Georges Island (Massachusetts)

Georges Island (Massachusetts)

Georges Island is one of the islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, situated just over from downtown Boston. The island has a permanent size of 39 acres, plus an intertidal zone of a further 14 acres, and rises to a height of above sea level. Historic Fort Warren is located on the island. Because of this, and since a ferry operates from Boston to the island, it is a popular destination, and one of the easiest islands to access in the recreation area.

At the time of Euro-American colonization, Georges Island was composed of two drumlins, rising out of the bay like other nearby islands. The island was used for agriculture for two hundred years until 1825 when the U.S. Government acquired the island for coastal defense.

Over the next twenty years the island was dramatically altered and one of the country's finest forts was built. Dedicated in 1847, Fort Warren's defensive design was virtually obsolete upon completion. However the fort served as a training ground, patrol point, and Civil War prison that gained a favorable reputation for the humane treatment of its Confederate prisoners. After one hundred years of military use the fort was decommissioned in 1947 and acquired by the Metropolitan District Commission for historic preservation and recreation in 1958.

To this day, within the fort's dark corridors, the legend lives on of "The Lady in Black," the ghost of a Confederate prisoner's wife who is said to have been sentenced to death for aiding in an escape and hanged in a black robe made from the fort's mess hall drapes.

The island also has fields for recreational use, a small vendor which sells food, and a dock available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. It is served throughout the summer and early fall by ferries to from Boston and Quincy, and on weekends and summer weekdays by a shuttle boat to and from the other surrounding islands.

Today the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation owns and staffs the island. Rangers patrol and give interpretive tours to the public, the island is open to the public May through October. George's island acts as a transportation hub, as inter-island ferries will run from George's to other islands within the park. State laws prohibit alcohol, firearms and fireworks from the island. Also, the island has a strict carry on - carry off policy for trash; there are no trash cans on the island.


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