Revere Beach History & Heritage
Massachusetts is rich in history and of course Revere has its share. Our heritage dates back to the early colonial era when the sleepy farming village here was known as Rumney Marsh.
Revere Beach is the oldest public beach in the United States. From its inception, Revere Beach was “the people’s beach”, used mostly by the working class and the many immigrants who settled in the area. Revere Beach has always offered great swimming, sunbathing, fishing and boating. Today the beach is home to sand castle competitions, kite festivals, fireworks, outdoor movies, music, and so much more.
Revere Beach Amusements
When people reminisce about Revere Beach it is not the sand and surf they remember most, but the amusements. The Whip, the Ferris Wheel, Bluebeard’s Palace, the Fun House, Hurley’s Dodgems, the Pit, Himalaya, Hippodrome, Sandy’s, the Mickey Mouse, the Virginia Reel and many more provided hours of enjoyment for residents and visitors alike. The biggest attraction was the Cyclone, among the largest roller coasters in the United States. Built in 1925, its cars traveled at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) and its height reached 100 feet (30 m). Also notable was the Derby Racer racing roller coaster, which had a series of accidents that killed or critically injured riders between 1911 and 1936. Lightning was another roller coaster at Revere Beach, and was a member of Harry Traver’s infamous “Terrifying Triplets”.
In addition to the sand, surf and amusements, there were two roller skating rinks, two bowling alleys, and numerous food stands and fishing piers. There were also the ballrooms, including the most famous, the Oceanview and the Beachview, each the site of many dance marathons which were popular in the 1930s.
Today Revere is still a public beach. Gone is the honky tonk of the 50’s .The beached is currently lined with restaurants and both high rise condominiums and beautiful single family homes.
Ye Old Rumney Marsh Burial Ground
The First Period cemetery served as final resting place for the people of the village of Rumney Marsh, settled in 1630 and named after the town in England. The first recorded internment was in 1693, the last in 1929. Here lie the son of the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and numerous veterans of both the revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Battle of Chelsea Creek
The first naval batter of the Revolutionary War took place on May 27, 1775 in Chelsea Creed, which separates Revere and its neighboring city Chelsea Provincial volunteer from Rumney Marsh (revere), Winnisemmit (Chelsea) and Pullen Point (Winthrop) all joined troops under Colonel Stark, who had been sent by the Massachusetts Committee on Public Safety to prevent the redcoats from seizing livestock, hay and other supplies. The provincials attacked the British marines, guerrilla-style, from the banks of Chelsea Creek. Ultimately, under heavy fire, the British Schooner HMS Diana was run aground, abandoned by the British Sailors, and then promptly Stripped and burnt to the water line by the colonists. Local historians believe the remains of the Diana, embedded in the mud flats along Chelsea Creek, are still visible at low tide – a tangible link to the first naval battle of the Revolution.
Close by the site of the Battle of Chelsea Creek sits historic Slades Mill. The Nation’s oldest tidal mill was first established here over 275 years ago. Through the original building was destroyed by fire, the current 1885 structure continued the traditional techniques first used here in the early 1700’s for grinding flour, snuff and spices for domestic use and for export. Also manufactured here for many years was Bell’s seasoning – an essential ingredient still in the stuffing of many a Thanksgiving turkey. Recently, historic Slade’s Mill has been reborn as an inn.
Horatio Alger Homestead
One of Revere’s most famous sons was the prodigious 19th century author Horatio Alger, who was born here and spent a good part of his life in the community. He wrote dozens upon dozens of enormously popular “rags to riches” novels with titles like “Strive and Succeed”. Alger’s books helped popularize the concept of dime novels, the precursor of today’s paperbacks; his story lines were held up to successive generations of young boys as prime examples of the value of hard work.
Built in 1835, the tavern served as the halfway point between Lynn and Boston on the old “Salem Turnpike”. Coach Travelers and their horses would stop for the rest and “sustenance” before continuing on the Winnisemmit Ferry and the final leg of the journey to Boston.