Island Facts: Spectacle Island
Spectacle Island offers several miles of hiking, a visitor center with exhibits, and a swimming beach.
Spectacle Island (105 acres) features a marina, visitor center, cafe, a life-guarded swimming beach, and five miles of walking trails that lead to the crest of a 157 foot-high hill, offering panoramic views of the harbor and the city. Supervised swimming is offered daily from June 23 to Labor Day.
Spectacle Island has a varied history that included farming, a quarantine hospital, a glue factory, resort hotels and a garbage dump. The island was recently the receiving ground for excavated material from the Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel Project. The site is being returned to the public for recreation as a park is constructed over the landfill.
Visitor Facilities & Services
Natural History Overview
Newly planted deciduous and conifer trees, and meadow grasses.
Survey in progress.
The island was initially composed of two small drumlins connected by a spit. Beginning in the 1920s, deposition of the city's garbage expanded the size and the island by 36 acres. The island is now two technological earth mounds, terraced with retaining walls, roads and vegetation.
Views and Vistas
Spectacle is the highest point in the harbor, with spectacular views of the city and other islands.
Did You Know?
In the 1800s, when the Great Famine drove a million or more Irish citizens to immigrate to the United States, Deer Island was the landing point for thousands of refugees, many sick and poverty-stricken, hoping to reach the Port of Boston. More...