Island Facts: Peddocks Island
This large island features military ruins, varied habitats, scenic hiking trails, and overnight camping.
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 is another known name for Peddocks Island:
At 184 acres, Peddocks is one of the largest, most diverse islands in the harbor. With the longest shoreline of any harbor island, Peddocks is composed of four headlands, connected by sand or gravel bars called tombolos. Total acreage at low tide is 288.
Peddocks features a new pier and hiking trails that pass a marsh, a pond and coastal forests. These varied environments allow visitors to experience a wide range of natural beauty. Since the mid-1990s renewable energy has been highlighted with photovoltaic installations on the island.
Used by farmers since 1634, Peddocks Island's proximity to the mainland ensured its prominent military role. Said to be the site of a patriot infantrymen's raid on a Loyalist farm, Peddocks also saw over 600 patriot militiamen stationed on the island in 1776, to guard the harbor against the return of British troops. Home to Fort Andrews and active in harbor defense from 1904 to the end of World War II, 26 structures remain, including guardhouses, prisoner-of-war barracks, stables, a gymnasium and a firehouse. It is also one of the many harbor islands used by American Indians prior to settlement by Europeans.
Agency Designation: Harbor Islands Reservation
Visitor Facilities & Services
On-island Circulation: A network of asphalt roads circulate through Fort Andrews on East Head including an 800-foot road from pier to Fort Andrews; 4,150-foot loop road through Fort Andrews; and a 2,000-foot road along Officer's Row. An 2650- foot asphalt road and unimproved path extends between the pier and Middle Head. A 2,600-foot path crosses Middle Head with two sections of paths extending 5,800 feet around the cottages. A rough 3,100-foot path extends from the Middle Head cottages to West Head. A path traverses West Head to the wetland at the western end.
Natural History Overview
A vegetation inventory done in 1981 is contained within the Peddocks Island Building Study. Predominant species include Norway Maple, Apple, Beach plum, Birch, Meadow, Oak, Pine, Poplars, Sumac, Wild roses and poison ivy.
Wildlife survey in progress.
Constructed water features include cisterns, wells, and Fort Andrews reservoir. Fresh water marsh on southern end of island, between West and Prince Heads.
Views and Vistas
Boston Light, Downtown Boston, Hull, and surrounding islands.
Did You Know?
Scientists have recently identified a beach-dwelling ground beetle at Boston Harbor Islands that has not been seen in North America for over 100 years. It is believed the beetle, Bembmidion nigropiceum, was brought to Boston from Europe in the 1800s via ship ballasts.