Peddocks Island

This large island features military ruins, varied habitats, scenic hiking trails, and overnight camping.

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 is another known name for Peddocks Island:
  • Puttock Island
At 184 acres, Peddocks is one of the largest, most diverse islands in the harbor. With the longest shoreline of any harbor island, Peddocks is composed of four headlands, connected by sand or gravel bars called tombolos. Total acreage at low tide is 288.

Peddocks features a new pier and hiking trails that pass a marsh, a pond and coastal forests. These varied environments allow visitors to experience a wide range of natural beauty. Since the mid-1990s renewable energy has been highlighted with photovoltaic installations on the island.
Short History
Used by farmers since 1634, Peddocks Island's proximity to the mainland ensured its prominent military role. Said to be the site of a patriot infantrymen's raid on a Loyalist farm, Peddocks also saw over 600 patriot militiamen stationed on the island in 1776, to guard the harbor against the return of British troops. Home to Fort Andrews and active in harbor defense from 1904 to the end of World War II, 26 structures remain, including guardhouses, prisoner-of-war barracks, stables, a gymnasium and a firehouse. It is also one of the many harbor islands used by American Indians prior to settlement by Europeans.

General Information
This island of Boston Harbor Islands national park area is managed by Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

Agency Designation: Harbor Islands Reservation
Current Use: Park purposes
Harbor Location: Outer Harbor
Acreage: 210.40 upland acres
Highest elevation: 80 feet
Longitude: 42° 17' 32.6" North
Latitude: 70° 56' 21.6" West
Miles from Long Wharf: 7.8
Visitor Facilities & Services
9:00 am to sunset
Visitor season:
Boat slips:
Visitor staff:
Guided tours:
Park boats:
Park shuttle boat
Car access:
Flush toilets:
6 (capacity ea: 4)
Composting toilets:
Group campsites:
1 (capacity ea: 30)
Picnic areas:
Camping capacity:
Cooking grills:
Drinking water:
Walking trails:
On-island Circulation: A network of asphalt roads circulate through Fort Andrews on East Head including an 800-foot road from pier to Fort Andrews; 4,150-foot loop road through Fort Andrews; and a 2,000-foot road along Officer's Row. An 2650- foot asphalt road and unimproved path extends between the pier and Middle Head. A 2,600-foot path crosses Middle Head with two sections of paths extending 5,800 feet around the cottages. A rough 3,100-foot path extends from the Middle Head cottages to West Head. A path traverses West Head to the wetland at the western end.

Visitor Cautions:
MOST BUILDINGS ARE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC: Those associated with Fort Andrews and vacant cottages are not open to the public due to unsafe floors and ongoing construction. Other cottages are private residences. There is an abundance of poison ivy.
Natural History Overview
A vegetation inventory done in 1981 is contained within the Peddocks Island Building Study. Predominant species include Norway Maple, Apple, Beach plum, Birch, Meadow, Oak, Pine, Poplars, Sumac, Wild roses and poison ivy.

Wildlife survey in progress.

Water Features
Constructed water features include cisterns, wells, and Fort Andrews reservoir. Fresh water marsh on southern end of island, between West and Prince Heads.

Views and Vistas
Boston Light, Downtown Boston, Hull, and surrounding islands.
  • See fortifications
  • Private Cottages:
    • Former caretaker's cottage and dock on south end of East Head.
    • Cottages associated with Fort Andrews and Portuguese Fisherman on west side of East Head (3 cottages and outbuildings)
    • Cottages on Middle Head (41 cottages and outbuildings)
    • Cottages on West Head (2 cottages and outbuildings)
  • Fort Andrews (numbers in parenthesis are from the Peddock's Island Building Study):
    • Pier with shelter
    • Clivus Multrum toilet by Old Guardhouse
    • Clivus Multrum toilet by Chapel
    • Electric Distribution shed (1)
    • Stable (4)
    • Old Guardhouse behind "New" Guardhouse (now has solar facilities) (7)
    • Bakery (8, 10, 11, 29*)
    • NCO Quarters (14*, 15, 27, 28, 34*, 35*)
    • Doctor's Quarters (16)
    • Hospital (17*)
    • Officers' Quarters (18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*)
    • Gymnasium (25)
    • Administration Building (26*)
    • Officers' Apartments (30*)
    • "New" Guardhouse by pier (31)
    • Firehouse (33)
    • Storehouse (36)
    • Chapel (39)
    • Battery Whitman
    • Battery James Rice
    • Battery Cushing
    • Battery Daniel McCook
    • Battery Edward Bumpus
    • "Base End" (or BC) Station Observation Tower
    • BC-CRF Station
    • Remnants of structures and reservoir on west drumlin of east head

    *Indicates that the building was removed in 2011.

  • Remaining numbered buildings (excluding Building 31) have been stabilized as of 2011.

Other Structures
  • New ferry pier with shade structure
  • Street lamps and fire hydrants, etc. in Fort Andrews
  • Gardens and beach stairs, etc. in cottage community

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

15 State Street
4th Floor

Boston , MA 02109


617 223-8666

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