Edgartown, Massachusetts

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Edgartown, Massachusetts

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About Edgartown, Massachusetts

Edgartown, Massachusetts is a town located on Martha’s Vineyard in Dukes County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 4,067 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Dukes County. Edgartown, MA has the largest area in the entirety of Dukes County and Martha’s Vineyard.

In 1642, Rev. Thomas Mayhew, Jr. led a group of families to start a colony on the island after its purchase by his father Thomas Mayhew. Originally called Great Harbor, it was incorporated in 1671 as Edgar Towne, and is the first of the two original towns on Martha’s Vineyard, along with Tisbury. The town’s current name is in honor of Edgar, the son of James II of England who died at the age of three in 1671.

The younger Mayhew began his work which led to his becoming the first church planting Protestant missionary after he settled in Edgartown. A Wampanoag Indian named Hiacoomes who lived nearby became his partner in founding the churches in the Indian communities.

Edgartown is well known as having been one of the primary ports for the whaling industry during the 1800s. Ships from all over the world would dock in its sheltered bay and captains would build grand mansions for their families with ornate top floor rooms called widow’s walks, which overlooked the harbor. A myth developed that wives would watch for months from these tiny rooms, hoping to see the sails of ships that would bring their husbands home from the sea. There is little or no evidence that widow’s walks were intended or regularly used for this purpose. They were frequently built around the chimney of the residence, thus creating an easy access route to the structure, allowing the residents of the home to pour sand down burning chimneys in the event of a chimney fire in the hopes of preventing the house from burning down.

As more economical alternatives became available the whaling industry began to decline. By the beginning of the 20th century, its influence on the tiny town which had made its fortunes through the industry, was ended. Today the town is more known for tourism, as well as the site of Chappaquiddick, where Ted Kennedy’s infamous incident took place in 1969.


Edgartown, MA Schools

Edgartown has its own elementary school, which is located on the western edge of the town center and serves approximately 330 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Students from Edgartown Elementary School normally graduate to the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, located in Oak Bluffs.

Edgartown, MA Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,779 people, 1,582 households, and 957 families residing in the town. The population density was 140.0 people per square mile (54.1/km²). There were 4,360 housing units at an average density of 161.5 per square mile (62.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 93.33% White, 1.77% African American, 0.45% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.53% from other races, and 2.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.16% of the population.

There were 1,582 households out of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.7% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.5% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 28.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 102.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $50,407, and the median income for a family was $55,153. Males had a median income of $36,615 versus $30,205 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,740. About 2.7% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.5% of those under age 18 and 1.3% of those age 65 or over.

In 2003 the Martha’s Vineyard Gazette estimated that there were 15,000 year-round inhabitants of the island with a summer increase to 105,000. Over the last 20 years there has been a continuous growth in the population of the island, although many of the large expanses of undeveloped land and many vistas remain. The summer season, which previously lasted from mid-June through Labor Day weekend has been gradually extended and now includes the period from Memorial Day through Columbus Day.


Edgartown, Massachusetts News

Timeline Photos

Timeline Photos

Elegant island home located in historic downtown Edgartown just steps away from Main Street shops, restaurants and harbor. This rare 2+bedroom, 3.5 bath in-town home has a bright and open floor plan complete with hardwood floors, gourmet kitchen, spacious living room...

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About Edgartown, MA Town Information Site

Edgartown, MA Town Information is brought to you as a public service by: Massachusetts Association of Buyer Agents, a non-profit organization devoted to the home buyer.

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