Founded in 1642 as Great Harbor, Edgartown is the oldest of Martha's Vineyard's six townships. It has been a shire town and a center of learning, a whaling port and a fishing village, a manufacturing center and a mecca for sportsmen. Its gleaming captain's houses and majestic public buildings are a testament to the wealth that whaling brought to the island in the mid-1800s, but the end of New England whaling was far from the end of its story. Faced with the loss of the industry that had sustained it, Edgartown reinvented itself as a summer-centered community of resort hotels, bathing beaches, and genteel vacation homes. It welcomed the world to its shores and became an unlikely cultural icon--a backdrop to a best-selling memoir, a political scandal, and a blockbuster film--famous for being its inimitable self.