Winthrop, Massachusetts

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Winthrop, Massachusetts
Winthrop ma.jpg
WinthropMA-seal.png
Nickname(s): 
Winthrop-by-the-Sea
Motto(s): 
"Where the North Shore begins"
Suffolk County Massachusetts incorporated and unincorporated areas Winthrop highlighted.svg
Location in Suffolk County and the state of Massachusetts
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Winthrop, Massachusetts
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 42°22′30″N70°59′00″W / 42.37500°N 70.98333°W / 42.37500; -70.98333 Coordinates: 42°22′30″N70°59′00″W / 42.37500°N 70.98333°W / 42.37500; -70.98333
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Suffolk
Settled1630
Incorporated1852
Government
  Type Council-manager
  Council PresidentPhilip Boncore
  Town ManagerAustin Faison
Area
[1]
  Total8.32 sq mi (21.55 km2)
  Land1.99 sq mi (5.16 km2)
  Water6.33 sq mi (16.39 km2)
Elevation
36 ft (11 m)
Population
 (2020)
  Total19,316
  Density9,706.53/sq mi (3,597.03/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
Zip code
02152
Area code(s) 617 / 857
FIPS code 25-80930
GNIS feature ID0618335
Website www.town.winthrop.ma.us

Winthrop is a city in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 19,316 at the 2020 census. [2] Winthrop is an ocean-side suburban community in Greater Boston situated at the north entrance to Boston Harbor, close to Logan International Airport. It is located on a peninsula, 1.6 square miles (4.2 km2) in area, connected to Revere by a narrow isthmus and to East Boston by a bridge over the harbor inlet to the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation. Settled in 1630, Winthrop is one of the oldest communities in the United States. It is also one of the smallest and most densely populated municipalities in Massachusetts. It is one of the four cities that comprise Suffolk County (the others are Boston, Revere, and Chelsea). It is the southernmost part of the North Shore, with a 7-mile (11 km) shoreline that provides views of the Atlantic Ocean to the east and of the Boston skyline to the west.

Contents

In 2005, the Town of Winthrop voted to change its governance from a representative town meeting adopted in 1920 to a council-manager form of government. Under Massachusetts law, as of 2006 when the new Town Charter took effect, Winthrop became de jure a city. However, it is one of thirteen cities in Massachusetts that chose to remain known as a 'town.' [3]

History

Winthrop was settled in 1630 by English Puritan colonists as Pullen Poynt (Pulling Point), so named because the tides made hard pulling for boatmen. [4] [5] The present town is named after John Winthrop (1587–1649), second governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and an English Puritan leader. On April 8, 1630, Winthrop departed from the Isle of Wight, England on the ship Arbella , arriving in Salem in June where he was met by John Endecott, the first governor of the colony. John Winthrop served as governor for twelve of the colony's first twenty years of existence. It was he who decided to base the colony at the Shawmut Peninsula, where he and other colonists founded what is now the City of Boston.

Originally part of an area called Winnisimmet by the native Massachusett tribe, [6] Pullen Poynt was annexed by the Town of Boston in 1632 and was used as a grazing area. In 1637, it was divided into fifteen parcels of land that were given by Governor Winthrop to prominent men in Boston with the stipulation that each must erect a building on his land within two years. Few, if any, of these men ever lived on these parcels of land, but their farms prospered. One of these early houses, the Deane Winthrop House, was the home of Governor Winthrop's youngest son, Deane Winthrop, who lived there until his death in 1704. This house is still standing and is also the oldest continually occupied home in the United States. Although occupied, it is also open to the public at select times. The house is maintained by the Winthrop Improvement and Historical Association. [7]

In 1739, what is now Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop, withdrew from Boston due to governmental control disputes and became the Town of Chelsea. In 1775, residents of the Town of Chelsea played a key role in the Battle of Chelsea Creek of the American Revolutionary War. [8] Again, the desire for more local control resulted in Revere and Winthrop seceding from Chelsea in 1846 to become North Chelsea. Shortly thereafter, in 1852, Winthrop was incorporated as a town in its own right with a Board of Selectmen and Open Town Meeting form of government. In 1920, Winthrop was the second town in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to apply for and receive a Charter for a Representative Town Meeting, which continued to 2006.

