Deer Island

At the end of my impressions from Boston I would like to introduce you to Deer Island.

Although the name suggests that this is an island, Deer Island isn’t an actual island anymore. In 1938 the existing seawater channel was filled with sand by a storm and after that the United States Army Corps of Engineers built a permanent road there. Since then the island is no longer an island.

The profile of Deer Island resembles the other islands in the Bay of Boston. It has a hill, which falls steeply on one side but gradually on the other. The profile is reminiscent of a spoon placed upside down. In English these shapes are called drumlines.

The island itself has served various purposes. During the Indian Wars in the 17th century, the English settlers deported Indians from the area to the island. It was an open-air prison and many of the deportees died there, up to 1,100 people in the winter of 1675-76 alone.

In the middle of the 19th century, the island was used as an arrival point for the thousands of Irish immigrants who fled to America from the big hunger catastrophe in their homeland. Since many of the arrivals were sick and severely malnourished, an immigrant hospital was built in 1847. In 1850 a poorhouse was built too. But this building was used as a prison again from 1896 and existed until 1991.

Today, the profile of Deer Island is dominated by the large wastewater treatment plant, which cleans the collected wastewater from most of the Greater Boston Area. More than 4.5 million people live there, which explain the size of the plant. The first sewage treatment plant on the island was built at the end of the 19th century and considerably expanded in the 1960s. The current plant dates back to the 1990s. The Boston region is one of only a few metropolitan areas in the United States which have an ecologically state of the art wastewater treatment system.

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Judge A. David Mazzone played a particularly important role in the creation of this infrastructure. Above all he stands for the willingness of the people to consider their environment as protection worthy. With his decisions as a judge and his commitment to society, he was an essential part in the establishment of the today’s wastewater treatment system. That’s why the people there built a monument to him on Deer Island. The sentence from one of his judgments, „The law secures to the people the right to a clean harbor.“ should be kept in mind everywhere. Everyone has the right to live in a clean environment and also the duty to do their part. As a bear, I think that’s very important!

Now I have to say good bye Boston! We had a great time together – see you again.

Your very ferocious Grizzly

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