• 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

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.
 
Short History
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.
 

General Information
This island of Boston Harbor Islands national park area is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

Agency Designation: Harbor Islands Reservation
Current Use: Park purposes
Harbor Location: Hingham Bay
Acreage: 62 (upland acres: 30.15; intertidal acres: 31.39)
Highest elevation: 70 feet
Longitude: 42° 16' 52.00" North
Latitude:
70° 53' 15.4" West
Miles from Long Wharf: 10.2

 
Visitor Facilities & Services
Hours:
9:00 am to Sunset
Piers/Docks:
Yes
Visitor season:
Summer
Boat slips:
0
Visitor staff:
Yes
Moorings:
0
Guided tours:
Yes
Park boats:
Park shuttle boat
Lifeguards:
No
Car access:
No
Flush toilets:
No
Campsites:
10 (capacity ea: 4)
Composting toilets:
Yes
Group campsites:
1 (capacity ea: 25)
Picnic areas:
Yes
Camping capacity:
65
Refreshments:
No
Cooking grills:
Yes
Drinking water:
No
Walking trails:
Yes

Visitor Cautions: The island has abundant poison ivy, which is currently controlled along walkways.

 
Natural History Overview
Vegetation
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.

Wildlife
Survey in progress.

Geology
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.
 
Structures
Buildings
  • Pier gazebo
  • Pumphouse
  • Stone house walls
  • Mess hall foundation
  • Hospital and additional foundations
  • Outlook shelter
  • Clivus Mulstrum toilet
Fortifications
  • None
Other Structures
  • Pier
  • Park benches
  • Picnic tables
  • Signs
 
Alternate Names
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:
  • Round Island
  • Pumpkin Island
  • Bomkin Island
  • Bumkin Island
  • Ward's Island
 

Did You Know?