As noted above, Winthrop adopted a home rule charter in 2005 with a council-manager form of government [9] [10] and is no longer governed by a representative town meeting. It is now legally a city, but chooses to be known as a town that has a city form of government. [11] [12] The new Town Charter, which took effect in 2006, was passed in a special election. The Board of Selectmen and Town Meeting were abolished, and legislative powers were vested in an elected Town Council. Executive power, largely ceremonial, resides in the Council President, who is popularly elected. An appointed Town Manager serves as the head of administrative services.

Geography and transportation

1903 map showing the stations of the former Winthrop Loop of the Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad 1903 Boston Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad Winthrop Loop map.jpg
1903 map showing the stations of the former Winthrop Loop of the Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 8.3 square miles (21.5 km2), of which 2.0 square miles (5.2 km2) is land and 6.3 square miles (16.3 km2) (76.02%) is water. However, according to the Town Government, Winthrop has a land area of just 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2).

Winthrop is connected by land skirting the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation, which is shared across the Belle Isle Inlet with East Boston. The town was originally separated from Deer Island. Although still an island by name, Deer Island has been connected to Winthrop since the former Shirley Gut channel, which once separated the island from the town, was filled in by the New England Hurricane of 1938. The town is considered the northern dividing line between Boston Harbor to its west and Massachusetts Bay to its east.

The town is divided into several neighborhoods with a central downtown area, including Court Park and Cottage Park along the Boston Harbor side of town, and Point Shirley, Cottage Hill, Winthrop Beach, Ocean Spray, and Winthrop Highlands on the Massachusetts Bay side. The town is bordered by Revere to the north, and Boston on the northwest, west, and southeast. The water rights of the town extend to the edge of the county, and border those of Nahant in Essex County. As a result of the expansion of Logan International Airport, part of four of the runways (4L/22R, 4R/22L, 15R/33L, and most of 15L/33R) lies within what was once the water rights of the town. By land, Winthrop is 5.5 miles (8.9 km) from Beacon Hill, the measuring point for all road signs in Massachusetts.

Deer Island, though within the city limits of Boston, is located in Winthrop Bay. It ceased to be an island in the 1930s when Shirley Gut, which separated it from Winthrop, was filled in. The island has a sordid past as an internment camp for Native Americans during King Philip's War, a quarantine station where many immigrants died, and the site of a county jail. Today, the island is home to the mammoth Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant, which provides sewage treatment for the Boston area. [13] In spite of the presence of the water treatment plant, Deer Island has been part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area since 1996 and the remainder of the island consists of park land and offers walking, jogging, sightseeing, picnicking, and fishing. Part of the park land consists of a man-made earthen berm that partly conceals the treatment plant from view from Winthrop. The island is now popular with many Winthrop residents, due to the park landscaping and views of Boston Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.[ citation needed ]

Massachusetts Route 145 passes through the town as its only state route and the only connection to the mainland (via Main Street and Winthrop Parkway at opposite ends of town). It enters from the Orient Heights neighborhood of East Boston then passes in a loop around the main body of the town (bypassing Cottage Hill and Point Shirley) before leaving the town to the north, turning into the Winthrop Parkway in Revere. Two bus routes are provided by Paul Revere Transportation, which run from Point Shirley through the highlands and center of the town and terminate at Orient Heights. Paul Revere Transportation has operated the bus service in town since 1991. The service, which is subsidized by the MBTA, operates as Route 712 Point Shirley or Winthrop Beach to Orient Heights Station via Winthrop Highlands and Route 713 Point Shirley or Winthrop Beach to Orient Heights via Winthrop Center. [14] Prior to this, the service was operated by Rapid Transit, which began bus service in Winthrop on January 28, 1940, the day immediately following the closure of the Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad (known as the "Narrow Gauge") which had a Winthrop Branch (1877-1940) with nine stations. The Blue Line of the MBTA subway system crosses near the town, with stops at Orient Heights Station, Suffolk Downs Station, and Beachmont Station, all of which are just a half mile from the city limits. A water transportation dock is located at the public landing and provides ferry service across Boston Harbor. Currently, Boston Harbor Cruises operates the service seasonally (May through October) between Winthrop and Rowes Wharf. [15]

