Local & State Government
Located in the state of Massachusetts, the Vineyard makes up most of County of Dukes County, Massachusetts. The rest of the county consists of Cuttyhunk and the Elizabeth Islands.
Massachusetts takes its name from the Massachusett tribe of Native Americans, who lived in the Great Blue Hill region, south of Boston. The Indian term supposedly means "at or about the Great Hill". There are, however, a number of interpretations of the exact meaning of the word.
Massachusetts is a commonwealth because the term is contained in the Constitution. Commonwealths are states, but the reverse is not true. In the era leading to 1780, when the state Constitution was ratified, a popular term for a whole body of people constituting a nation or state was the word "Commonwealth." The Latin motto "Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem" means "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty."
Martha's Vineyard is made up of six towns: Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury, and the more populous towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven (also known as Tisbury). Each town is governed by a Board of Selectmen elected by town voters, along with annual and periodic Town Meetings. Each town is also a member of the Martha's Vineyard Commission which regulates island wide building, environmental and aesthetic concerns. Some government programs on the island have been regionalized such as the public school
system, emergency management and waste management.
Quicklinks on the right will link you to more information on state and town governments.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts:
Martha's Vineyard towns:
Town of Chilmark - www.chilmarkma.gov
Address: Beetlebung Corner, Chilmark, MA
Town of West Tisbury - http://www.westtisbury-ma.gov/
Address: State Road, West Tisbury, MA
Town of Aquinnah -http://www.aquinnah-ma.gov
Address: 65 State Road, Aquinnah, MA
Tisbury / Vineyard Haven - http://tisburyma.gov/Pages/index
Address: 51 Spring Street, Vineyard Haven, MA
Town of Edgartown - http://www.edgartown-ma.us/cms/
Address: 70 Main Street, Edgartown, MA
Town of Oak Bluffs - http://www.ci.oak-bluffs.ma.us
Address: 56 School Street, Oak Bluffs, MA