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Boston Harbor Islands, A national park area Click to enlarge Click to enlarge

Georges Island Facts

Explore the Civil War-era Fort Warren, enjoy a picnic lunch, or relax under a shady tree.
Managing Agency
Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR)
Agency Designation
Harbor Islands Reservation
Current Use
Park purposes.
Harbor Location
Quincy Bay

Longitude
Latitude

42° 19' 05.2" North  (Approximate center of island.)
70° 55' 43.2" West
From Long Wharf
7.33 miles
On-island Circulation
A 1700-foot path connects picnic areas (dock and Visitor's Center located midway); 300-foot path connects the north picnic area to fort; 1100-foot path spur connects Visitor Center to ravelin
VISITOR SERVICES & FACILITIES
Hours
9:00 am - sunset.
Piers/Docks
Yes
Visitor Season
0
Boat slips
10
Visitor Staff
Yes
Moorings
0
Guided Tours
Yes
Park Boats
Park ferry, park shuttle boat.
Lifeguards
No
Car Access
No
Toilets
flush - Yes
composting - Yes
Campsites
0 (capacity ea.: 0)
Picnic Areas
Cooking Grills
Yes
Yes
Group Campsites
0 (capacity ea: 0)
Refreshments
Yes
Camping Capacity
0
Drinking Water
Yes
Trails
Yes
Visitor Cautions
The fort contains many steep drop-offs, most of which are protected with safety rails and fencing, and some dark corridors. Children should be supervised when visitng the fort.
GENERAL INFORMATION
Total Acreage
53
39.14  upland acres
13.76  intertidal acres
Highest Elevation
50 ft.
Short History
At the time of Euro-American colonization, George's Island was comprised of two drumlins, rising out of the bay like other nearby islands. The island sustained agricultural use for two hundred years until 1825 when the US 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, the fort’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 MDC for historic preservation and recreation in 1958.
Vegetation
The island has an intensive grounds maintenance program. Most of the island is mowed as turf. Steep slopes not mowed are colonized by tall grasses, wildflowers and sumac. Horsechestnut, elm and maple trees inside the fort are approximately 100 years old. Additional horsechestnut trees were planted by the MDC and are easily discernable. The island contains many apple trees, some planted and some self-sown. Pine and maple trees planted by the MDC in picnic areas offer wind and sun protection. Planters filled with annuals and perennials, installed by the MDC, are raised so not to disturb archeological resources.
Wildlife
Overview survey in progress.
Geology
Prior to 1833 the island consisted of two drumlins with elevations of 48 and 64 feet, similar to the topography of the east head of Peddocks Island. The fort was tucked in between the two drumlins and the island substantially regraded. The current highpoint of 50 feet exists at the top of the fort’s ramparts.
Water Features
Historically the island relied on cisterns for fresh water. The cistern is still visible on the parade ground near Bastion A. Fresh water is now supplied by a pipe from the mainland.
Views and Vistas
Located in the center of the harbor, the island offers excellent views to the surrounding islands and Boston Light, particularly from the ramparts and the siting towers: downtown Boston, Hull, Islands: The Brewsters, Deer, Gallop's, Long, Lovell's, Peddock's, Rainsford
Buildings
Fort Warren; granite powder magazine in parade ground; ravelin; searchlight station; generator building; small brick electrical communications building; mine storage building (now park offices, maintenance, staff dormitory, public restrooms & concessions); mine cable building foundation (next to mine storage building); fuel storage shed near pier.
Fortifications
Fort Warren: Fronts I–V, Bastions A-E, Battery Jack Adams (one 10" gun), Battery Bartlett (four 10" guns), Battery Stevenson (two 12" guns), two range towers on Front II, ravelin and searchlight station; Demilune; guard house.
Other Structures
Cistern; tunnel to sallyport; walkways and steps to former hospital building (in picnic area on western side of island); pier; seawall.
Comments
Fort Warren is a National Historic Landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
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