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Rainsford Island Discovery
Rainsford Island via Rowes Wharf Water Transport, Boston
Boston, MA
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Rainsford Island Discovery
You may explore on your own or take a guided walk with Elizabeth Carella, a photo historian whose knowledge of Rainsford is unsurpassed.

Rainsford Island is a 50-foot drumlin, natural coves facing south and southwest, separated by rock outcropping Pebbles and rock beach, shell deposits. In about 1636, Edward Rainsford was granted the island for farm use. In 1737, a quarantine hospital was moved to Rainsford Island from Spectacle Island and operated there until 1852. During this time, Rainsford Island was a popular summer resort.

In 1832 a small-pox hospital was built (a stone Greek-temple design), and many victims of infectious diseases were buried on the island in. In about 1852, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts took possession of the island and established an almshouse. The state abandoned the site in about 1866, and the City converted the island into a poorhouse. Civil War Veterans lived  there until 1882, when they were transferred to a Soldiers Home on the mainland. Beginning in 1882, female paupers were sent to Rainsford. Later it was a facility for boys: the Suffolk School for Boys. In 1920, the school was closed. Now only foundation holes remain visible. (from the City of Boston)

Further details:

Departs Rowes Wharf Water Transport, 60 Rowes Wharf  Boston, MA 02110.  
No refunds, trip canceled only by the captain in case of inclement weather.  Bring a picnic; there is no food sold on the island or the boat.  There are no public facilities (rest rooms)on the island.  The trip is a moderate activity level and stability is necessary for the boat's beach landing; a short 4 step ladder is attached to the bow of the bow.  The island has rocky/uneven paths and walking areas.  Bring an extra pair of shoes in case your feet get wet departing the vessel.

To learn more about Rainsford Island visit:


Rainsford Island via Rowes Wharf Water Transport, Boston (View)
60 Rowes Wharf
Boston, MA 02110
United States


Education > Tours

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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