Demographics

As of the census [17] of 2000, there were 18,303 people, 7,843 households, and 4,580 families residing in the town. The population density was 9,208 people per square mile (3,551.2/km2). There were 8,067 housing units at an average density of 4,058.5 per square mile (1,565.2/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 94.44% White, 1.68% Black, 1.15% Asian, 0.16% Native American, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.36% from other races, and 1.16% of two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race comprised 2.69% of the population.

There were 7,843 households, of which 23.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.6% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.3 and the average family size was 2.98.

Yirrell Beach, looking north from Deer Island in 2003 Winthrop beach.jpg
Yirrell Beach, looking north from Deer Island in 2003

In the town the population was spread out, with 18.6% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $53,122, and the median income for a family was $65,696. Males had a median income of $42,135 versus $36,298 for females. The per capita income for the town was $27,374. About 3.3% of families and 5.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.1% of those under age 18 and 8.0% of those age 65 or over.

Local businesses and utilities

By the mid-1990s, large shopping malls in the nearby North Shore region of Massachusetts, especially Square One Mall in Saugus, began to drain small businesses, though a strong small business community still prevails.

Located on Great Head (Water Tower Hill) is the Winthrop Water Tower. It is a red, white, and blue striped tower capable of holding 1 million US gallons (3,800 m3) of water. It is maintained by Winthrop's Water Department. [18]

The town is divided into four unique business areas: the Shirley Street Business District, the Highlands District, the Center, and Magee's Corner District. In July 2017, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a $2.38 million grant to the town to redevelop its Center Business District. [19]

Winthrop has a weekly newspaper, the Winthrop Sun Transcript , which reports local news, current events, happenings, and town concerns.

Education

Winthrop currently has four schools that are a part of Winthrop Public Schools:

Note: Winthrop Middle School and Winthrop High School are housed in the same building, but are two separate and distinct schools with their own administration.

Religion

Winthrop has several places of worship for various denominations. They include:

Most Winthrop residents belong to various Christian denominations, such as Roman Catholicism, Methodism, and Episcopalianism. Adherents of Judaism make up a small, but historically significant, minority. Over the past four decades, the once large Jewish community has dwindled due to frequent migration to other parts of Massachusetts.

Points of interest

Beaches

Winthrop has numerous beaches due to being surrounded by water. The major beaches are Winthrop Beach and Yirrell Beach; others include Donovan's Beach, Halford Beach, Pico Beach and Short Beach.

Military forts

Winthrop is home to two historic military forts, Fort Banks and Fort Heath. Fort Banks was a United States Coast Artillery fort, which served to defend Boston Harbor from enemy attack from the sea and was built in the 1890s during what is known as the Endicott period, a time in which the coast defenses of the United States were seriously expanded and upgraded with new technology. Fort Heath was built in 1898 also as a Coast Artillery fort. It is now replaced with the Fort Heath Apartment building, Seal Harbor condominia, and a small park on the bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Revere Beach.

Historic places

Winthrop has five places on the National Register of Historic Places.

Recreation

Among numerous baseball fields and recreational parks, Winthrop's recreational facilities include Larsen Rink, an indoor ice skating rink, and Winthrop Golf Course, a private 9-hole, par 35 golf course.

Notable people

See also Category:People from Winthrop, Massachusetts.

Related Research Articles

Suffolk County, Massachusetts County in Massachusetts

Suffolk County is located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in the United States. As of 2019, the population estimate was 803,907 making it the fourth-most populous county in Massachusetts. The county comprises the cities of Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop.

Winthrop Harbor, Illinois Village in Illinois, United States

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Revere, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

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East Boston Neighborhood of Boston in Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States

East Boston, nicknamed Eastie, is a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts with over 45,000 residents. Annexed by the city of Boston in 1836, it is bordered by the towns of Winthrop and Revere. It is separated from the Boston neighborhood of Charlestown and downtown Boston by Boston Harbor. The footprint of the East Boston neighborhood as it is known today was created in the 1940s by connecting five of the inner harbor islands using land fill.

