyard

Manter’s Hill, a Chilmark landmark since the beginning of the Manor, will be crowned with a year-round dwelling of imposing size at some time in the near future. The house is to be built for Lester Dana of Boston, who is in the process of purchasing fifty-five acres of the old Manter Place from Philip Siff, and the building will be done by the William G. Manter Co. of Vineyard Haven. William F. Swift, Vineyard Haven engineer and surveyor, will be in charge of the whole operation.


A traffic-stopper in Edgartown this week has been the corner of Davis Lane and School street where the stately house which was once Davis Academy and is now the summer home of the G. Holmes Perkins family, of Cambridge and Philadelphia, has been emerging in a pale blue manifestation, with white trim.

House Bears Name of Desire Osborn

The old house on Main street, Edgartown, which has been referred to as the Edson house, has received an official and appropriate christening. It is now the Desire Osborn House, called after James Coffin’s youngest child, Desire Allen Coffin, who married John Osborn in 1813, and for whom the house was moved to its present site from the neighborhood of Mill Hill.