Island Facts: Long Island
This large island is home to City of Boston social service facilities and Long Island Head Light.
Agency Designation: Public Health Commission campus; Long Island Head Light
Visitor Facilities & Services
Public access to Long Island is restricted.
Natural History Overview
Long Island contains an abundance of cultivated and naturalized plant species that merit a more detailed study as part of a Cultural Landscape Report for the island. The oldest trees are located within the Long Island Campus including shade trees and remnants of an apple orchard. There are also many ornamental shrubs and perennials. Long Island Head was devoid of woody vegetation until the closure of Fort Strong and is now undergoing rapid succession with species such as sumac and poplar. The East Head of the island contains an extensive grove of pine, most likely planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The freshwater wetland on the southwest side of the island is likely to contain a diversity of plant species. A community garden within the Long Island Campus and the nursery for the Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands Revegetation Project also contribute to the botanical diversity on the island.
Survey in progress.
The island is composed of three drumlins, reaching an elevation of 95 feet. The northeastern point is known as Long Island Head, the southwestern end as West Head, and a small point on the southeastern side as Bass Point. A fresh water marsh is located on the west side of island between Bass Point and West Head. Extensive tidal flats surround the island.
An enormous water tower on the central drumlin in the Long Island Campus supplies water and water pressure for hydrants. The checkered red and white pattern on the tower is used by the FAA for navigation into Logan Airport. The location of Fort Strong water systems requires further research.
Views and Vistas
Geographically situated in the center of the harbor, Long Island with its checkered water tower, bridge and lighthouse are visible from many points. Conversely the island offers excellent views of most of the islands in the middle and outer harbor.
Long Island Head Light is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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 Little Brewster Island:
Did You Know?
Constructed in 1716, Boston Light on Little Brewster Island is the oldest lighthouse site in the country. British forces burned down the original lighthouse when they fled Boston in 1776. It was rebuilt in 1783 and is now open for visitors to Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. More...