Boston Harbor

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Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad

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Revere Beach station Boston MBTA subway station

Revere Beach station is a rapid transit station in Revere, Massachusetts. Located between Beach Street and Shirley Avenue, it serves the MBTA Blue Line. It serves Revere Beach, a popular summer destination with a substantial year-round resident population. It opened in January 1954 on the site of a former Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad station, as part of an extension to Wonderland. Revere Beach station was closed and rebuilt from 1994 to 1995.

Revere Beach

Revere Beach is a public beach in Revere, Massachusetts, located about five miles (8 km) north of downtown Boston. The beach is over three miles (4.8 km) long. In 1875, a rail link was constructed to the beach, leading to its increasing popularity as a summer recreation area, and in 1896, it became the first public beach in the United States. It is still easily accessible by the MBTA Blue Line from Boston, and can accommodate as many as one million visitors in a weekend during its annual sand sculpture competition.

Deer Island (Massachusetts)

Deer Island is a peninsula in Boston, Massachusetts. Since 1996, it has been part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Although still an island by name, Deer Island has been connected to the mainland since the former Shirley Gut channel, which once separated the island from the town of Winthrop, was filled in by the 1938 New England hurricane. Today, Deer Island is the location of the Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant, whose 150-foot-tall (46 m) egg-like sludge digesters are major harbor landmarks.

Noddles Island

Noddle's Island was historically one of the Boston Harbor Islands off Boston, Massachusetts. Most of the original land of Noddle's Island now makes up the southern part of the neighborhood of East Boston; it is now part of the mainland since the strait connecting Noddle's Island to Hog Island and that connecting Hog Island to the mainland city of Revere were filled in the early 20th century. The original contours of Noddle's Island were also greatly obscured by the 20th-century construction of Logan International Airport, which filled the tidal flats between Noddle's Island and Governor's, Bird, and Apple islands to its east. In some sources it is spelled "Noodle's Island".

Route 145 is a 6.716-mile-long (10.808 km) circuitous south–north urban state highway in Massachusetts. It is entirely within Suffolk County and primarily serves the peninsular town of Winthrop from East Boston and Revere. Its southern terminus is at Route 1A in East Boston and its northern terminus is at Route 16 in Revere.

Fort Heath

Fort Heath was a US seacoast military installation for defense of the Boston and Winthrop Harbors with an early 20th-century Coast Artillery fort, a 1930s USCG radio station, prewar naval research facilities, World War II batteries, and a Cold War radar station. The fort was part of the Harbor Defenses of Boston and was garrisoned by the United States Army Coast Artillery Corps. The fort's military structures have been replaced by a residential complex, including the luxurious Forth Heath Apartments, and recreation facilities of Small Park, which has both a commemorative wall and an historical marker for Fort Heath.

Ayer, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Ayer is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. Originally part of Groton, it was incorporated February 14, 1871, and became a major commercial railroad junction. The town was home to Camp Stevens, a training camp for Massachusetts volunteers during the American Civil War. Later, Fort Devens was established by the federal government to train New England soldiers for World War I. Fort Devens is a major influence on the area, although it is considerably smaller than when it was first closed in the mid-1990s. The town's population was 7,427 at the 2010 census.

Fort Dawes

Fort Dawes was a World War II Coast Artillery fort located on Deer Island in Winthrop/Boston, Massachusetts. It was part of the Harbor Defenses of Boston.

Harbor Defenses of Boston Military unit

The Harbor Defenses of Boston was a United States Army Coast Artillery Corps harbor defense command. It coordinated the coast defenses of Boston, Massachusetts from 1895 to 1950, beginning with the Endicott program. These included both coast artillery forts and underwater minefields. The command originated circa 1895 as the Boston Artillery District, was renamed Coast Defenses of Boston in 1913, and again renamed Harbor Defenses of Boston in 1925.

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