Dorothy West
On Aug. 26, 1869, the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company, an energetic corporation which had bought up acres of the lovely woods and meadows and shore front stretches of what is now Oak Bluffs, sold one of those lots, 69 Pequot avenue, to Lydia B. Smith of New Bedford.
The Cottagers
Dorothy West
Oak Bluffs town hall
Historic buildings
Noah Asimow
Homeowners Steve and Ellie Wise will withdraw their application to demolish a house at 189 Katama Road.
Martha's Vineyard Commission
Historic buildings


Across the Island but particularly in the down-Island towns, changing tastes and demands from owners of historic homes are increasingly butting up against rules designed to preserve the character of the Island.

In recent years, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission strengthened its oversight of century-old buildings that lie outside designated town historic districts — oversight that has been met with increasing resistance from some homeowners.

Last week, civil engineer Douglas Hoehn told the town’s conservation commission that his client, real estate investor David Malm, will no longer be moving forward with the exercise spa at 81 South Water street.


Depending on one’s perspective, the Island’s historic district commissions are the last stalwarts fighting to preserve the Vineyard’s eroding character or another bureaucratic hurdle for frustrated homeowners. 

The realities of maintaining the Vineyard’s often picturesque past have become increasingly complex, as voluntary boards grapple with insufficient resources and occasional resistance from homeowners who want amenities never imagined by their forebears.

Plans to renovate and expand the Howes House in West Tisbury have run up against repeated roadblocks in recent weeks.