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Farmers, Fishers, and Facility Keepers Life on the Boston Harbor Islands.

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Presentation on theme: "Farmers, Fishers, and Facility Keepers Life on the Boston Harbor Islands."— Presentation transcript:

1 Farmers, Fishers, and Facility Keepers Life on the Boston Harbor Islands

2 Archeological evidence shows that Native Americans lived on and used the Boston Harbor Islands for at least 8000 years

3 These First People came to the harbor islands to: Fish Plant crops of corn, beans, and squash Gather plants for food and medicine Hunt for animals and fowl Make Tools Social and Ceremonial Activities

4 Throughout the 17 th Century, Europeans began to explore the Boston Harbor The Native Americans way of life did not fit with the American Colonist way of life In 1675 a war between the American colonists and the Native Americans broke out This war became known as the King Phillips war and resulted in the death and enslavement of many Native Americans During the King Phillips War, Native Americans friendly to the colonists were forced into shackles and moved to the Boston Harbor Islands with very little food, water, clothing, and shelter

5 When the European Colonists began to make the Boston area their home they used the islands to graze livestock, grow hay, hunt, and fish… In much the same way the Native Americans had. However, over time the number of colonists grew and their use of the islands began to change… Boston Harbor became an important commercial port, more ships began to bring goods and people into the area.

6 With all this new activity the islands began to play an important role in the safety of Boston, as a place for… Forts to protect the city and ships Aids to Navigation (Lighthouses) Lifesaving stations

7 Boston Light Station is completed in 1716, becoming the first Light Station in America George Worthylake, and his family, move to Little Brewster Island to become the first Light Keeper of Boston Light

8 As Boston grew and the population increased the islands were used to house quarantine hospitals for immigrants and people with incurable diseases. Gallops Island Doctors Quarters Rainsford Island mid 1800s

9 Bug Light – Great Brewster Spit Long Island Light Spectacle Island Range Lights More ships in Boston Harbor meant an increase in the Light houses of Boston, and an increase in the number of Light house Keepers. Keeper’s House at Lovell’s Island Range Lights Keeper’s House at Spectacle Island Range Lights

10 In the early 1800s Boston’s Harbor Defenses were updated and increased. Fort Warren on George’s Island was built from Fort Warren was active from the Civil War through World War II During the Civil War, Fort Warren was home to Union Soldiers and Confederate Prisoners of War

11 Once the Civil War Ended Boston Harbor was once again a place for people to get away from life in the city. During times of peace, hotels were operated on many of the islands. The Island Inn, Peddocks Island Different classes and cultures of people made their home on the Boston Harbor Islands A Farmhouse on Grape Island Portuguese Fishermen on: Summer Residents on Middle Brewster and Calf Islands Great Brewster Islandand Peddocks Island

12 Beginning in 1898, on the East Head of Peddocks Island, the US Army built a new Coastal Defense Fort called Fort Andrews Fort Andrews was to become the social center of military life for all of the Harbor Island Forts, in addition to military training facilities, gun emplacements, and barracks, Fort Andrews was home to many dances, baseball games, and a movie theatre. Only families of the highest ranking Commissioned Officers were allowed to live on the forts of the Boston Harbor Islands… Except at Fort Andrews where certain lower ranking Non- Commissioned Officers (NCOs) were allowed to own homes inside the fort and live with their families. One of these NCOs was Matilda Silvia’s father, Alex Bies. Matilda Silvia recorded her life on Peddocks Island in her memoirs, Once Upon an Island

13 During this time, Peddocks was not the only island that had year round and seasonal residents Another Island that did was Spectacle Island Peddocks Island Spectacle Island

14 In 1857, Spectacle began being used for horse rendering to turn dead horses into glue… the factory workers and their families lived on the island. The Horse Rendering plant closed in 1910, but two years later the City of Boston turned Spectacle Island into the city dump. Again the workers and their families lived on the island… The dump remained in operation until 1959

15 On the opposite side of the island from the dump, residents lived in comfort. In 1937, the Snetind drifted onto the shore of Spectacle Island and became the home of Ms. Ann Winsor Sherwin and her son

16 In 1968, the US Coast Guard began fully automating all lighthouses. Fully automated lighthouses did not need light keepers… Graves Light In 1989, as a tribute to light keepers and American maritime history, the US congress declares that Boston Light will remain “forever manned.” This makes Boston Light the last manned lighthouse in the country. Deer Island Light

17 After WWII many of the Forts in Boston Harbor were decommissioned and sold as Army surplus. Some, such as Fort Andrews were sold to private developers while others, such as Fort Warren were sold to the State. With the sale of Fort Warren to the State, Georges Island became the first state managed island open to the public in In the 1970s, the State began to purchase the islands of Boston Harbor for public use and recreation. The Boston Harbor Islands became a national park area in 1996.

18 Year Round and Seasonal Residents remain on Peddocks… And Park Rangers live on the islands during the summer months… The forts have all closed, most light keepers have gone, the farmers have left, and the Native Americans no longer live off the islands… But life does remain on the Boston Harbor Islands Boston Light still has a Keeper… Thompson Island Outward Bound employees live on the island… As Public Land the Boston Harbor Islands are owned by all citizens

19 What do you think life on the islands will look like when you have kids in middle school?


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