Island Facts: Langlee Island
Home to the Boston Light the oldest lighthouse site in the country.
Visitor Facilities & Services
Natural History Overview
In an 1893 account, The History of Hingham, author Bouve describes Langlee as "a beautiful spot. Steep ledges surround it, except for small intervals, where there are gravelly beaches, upon one of which stands a fine linden. Shrubs abound upon the uplands. It will be, in a few years, more beautiful than now, thanks to the enlightened taste of the gentleman who owns it. He has planted many small trees, which will eventually cover it with forest growth, as was originally the case when the country was settled, and restore it to the condition in which all the islands of Boston harbor should be. Had they been kept so for the past two centuries, the forces of erosion would not have succeeded in practically sweeping some of them from the face of the earth, and destroying the contour of all." Over one hundred years later, the island contains several remarkable trees, including oak, maple, cedar, and birch. Most notable is an enormous oak in the center of the island that has become part of a camping area. The abundant shrubs described by Bouve in 1893 have likely been eliminated by these large shade trees. Groupings of huckleberry and viburnum appear to have self seeded and are mixed with greenbriar, dewberry, sumac, and poison ivy. Several grassy areas under large trees appear to be popular camping spots.
Survey in progress.
Masses of Roxbury Puddingstone conglomerate rise from the shoreline to a high point of 40 feet, creating a dramatic viewpoint and steep cliffs on the northern shore. Steep ledges surround most of the island several small sandy beaches and a tidal mudflat on the east side. The center of the island contains glacial till that supports tree and shrub cover.
No constructed water features visible.
Views and Vistas
From the forty-foot cliff on the northern side of the island, one can see Boston, Peddocks, and Bumpkin. Views from other points on Langlee are of the surrounding islands and mainland areas including Ragged and Sarah Islands, Worlds End and Hingham Harbor.
Did You Know?
On September 1, 1905, Elliot Hadley lit the most powerful light in Massachusetts at the top of Graves Lighthouse, now in Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. The first-order Fresnel lens aided in navigation and allowed for safe passage into Boston Harbor. More...