• 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: Middle Brewster Island

This rugged Island, once home to a colony of fishermen, now is a haven for wildlife.


 

Short History
Fishermen constructed huts on the island in the mid-1800s. A few affluent Bostonians chose Middle Brewster as a retreat during the Guilded Age of the late 1800s. Wartime use during the early 1900s ended recreational use of the island. The island is difficult to access and serves primarily as a nesting site for gulls and cormorants. Interesting vestiges of the summer homes remain including fireplaces, stone walls, and a stone arch that formerly supported a bell.

 

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

Agency Designation: Harbor Islands Reservation
Current Use: Park purposes
Harbor Location: Outer Harbor
Acreage: 13.60 upland acres
Highest elevation: 52 feet
Longitude: 42° 20' 23.8" North
Latitude: 70° 53' 22.1" West
Miles from Long Wharf: 9.33
 
Visitor Facilities & Services
Access to Middle Brewster is discouraged. There is no docking—boaters must anchor off shore.
Hours:
Access discouraged
Piers/Docks:
No
Visitor season:
0
Boat slips:
0
Visitor staff:
No
Moorings:
0
Guided tours:
No
Park boats:
None
Lifeguards:
No
Car access:
No
Flush toilets:
No
Campsites:
0 (capacity ea: 0)
Composting toilets:
No
Group campsites:
0 (capacity ea: 0)
Picnic areas:
No
Camping capacity:
0
Refreshments:
No
Cooking grills:
0
Drinking water:
No
Walking trails:
No
On-island Circulation: Unimproved trails.
Visitor Cautions: The rocky island, bounded by sharp cliffs and sunken crags, is difficult to access due to the lack of beaches and inlets. Birds are aggressive during nesting season; visitation is discouraged at that time.
 
Natural History Overview
Vegetation
The island is sparsely covered with small trees, sumac, and grasses. Further research is needed to determine whether cultivated plants remain from occupation during the nineteenth century.

Wildlife
Survey in progress.

Geology
Composed of rocky outcrops, the island rises to an elevation of 52 feet. Between Middle and Outer Brewster the channel is known as the "Flying Place" because of the intense wave action during northeast storms.

Water Features
No constructed water features likely. A small freshwater marsh exists on the eastern side.
Views and Vistas

From the inner harbor, the island is obscured by Great Brewster and Calf Islands. On the island there are excellent views of the surrounding outer harbor islands, The Graves, and Hull, and partial views of the Boston skyline.
 
Structures
Buildings
  • Ruins of stone arch and walls.
Fortifications
  • None
Other Structures
  • None

Did You Know?

Aerial View of a Glacial Drumlin in Boston Harbor

Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is one of the very few places in the world where sea drumlins, glacially-formed mounds, may be found. They were formed by retreating glaciers about 15,000 years ago. More...