Nixes Mate

a white and black striped beacon that looks like a large traffic cone stands atop a brick base on a small island outcrop

NPS Photo/ Jobe

Pirate lore surrounds this black and white marker which has guided boat traffic for a century.

 

General Information

This island of Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park is managed by U.S. Coast Guard, First District.

 

Visitor Facilities & Services

Nixes Mate is not open to the public. There is no docking. Boaters must anchor offshore.

Hours:
Not open to the public
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:
0
Drinking water:
No
Walking trails:
No

On-island Circulation: None.

 

Short History

Material was quarried from the island to be used as ballast for ships during the 1600s and slate was quarried in the 1700s. In 1636, it was granted to John Gallop, a harbor pilot who resided on Gallops Island and grazed his sheep on the then 12-acre "Nixes Island." In the early 1700s, the body of an executed criminal, pirate William Fly, was chained to the island, and two other pirates were buried here. At the time, the island was called "Nick’s Mate" (1726). The Boston Marine Society erected the pyramid beacon perched on granite base in 1805. Date of current wooden pyramid is unknown. (Further research is currently being conducted.)

Nixes Mate daymarker is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. To search for other listings on the National Register, please visit the National Register's inventory database.

 

Natural History Overview

Vegetation

Subaquatic vegetation.

Wildlife

Survey in progress.

Geology

The beacon stands approximately 20 feet high. At low tide the beacon is surrounded by rocky flats and a sandspit to the south.

Water Features

No constructed water features.

Views and Vistas

The striped black and white beacon is visible from most points in the harbor.

 

Structures

Last updated: November 25, 2022

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

15 State Street
4th Floor

Boston , MA 02109

Phone:

617 223-8666

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