Historic Tisbury house to move

The Caleb Prouty House will be trucked to Lagoon Pond Road. 

The Caleb Prouty House will be moved to Lagoon Pond Road. —Eunki Seonwoo

The historic but dilapidated Caleb Prouty House, next to the Vineyard Haven Stop & Shop, will be moved to a new location, ending a decadelong debate on whether and how to preserve it. 

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission voted 10-1 on May 16 to allow the supermarket chain to move the house to keep it from deteriorating further. Tisbury commissioner Ben Robinson, who cast the sole dissenting vote, said Stop and Shop had not said what it plans to do with the site after the move. 

Built in the mid-19th century, the Greek Revival house has sat empty for years, and old boards cover the ground-floor windows and doors. Since it is close to the Steamship Authority ferry terminal, many consider it an eyesore at the gateway to the Island. 

Under the plan, the house will be raised from its foundation at 15 Cromwell Lane and trucked in three sections to 187 Lagoon Pond Road in Vineyard Haven. The date has not been scheduled, and Stop & Shop spokesperson Stephanie Cunha said she did not know how much the move will cost. 

The sections will be transported through the employee parking lot to Water Street, then through Five Corners and onto the Lagoon Pond Road lot. 

Amelia Hambrecht, who owns the lot and is a joint applicant for the project, plans to restore the house, although with slight modifications to move the kitchen. 

Some Vineyard Haven residents have opposed moving the house because it holds a historic place on the town waterfront, while some abutters at Lagoon Pond Road have argued that the two-story house is higher than others in their neighborhood. 

The Caleb Prouty House is listed in the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, run by the Massachusetts Historical Commission. According to the registry, it likely was constructed between 1844 and 1855 for a mariner named Caleb Prouty. 

It was built in a style typical for Vineyard Haven residences at the time, and is one of a small cluster of buildings that survived an 1883 fire that destroyed more than 70 buildings.

Stop & Shop bought the Caleb Prouty House in 2012, and initially considered moving or demolishing it. It suspended the plans until a renewed effort was made in 2019. 

The supermarket has not submitted a plan to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for what it will do with the empty lot after the house is moved. The area will be fenced off. 

Robinson expressed concern about removing the house without knowing what would happen to the site. “I can’t support the move at this point,” he said. 

Oak Bluffs commissioner Brian Smith said he did not disagree with Robinson, but said the move would save the building from further deterioration. 

“Albeit not in its current location or its historic location … the building will be restored for the future,” he said. 


  1. I think this is a fantastic decision and a great plan. 100% confident that Amelia will be a wonderful steward of the property, which deserves the care that she can and wants to provide! What a great second-life solution for this historic house. So much better than the many scenarios in which such homes are left to the elements here on the island, and all over the country.

  2. It’s debatable that the house has sat empty for years. The ghosts that inhabit it have been there. I hope they stay in the house when it moves.

  3. I find it curious that some abutters have a problem with the height of the two story house. As a previous owner of a nearby property I was specifically asked and approved a height variance for one of the abutters of the property in question.

  4. Mr. Save historic homes and need housing, voted no because he wants to control what stop and shop ultimately does. The epitome of the island of “No”. Literally, this should save the building and provide housing. I cannot believe what I read. Thanks for showing us all that you wanted leverage over stop and shop. At least the real issue is known. Tisbury. Forget about getting nice things.

Comments are closed.