Island Facts: Thompson Island
This island of diverse habitats is home to Outward Bound education center.
The island is home to Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, a non-profit organization that puts people in fun but challenging situations in order to help them develop teamwork, compassion and self-confidence. Activities include sailing, climbing, leadership training and environmental exploration.
The island's services include: summertime expeditions for youths ages 12-17; leadership, environmental education and summer learning programs for youth groups; and corporate teambuilding with Outward Bound Professional. Thompson Island Signature Events and Conference Center also offers catered clambakes, company outings, parties, weddings and meetings.
The island's natural features include a drumlin and a moraine; oak, tamarack, maple, and birch trees; open fields, wild flowers, and berry bushes; and 50 acres of salt marshes. It is home to many animals, including egrets, herons, peregrine falcons and hermit crabs.
Previously inhabited by Native Americans, David Thompson establishes a trading post on the island in 1626. During the next two centuries, ownership of the island changes several times but is used primarily for grazing livestock. In 1833 the Boston Farm School is established on Thompson Island and merges with the Boston Asylum for Boys two years later. Renamed the Boston Farm and Trade School in 1907, its vocational and farming emphasis remained until the middle of the 20th century when it was renamed Thompson Academy. In 1988, Outward Bound partnered to operate the island, creating a new entity - Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center. The island continues its mission to serve the underserved youth of Greater Boston with programs that instill teamwork, self-confidence and compassion, and encourage learning by doing.
Visitor Facilities & Services
Natural History Overview
The island is a mix of hardwood tree stands, remnant pear and apple orchards, ornamental trees and shrubs, open meadows, shrubby areas of successional growth, sumac groves, salt marsh grasses, and manicured lawns, including a soccer field.
Survey in progress.
The island’s highest drumlin rises to an elevation of 78 feet on the northeastern half of the island, where the school complex is located. The remainder of the island is composed of low rolling hills dissected by a wetland and salt marsh. At low tide, a sandspit and mudflats on the south side of the island almost connect with Squantum.
Further study required.
Views and Vistas
Views to Dorchester, Downtown Boston, South Boston, Quincy (Squantum), and Long, Moon, Spectacle, and Castle Islands.
Public tours are provided on summer weekends and at other times by arrangement.
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...