Island Facts: Ragged Island
This little island is enjoyed by many for quiet reflection.
The island was used seasonally by Native Americans. Colonists probably removed trees for firewood. The island was occupied in the late 1600s by a local tradesman, John Langlee and his family. In the late 1800s, the island was developed as part of a summer resort. Of the four islands in Hingham Harbor it was the most built upon, once hosting a restaurant and rustic observation shelters. Evidence of structures and possibly a well remain visible.
Agency Designation: Park lands
Visitor Facilities & Services
Natural History Overview
An 1893 account The History of Hingham describes the vegetation on the island as "a very picturesque mass of rock, and the scarlet and yellow of the sumacs, and other wild shrubs, form a fiery contrast to the deep olive green of the savins here and there among the ledges. At half-tide, the rusty underwater coloring of the rocks of these islands, supplemented by the dark, yellowish-russet tints of the rockweed, which only grows submerged on the ledges, is very interesting in an artistic point of view." Today Ragged has an interesting mix of cultivated and naturalized plants. Drifts of Lily-of-thevalley and daylilies grow under large trees including a row of silver maples, red maple, Norway maple, cedars, and a Norway spruce. A grove of lindens grows near the center of the island. An enormous maple suitable for climbing stands nearby. Exploration of the island is hampered by greenbriar and poison ivy.
Survey in progress.
Masses of Roxbury Puddingstone conglomerate rise from the shoreline to a height of 30 feet. Broken ledges surround most of the island with small gravel beaches on the southeast and northwest sides with small tidal mudflats. The soil in the center of the island supports tree and shrub cover.
A pipe in the ground below an enormous Norway spruce may be a well head. Further research is required.
Views and Vistas
From the ledges bounding the island, one can see Boston, Peddocks, and Bumpkin, Langlee, Sarah and Button 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...