Island Facts: Bumpkin Island
Walking trails and the remains of an old stone farmhouse make up the landscape of this picturesque island.
Slate and shell beaches and open fields provide a relaxed atmosphere. Trails lined with wild flowers lead visitors to the remains of a stone farmhouse and a children's hospital.
The island was used by Native Americans. During the colonial period,the island was leased to tenant farmers. The island hosted a fish-drying operation in the early nineteenth century and a fish smelting operation in the early twentieth century. In 1900, Albert Burrage, a Boston philanthropist, founded a hospital for children with physical disabilities. During WWI, the island was taken over for use as a US Naval Training camp, which was dismantled after the war. The hospital reopened briefly in about 1940 for polio patients but closed during WWII, and burned in 1945.
Visitor Facilities & Services
Natural History Overview
Several large trees, approximately 100 years old, possibly date to the early hospital period, including white birch (Betula papyrifera), pear (Pyrus sp.) and apple (Malus sp.) trees. A single yew (Taxus sp.) may have been part of an early 1900s ornamental planting. Most of the island is covered with early successional tree, shrub and vine species representative of a landscape reverted from managed lawns and gardens in the early 1900s.
Survey in progress.
The island is composed of a central drumlin, elevation 70 feet, surrounded by a rock-strewn shoreline. A sand spit, exposed at low tide, connects the eastern end of the island to Sunset Point in Hull.
Views and Vistas
Three vantage points are managed to enhance views. Two group picnic areas on the southwest side of the island offers excellent views of the Hingham Islands, Sarah, Ragged, Langlee and Worlds End, Slate, Grape and Sheep Islands. An outlook shelter on the northwest side of the island offers views of Boston, Peddocks, and Hull, with a partial view of Great Brewster Island.
Island names have changed, depending on ownership and the customs of the times. What's in a Name? lists alternate names for park islands (and a few harbor islands not within the park). Following are known names for Bumpkin Island:
Did You Know?
Clarence Burrage was a philanthropist who established the Hospital for Crippled Children on Bumpkin Island in 1902. It was one of the first facilities with ramps instead of stairs. Though it burned in 1945, the remains can be seen today at Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. More...