Revere Beach faces Massachusetts Bay, five miles north of Boston. Its hard sand shore forms a great crescent along the blue ocean for miles, sloping away gradually out to sea, creating an ideal bathing beach. With the Nahant and Winthrop peninsulas framing the horizon, the distant lighthouses and the steamers passing far out to sea, the scenic panorama viewed from the beach by day or night is unsurpassed, described an ad in a 1912 booklet advertising Revere Beach. (Peter McCauley, Memories of Revere Beach 1989).
Kevin M. Carey wrote a poem about the history of Revere Beach. This poem summarizes the historical events of this beach quite well.
The Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad was the largest single factor in the development and growth of Revere, states George Clarke, in The Story of Revere Beach. Popularly know as The Narrow Gauge, that operated from Lynn to East Boston. Prior to 1896, its road bed followed a path that traced the crescent shape of the coastline. The train operated along Railroad Avenue, which today is named Revere Beach Boulevard, then it was removed and relocated four hundred yards to the west. The MBTA currently runs its Blueline along the same roadbed. In its heyday, passengers would patronize the train from stations all along the resort area. The Point of Pines, Oak Island, Revere Street and Bathhousewere just a few. Old timers can still remember their anticipation of a day at the beach, beginning with the sooty smell of soft coal burning as it energized the little engines that carried the Narrow Gauge to its destination. “During World War II a number of men from Revere were stationed on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. To their surprise, the coaches of the railroad taking them to their barracks and around the island, were from none other than the Old Narrow Gauge. These cars were sold and shipped thousands of miles from Revere to the Hawaiian Island for duty during the War.” Peter McCauley
For more than a century, beginning each year from Easter time until Labor Day, visitors from all over the world were entertained at Revere Beach. In the early years, they walked, bicycled or took horse drawn carriages. Later on, it was convenient to reach via the Narrow Gauge, automobile and thousands would come by ferry. “Revere Beach was the place to go to be entertained, have fun or to just relax and enjoy a day at the beach,” observed noted Revere Beach historian Peter McCauley, during a recent showing of his slide show about Revere Beach.
Many of today’s baby-boomers are the children of those who fell in love at the Oceanview or Wonderland Ballrooms. Boomers themselves can still vividly remember the Virginia Reel, Wild Mouse, Dodgems and other rides and amusements.
Over the years crowds have enjoyed fine food and dining at many of Revere Beach’s eating establishments. The Driftwood, Barney Scheff’s, The General Edward’s Inn, The Skipper and The Paul Roger House, all featured the finest in seafood. Fast food outlets included Joe and Nemo’s, Howard Johnson’s, Rudolf’s Pepper Steak, Danny’s and of course the world famous Kelley’s Roast Beef.
A day at the beach was always an opportunity to enjoy frozen custard at Mary Ahearn’s or Kohr Bros. At Mary O’Neil’s you could get a hot dog and orangade! For pizza, the choice seemed endless; Bianchi’s, Bill Ashes, Anna’s, or the place downstairs at the Nautical were always just great. There was always something for everyone at Revere Beach. On hot summer nights, whole families would sleep right on the beach for relief from the day’s heat. Summer after summer millions of vacationers would come to the ocean resort area to enjoy its natural beauty and to be entertained.
Carousels provided thousands of children and adults with endless hours of music along the boulevard. Hurley’s Hurdlers, the Rough Riders, The Teddy Bear Merry Go Round and of course, The Hippodrome Carousel, were all magical places to visit.
During this career, he had developed many ties to the Boston financial community. Without this critical financial support, Wonderland would have remained just a dream Major Barroll became Wonderland Park’s Managing Director and Chairman of the Board. The centerpiece of Wonderland Park was a beautiful lagoon and part of an elaborate and exciting ride. The ride was called Shoot The Chute; it was one of the most unique in all the world. Passengers would be lifted in their gondolas to the top of a steep grade. Once at the top, the gondola would be dropped down the water slide and back down into the huge lagoon. Like Disney’s theme parks, parades occurred daily. There were international cultural exhibits, demonstrations, educational displays and also scientific exhibits such as the infant incubators at the park’s full service hospital.
Wonderland Park existed for just six years. In 1911, because of their aggressive approach to out do previous exhibits and the unpredictable New England weather, its operators suffered great financial difficulty and had to close down. After many years Wonderland reopened as Wonderland Dog Track in 1935. This was noted by Edward and Frederick Nazzaro in Revere Beach’s Wonderland Mystic City by the Sea.
Revere Beach has a glorious history. For almost one hundred years generations of New Englanders flocked to this coastal resort area. Today, except for the world famous Kelley’s Roast Beef and a few pizza places, everything else has been removed from the boulevard. This chapter in Revere Beach’s history has come to an end. We enter the next century just as we had the last, reminded of Charles Eliot’s observation that “We must not conceal from visitors, the long sweep of the open beach which is the finest thing about the reservation.”
Revere Beach Then & Now Slide Show
Schedule a time to view the popular “Revere Beach Then & Now Slide Show” presentation. The program features a one hour presentation and description of more than 100 beautiful images of historic Revere Beach and its glorious past. We will share and relive with your audience our collective memories of the rich history of Revere Beach in its heyday!
Once again be thrilled to recall the special memories that we share of Rotherhams Red Indian popcorn, Moxie, Korr Bros. Frozen Custard and of course Kelley’s Roast Beef.
Many will remember the wonderful Big Band music always heard at the Dancehalls of Revere Beach such as the Oceanview Ballroom, Ocean Pier or at the Frolic nightclub.
Recently designated as a National Historic Landmark, Revere Beach is now officially recognized as “America’s First Public Beach.” Revere Beach holds a special place in the collective memories of thousands of folks throughout New England and the United States.
Call now to schedule a date to have this memorable slide show presented to your audience. Please feel free to get in touch via email [email protected] or by phone at (978) 807.0167
Thanks for your interest in Revere Beach and its great history. Here is a listing of major historical point of interest of Revere.
- Belle Isle Marsh Reservation is the largest surviving salt marsh in Boston Harbor. It showcases plants and wildlife now rare to the Metropolitan area.
- Chelsea Creek was the site of the Revolutionary War’s first naval battle in 1775.
- The Church of Christ (also known as Revere Masonic Temple) is a historic church building added to the NRHP in 1984.
- Immaculate Conception Rectory is a historic Roman Catholic rectory added to the NRHP in 2002.
- Mary T. Ronan School is a historic school added to the NRHP in 1982.
- The Revere City Hall and Police Station was added to the NRHP in 2012.
- Rumney Marsh Burying Ground is a historic cemetery added to the NRHP in 2004.
- Winthrop Parkway, Metropolitan Parkway System of Greater Boston is a historic parkway added to the NRHP in 2004.