• Lush vegetation on the top of Spectacle Island's North drumlin dominates the foreground. Boston's skyline can be seen in the distance.  The park's logo with tag line minutes away, worlds apart empashises the stark contrast between the city and islands.

    Boston Harbor Islands

    National Recreation Area Massachusetts

Education Themes: Civil War

Fort Warren
  • The partially restored Fort Warren, an impressive granite Third System fortification designated as a National Historic Landmark, has stood on George's Island as a major defensive post for the protection of the harbor in every conflict from the Civil War through World War II.
  • Fort Warren was built between 1834 and 1860 of massive blocks of Quincy granite.
  • During the Civil War, Union soldiers were trained at Fort Warren and Confederate soldiers were imprisoned there.
  • Fort Warren is said to be inhabited by "The Lady in Black," the ghost of a prisoner's wife.
  • Historian Edward Rowe Snow has asserted that Fort Warren "has more memories of the Civil War days than any other place in New England."
  • Another historian has claimed that soldiers working on the fort's parade ground invented the lyrics to "John Brown's Body." Set to the tune of a popular hymn, the song was so popular among Union troops that President Lincoln is alleged to have asked Julia Ward Howe to write a patriotic poem to the same melody, what became "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Gallops Island

  • Gallops Island quartered the Mass 54th Colored Regiment during the Civil War. Their story was later immortalized in the movie "Glory."

Did You Know?

Satellite Imagery of Boston Harbor Seafloor and Islands

Boston Harbor Islands is one of 14 national park that has the word "islands" in the name. Other island parks include Channel Islands in California, Apostle Islands in Wisconsin, Governors Island in New York and Assateague Island in Maryland.