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Cover photo by Doc Searls via Flickr
Lovells is a popular island for camping, hiking, and swimming. The 62-acre island has campsites, a picnic area, hiking trails, and an unguarded beach to swim at during the season. Be sure to explore the ruins of Fort Standish, which was heavily used during World Wars I and II. What remains is covered in an overgrowth of plant life, adding to the eerie nature of the site. During low tide, the island doubles in size.
Many shipwrecks happened near Lovells, but two are legendary.
The French Magnifique was quite a ship. At 170 feet long, she entered Boston Harbor on August 15, 1782, with 74 guns and a 750-man crew. The first-class vessel was pushed onto the shoals by unexpected winds, and by the time the next high tide came in, the ship had taken on too much water. Sailors rushed to save the cannons, leaving the gold coins on board. For years, treasure seekers have looked for the rumored gold coins in Boston Harbor, but none have been found.
Four years after the loss of the Magnifique, Lovells Island witnessed another tragic shipwreck. In December of 1786, a ship from Maine found itself caught in a winter storm and crashed on Lovells Island. All 13 passengers and crew members managed to make it to the island and take shelter near a large rock. However, the storm was far from over. Temperatures dropped well below freezing, and none of the 13 survived the night. Fisherman Thomas Spear discovered the bodies under a fresh coat of snow the next morning. Among them were two lovers frozen in an embrace next to the rock. Today, the rock is still referred to as Lover's Rock.
Over the years, Lovells Island has been used for many purposes. Among these are farming, fishing, home to the Boston Lightkeeper, home to two lighthouses of its own, as a quarantine for ill people, and as a rabbit run. Its long and storied history makes it an even more interesting place to visit today.