- A PEEK
No man is an island, although Winthrop once was...
Weird Winthrop is written by Henry Dane, but would have never seen ink
without assistance from many generous Winthropites and others who donated
their consultations and opinions.
December 2002's 2-part War Story lamented the "Heads You Lose," a tale rooted
in the notorious Fort Banks Accident of October 15, 1904. A marker placed at the
Sanford Kellogg bunker at Fort Banks in Winthrop memorializes this true, tragic
event.Visit the shrine and see the details for yourself. The marker was created
and placed by the Fort Banks Preservation Association. Shoot an email over to
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the group.
Or pick up a copy of October 16, 1904's Hearst American or Boston Post or Boston
Globe and read all about it like I did. (You can find microfilm copies of these
papers at the Boston Public Library).
Thanks, certainly, to Connie Anderson, and a tip of the hat to Grace & Tommy at
Cumberland Farms, who helped me get a grip on the inner-workings of the Lottery.
You may recall this precocious pair from back in April, 2001's "The Chicken Who
Could Sing Like Elvis" (or any time you stopped in for milk and bread) when they
worked across Revere street at White Hen Pantry.
Also of note: as stated in the story, the Massachusetts State Lottery announced
the Mass. daily number from the 9000th drawing on Veteran's Day, November 11, 2002,
as being the second time ever that it repeated the same number from the day before.
For further verification, please visit the Mass. Lottery's Web Site.
* * *
June 2002's Father's Day getaway, "Escape From Deer Island" was
made possible by generous technical assistance from Bob Hamilton. Bob is a
career corrections officer whose personal recollections of the Deer Island
House of Correction helped me better understand the experiences of Papi
For some great reading on the subject of prison life try "Papillon," a
memoir of Devil's Island by Henri Charrière, made into a 1973 movie of
the same name starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. Charrière
also published a later book of his adventures called "Banco."
Also well worth a visit to the library are many other Devil's Island-themed
books, like "Dry Guillotine," by René Belboit, "Flag on Devil's Island,"
by Francis LaGrange and "Devil's Island: Colony of the Damned" by Alexander
You may also want to check out two informative books about Massachusetts
prisons - "Screw, the truth about Walpole State Prison by the guard who
lived it," by Michael McLaughlin and "Screw, a guard's view of Bridgewater
State Hospital," by Tom Ryan.
A good general overview of the Island can be found online at "Boston Harbor
Islands Visitor Guide."
Various items have been written over the years about Deer Island, mainly
concerning the plight of Native Americans and Irish immigrants banished
there. Some of these are available on the Internet. Here's one regarding
King Philip's War and the fate of Natick's Nipmuc Tribe, Here's a powerful,
well-researched article about the Irish who suffered on Deer Island. And
here's a site called "Letters From the Inside," that features a rare photo
view of inside the Deer Island Prison.
But in my opinion, your best bet online is to go to Google and just enter
"Deer Island" with your favorite related topic.
An excellent magazine article, "When Deer Island Was Devil's Island,"
by Jill Lepore, PhD., published in the Summer 1998 edition of the Boston
University journal, "Bostonia Magazine," chronicles the terrible fate
of New England Native Americans who suffered on Deer Island during
King Philip's war (1675-76)
One good article about Deer Island Prison I managed to find was "Prison
In the Harbor: Deer Island Voices," by Lonnie Isabel and Timothy Dwyer,
published in the "Boston Globe Magazine" from May 18, 1980 edition of
"The Boston Sunday Globe."
To the best of my knowledge, there is no definitive book to date on the
subject of Deer Island Prison, although the institution existed almost a
century (1896-1991), longer if you include its origin in 1858 as the
House of Reformation for delinquent young boys in 1858. I have, however,
heard strong rumors of a very extensive history in the works.
To assist in preserving the history of this lost landmark, Bob Hamilton
and I submitted a proposal to the Bostonian Society, Boston's
Historical Association, to establish an informational marker on Deer
Island. We'll still waiting!
* * *
The 2002 Valentine's Day column, "Torpedoed Hearts," saluted yet
another erased piece of Winthrop History - and we're losing 'em faster
than we can make 'em - the Unitarian Church on Hermon street. Alas, it's
already gone by the time you read this. For a look at what you missed,
Winthrop Public Library has photos of the building's former glory...
Thanks once again to Winthrop's Wonderful Reference Librarian Ann,
for her capable assistance in tracking the elusive history of this
exquisite little building that abutted the Milky Way. (For more details,
see May 24th 2001's "Traffic Jam on the Milky Way.") A word of caution
to those who easily dismiss the loss of beauties of antiquity...they may
come back to haunt you!
* * *
In the column of November 14, 2001, "The Man of La Mulcha," we suggested
you leave that rake in the yard and head over to the Compost site...it's
the last left off Kennedy Road. You might meet a shy, but friendly old
fellow with some big ideas. And by the way, don't miss that left turn at
road's end...if you go too far, you might wind up...in the cemetery!
* * *
October 25, 2001's column, "Halloweenthrop," was inspired by the bravery
of rescue workers in the events of September 11, 2001. Please pay
your respects to those people affected by this tragedy by donating
generously to the one of the many related charities, including:
The Robin Hood Fund, The Red Cross, and The United Way.
* * *
August 9, 2001's column, "A Narrow Gauge of Time," couldn't have
been written - nor the mystery solved - without the kind efforts of
Don Simonini, Winthrop filmmaker and historian. Also critical in the
endeavor were the services of Mike Carney, Seacoast Construction, Inc.
Special thanks to Mabel Connell and her Schiperke, Choo-choo.
* * *
Research for June 28 2001's column, "The Good, the Bad & the Horribles,"
was expertly enhanced by Winthrop Public Library's Assistant Director
and reference guru, Ann.
* * *
"Traffic Jam on the Milky Way," a column which appeared on May 24th,
2001, was made possible only due to former Winthrop Officer Michael Wheeler's
brave willingness to come forward with his personal tale of heroism in
the face of SBP (Supernatural Bovine Phenomenon).
* * *
For April 19, 2001's column, "The Chicken Who Could Sing Like Elvis,"
the roster of thanks includes: Margaret Humboldt, Alan Tweet, Sam,
Dave, Melvin Parsley, Gracie at the White Hen and of course...the one
and only King of Rock 'N' Roll.
* * *
"A Man From Snake Island", March 22, 2001's column, included the kind
assistance from staff of the Chelsea Public Library and a curt, yet
courteous interview with Tiffany Eakins.
* * *
For "Love Is But a Dream," Weird Winthrop edition of February 8, 2001,
thanks to Harry & Nick at Brown's Drug, the good folks at ATS Alarm
Systems and Andrew Quigley. (Sorry about that paper, Andy.)
* * *
December 2000's "Yes, Virginia Is a Santa Claus" owes a loud "thank
you!" to centenarian Virginia Upton, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
* * *
In November of 2000, the unknown truth about "The Winthrop Arms & Legs"
was finally revealed, thanks to the generousity of Winthrop Arms
proprietor David "Doc" Goll, and former chef Bill "Cookie" Benedict.
Cookie resurfaced a little over 3 years later for a brand new adventure
exploring Winthrop's Underworld connections!
* * *
It all blasted off at the beginning of November, 2000 with a strange
tale from our haunted hamlet entitled, "The Belle Isle Martian."
All the gratitude in the world goes out to interviewee Walter Berrender,
wherever he may be.
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