Boston’s Trash Island

Spectacle Island was never a place to take the kids. The island, located in Boston Harbor, became a landfill site in 1912 as the rapidly growing city of Boston began dumping its trash there. Over time, the dump grew in size and became a post-apocalyptic nightmare of broken glass, twisted metal, and spontaneously erupting methane gas fires.

Today, it’s finally open for tourists.

Of course, there are a few changes. The island is now buried under sixty feet of dirt removed from Boston’s Big Dig public works project and covered with 28,000 trees and bushes recently planted by the city of Boston. Engineers also built a protective sea wall around the island.

Gas is gas, however. I’ve golfed atop an old landfill in Los Angeles where methane gas periodically seeped up through the soil and gave the place a real stink. I’m sure the same is true of the newly beautified Spectacle Island.

Nonetheless, tourists are making the trek on a daily basis to what is now, at 155 feet above sea level, the tallest island in Boston Harbor. And, no doubt, the smelliest.