We had been trying to visit the Boston Harbor islands for years, but had missed the chance each year for any number of reasons. We finally set aside the time in 2016 on a summer day to visit Spectacle island and Georges island. We parked at the Aquarium parking garage, and took the Boston Harbor Cruise ferry to the first stop at Spectacle island.
Spectacle island has short, but strange, history. In 1718 it was chosen as the location for the official quarantine hospital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. After the hospital closed in 1738, the island was used for hotels, then a horse rendering plant, then a trash incinerator. When the incinerator closed, trash was simply dumped onto the island. The accumulated garbage was stacked 80 feet high, and added 5 acres of land to the island. When Boston’s Big Dig began, much of the excavated dirt was used to cover and reform the island into a recreational area.
We boarded the next ferry to Georges Island, known for Fort Warren, a civil war era fortress. The fort was built from 1833 – 1861, but its defenses were virtually obsolete by the time it was completed due to rapid developments in military technology. Now, one can walk the grounds and many of the rooms. Much of the remainder of the fortress is in the slow process of crumbling to the ground.