• 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

Gallops Island During Civil War

Gallops Island was the site of a training camp and a mustering out camp (for discharging soldiers from service) for Union soldiers. The most famous regiment discharged from Gallops Island was the Fifty-Fourth Regiment Massachusetts Infantry, the African-American regiment led by white abolitionist Colonel Robert Gould Shaw whose soldiers included two sons of the black abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

The story of the Fifty-Fourth and its heroic assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina, on July 18, 1863, has been dramatically portrayed in the movie “Glory.” The discharge of Civil War soldiers is described in African Americans and the Boston Harbor Islands.

Did You Know?

View from Spectacle Island

Spectacle Island has had one of the most colorful histories of all of the Boston Harbor Islands. Once used as a dumping ground for the city of Boston, Spectacle Island now stands as a symbol of "renewal and reconnection" with over five miles of hiking trails and a solar-assisted visitor center. More...