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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Boston Harbor Islands

July 26, 2013 6:00 AM

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Lovell's Island (Photo By Boston Harbor Islands/ Paul Treseler/Facebook)

Lovell’s Island (Photo By Boston Harbor Islands/ Paul Treseler/Facebook)

The Boston Harbor Islands are a great spot to visit on a beautiful summer day. Whether it’s exploring the old forts or enjoying a picnic beachside, there’s plenty to do there. But here are some things you didn’t know about the islands.
Spectacle Island (credit: The Boston Harbor Association)

Spectacle Island (credit: The Boston Harbor Association)

1. A Summer Home

Before European settlers made their way over to North America, the Boston Harbor Islands were occupied by Native Americans. Studies show evidence that Native Americans fished and lived on the islands from early spring to late autumn. They also used to island as a place to manufacture tools and hold social and ceremonial activities. Even after the English settlers arrived, the Native Americans considered the Boston Harbor Islands their home, until they were eventually forced out.

(Credit: Boston Harbor Islands National Park/Facebook)

(Credit: Boston Harbor Islands National Park/Facebook)

2. Protected Species

The Boston Harbor Islands are home for several rare and protected species. The Massachusetts Natural Heritage Program lists six rare species that are known to live on the islands. Of these six species, two are are listed as threatened and four are listed as of special concern. They include two birds- the barn owl, and the Northern harrier- and two plants- sea beach dock and American sea blite.

3. Ghost Tales

Some of the forts and structures on different Boston Harbor Islands have been around for more than 150 years, and with that comes a few ghost stories. George’s Island holds the tale of the Lady in Black, a woman who supposedly dressed as a male soldier and broke into the island’s prison in an attempt to rescue her husband, a Confederate soldier who was being held there. The story goes that she was captured and sentenced to be hanged. Her final request was to die in female clothing. She was given a black robe, an outfit her ghost is seen wearing around the island. Another tale comes from Castle Island (which is no longer an island) and served as the inspiration for short story by a famous author. The tale spoke of a man who was buried alive in the fort’s dungeons. The legend inspired a young soldier named Edgar Allen Poe, to later write the short story “The Cask of Amontillado.”

Lovell's Island (Photo By Boston Harbor Islands/ Paul Treseler/Facebook)

Lovell’s Island (Photo By Boston Harbor Islands/ Paul Treseler/Facebook)

4. Shipwreck

One of the Boston Harbor Islands, Lovell’s Island, is a popular site for camping and hiking trips during the summer. But it also has some rich history. Lovell’s Island is the site of several shipwrecks, including the 74-gun French warship, Magnifique, a ship rumored to have been carrying long-lost treasure.

 (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)


5. Film Set

Peddocks Island is a great getaway in the summer from Hull or Hingham, or accessible by ferry from George’s Island, but you may not have know that it was the site of a star studded movie just a few years ago. Peddocks Island was used in the filming of Director Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island,” a mystery/thriller that starred Leonardo DiCaprio.

Bobby Driscoll is a student at Franklin Pierce University. He is currently interning at CBS Boston for the Summer of 2013.

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