• 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: Sarah Island

This island's ledges, beaches and mudflats make the ideal nesting place for gulls.


 
Short History
The island was likely used seasonally by Native Americans. Colonists probably removed trees for firewood. The island was also known as "Sailor's or Sayles's" Island prior to its purchase by John Langlee in 1686. Later it was purchased by John R. Brewer, passed to his children, and then given to the town of Hingham by a descendent.
 

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: 4.60 upland acres
Highest elevation: 30 feet
Longitude: 42° 15' 52.0" North
Latitude:
70° 53' 14.5" West
Miles from Long Wharf: 12
 
Visitor Facilities & Services
Hours:
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: Unimproved trails.

Visitor Cautions: Resident birds are very territorial during nesting: visitation is discouraged during this season.

 
Natural History Overview
Vegetation
An 1893 account "The History of Hingham" describes the vegetation on the island as "clothed with sumacs and other shrubs." The island now supports many mature trees including maples, oak, linden, elm, cedar, hackberry, black cherry, buckthorn, and sumac. Several dead trees serve as popular roosting spots for birds, one large tree is favored by cormorants while another is occupied by white egrets. Seagulls occupy every other tree, shrub, and ledge. Shrubs species are typical of other islands.

Wildlife
Survey in progress.

Geology
The island is composed of large outcroppings and ledges of Roxbury Puddingstone as well as glacial till that rises to an elevation of 30 feet. On the southern side ledges drop into the water, while the north side contains sections of sand beach, boulders, and mudflats with salt grass.

Water Features
None.

Views and Vistas
Views from Sarah are of the surrounding islands and mainland areas including Langlee, Ragged and Button Islands, Worlds End and Hingham Harbor.
 
Structures
Buildings
  • None
Fortifications
  • None
Other Structures
  • None
 
Alternate Names
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 Sarah Island:
  • Sailor's Island
  • Saylee's Island

Did You Know?

Airplane at Boston Logan Airport 1941

Boston Logan International Airport sits upon land that used to be four islands – Apple, Bird, Noodles and Governors Islands. Today, visitors travel past Boston’s Logan International Airport on their way to explore Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. More...