• 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: Ragged Island

This little island is enjoyed by many for quiet reflection.


 
Short History
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.
 

General Information
This island of Boston Harbor Islands national park area is managed by the Town of Hingham.

Agency Designation: Park lands
Current Use: Park purposes
Harbor Location: Hingham Bay
Acreage: 4.10 upland acres
Highest elevation: 30 feet
Longitude: 42° 15' 52.0" North
Latitude:
70° 53' 15.4" West
Miles from Long Wharf: 12
 
Visitor Facilities & Services
Hours:
9:00 am to Sunset
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:
No
Drinking water:
Yes
Walking trails:
No

On-island Circulation: There are no paths on the island and most areas are impenetrable due to poison ivy and brambles.

 
Natural History Overview
Vegetation
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.

Wildlife
Survey in progress.

Geology
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.

Water Features
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.
 
Structures
Buildings
  • None
Fortifications
  • None
Other Structures
  • Further research is required

Did You Know?

Boston's Long Wharf Today

Public ferries to Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area leave from Long Wharf, the oldest continuously used wharf in the United States. It was aptly named Long Wharf in 1710 as it stretched 1,586 feet into the port of Boston making it the longest wharf in America. More...