Edgartown lies on the eastern end of the island of Martha's Vineyard in Dukes County. Like Nantucket to the east, it was a primary port for the whaling industry during the 1800s. Edgartown was often referred to as "Old Town" because many people had moved from there to Nantucket. Before New Bedford became the whaling capital of the world, many whalers from Nantucket would fit out their vessels in Edgartown prior to departure. Sometimes whaleships from Nantucket stopped at Edgartown to finish fitting out for a voyage or unload their cargoes so that they could pass over the sandbar at the entrance to Nantucket harbor. Ships from all over the world docked in Edgartown's sheltered bay at one time or another.
Library of Congress