Boston Harbor "Shutter Island" Under Construction

Posted Feb 20th 2011 12:00 PMUpdated Feb 21st 2011 10:12 AM

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boston harbor shutter island

Doc Searls, Flickr

Peddocks Island off Boston, best known in recent years as a setting for Martin Scorsese's 2010 movie "Shutter Island," is getting a $7.8 makeover to make it more visitor-friendly.

Peddocks is one of 34 islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National Park. The islands got a publicity boost from the film, which featured actor Leonardo DiCaprio as a U.S. Marshal investigating a psychiatric facility located on a Boston Harbor island.

Many of the islands are accessible by ferry and open to tourists for activities ranging from camping to hiking to swimming to visiting historic buildings.

One of the largest islands in the park, with 184 acres, Peddocks Island has been a home to American Indians, militiamen, prisoners of war, farmers and summer vacationers. Fort Andrews was in service from the early 1900s through World War II. In 1776, 600 patriot militiamen were stationed on the island to guard the harbor against the return of British troops, according to the park service.

Today, there are more than two dozen structures around the fort, including guardhouses, prisoner-of-war barracks, stables, a gymnasium and a firehouse, but many are in sad, even dangerous, condition. The Boston Globe likens the area to a ghost town.

The Boston Harbor Island Alliance and the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, working with the Massachusetts Historical Commission and other preservationists, came up with a plan to preserve parts of the area, reports the Boston Globe.

The project entails demolishing 11 buildings and stabilizing 11 others; a white clapboard chapel, two guardhouses, and a stable will be rehabilitated. Demolition is expected to begin March 1, the Globe reports.

Tom Powers of the Boston Harbor Island Alliance tells the newspaper the immediate goal is to preserve salvageable structures such as the quartermaster's building for future use, which he said could make an exceptional inn.

The campground, slated to open this summer, will have 10 individual sites and a large area for a group. Next year, six yurts, permanent tent-like structures, should be available, says the news outlet.

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