It was the mill site that originally attracted settlers, because there was no stream in Edgartown strong enough to dam for a water wheel. The grist mill gave way in 1847 to the manufacture of satinet, a heavy fabric for whalemen’s jackets made from Island wool.
The Congregational Church on State Road is always open to visitors. Solid and settled as it now looks, even this structure did not escape the Islanders’ penchant for moving buildings around. The original churchyard, where the first settlers of the town are buried, is about a quarter of a mile down the road. Near the church is the West Tisbury Town Hall.
Several old houses here started out as inns, back when a trip from the down-Island ports to Aquinnah or Chilmark was a long haul over sandy roads. Daniel Webster stayed at the house next to the store building. Across the little pond from the old inn is the site of a house built by Miles Standish’s son in 1668.
The largest houses in town were owned by captains, and some of the finest are still occupied by their descendants. Several captains’ houses can be found on Music Street, given its name after a number of its families purchased pianos with new whaling money.
The Lambert’s Cove settlement has its share of fine homes and a charming white church. The Cove was once a place of anchorage for the town of West Tisbury. The area housed clay works, salt works, and extensive trap fishing operations. All this has vanished. Even the road to the harbor is gone. A woodland path leads to the beach, which is now set aside for year-round and summer residents of West Tisbury.
Other points of interest are Cedar Tree Neck Nature Preserve, the Polly Hill Arboretum, and the Christiantown Memorial.
Cedar Tree Neck offers unspoiled woods, with a freshwater pond and brooks, bounded by North Shore Beach. Picnics, fishing, and bathing are not permitted, but there are marked trails for those who enjoy the opportunity to watch birds and walking.
The Arboretum contains more than 200 species of trees, a picnic area, and Visitors’ Center. A complete description appears in the Conservation and Recreation section.
The Christiantown Memorial is located off Christiantown Road. Here one may see a tiny chapel, a pulpit rock where services were held for the Wampanoag in the 17th century, the rough small burial stones of these first converts, and a nearby wildflower garden.
Fire – To report a fire dial 911
Edgartown Road Station: 508.693.2749
Public Safety Building: 508.693.9555
Police – To report an emergency dial 911
To report urgency, but no emergency dial 311
Alternate Emergency Number: 508.696.5776
West Tisbury Town Hall
State Road, PO Box 278
West Tisbury 02575
Town Hall Information (Recording): 508.696.0100
Office hours: 8:30 am-4:30 pm, M-F
If no direct number is listed please contact the town hall or website.
Town Clerk - 508.696.0148
Accountant - 508.696.0106
Building Inspector - 508.696.0113
Dukes County Advisory Board
Fire Chief - 508.693.9555 or 508.693.3287
School Department - 508.696.7738
Shellfish Constable - 508.696.0102
Superintendent of Streets
Tax Collector - 508.696.0104
Town Boards, Etc.
Board of Appeals - 508.696.0107
Board of Assessors - 508.696.0101
Board of Health - 508.696.0105
Conservation Commission - 508.696.6404
Council on Aging - 508.696.2896
Historic District Commission
Local Historical Commission
Martha’s Vineyard Commission
Parks & Recreation Committee - 508.696.0147
Personnel Board - 508.696.6404
lanning Board - 508.696.0149
Up-Island Regional School Committee