Revere Beach

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Revere Beach Reservation
Revere Beach in 2005
Map showing the location of Revere Beach Reservation
Map showing the location of Revere Beach Reservation
Location in Massachusetts
LocationSuffolk, Massachusetts, U.S.
Coordinates42°25′30″N 70°58′58″W / 42.42500°N 70.98278°W / 42.42500; -70.98278Coordinates: 42°25′30″N 70°58′58″W / 42.42500°N 70.98278°W / 42.42500; -70.98278[1]
Area84 acres (34 ha)[2]
Elevation10 ft (3.0 m)[1]
OperatorMassachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
WebsiteRevere Beach Reservation
Revere Beach Reservation
The Boulevard, Revere Beach, MA.jpg
Revere Beach Blvd. in c. 1910
LocationRevere, Massachusetts
ArchitectCharles Eliot; William D. Austin of Stickney & Austin
NRHP reference #03000642, 98000871
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 27, 2003
Designated NHLMay 27, 2003

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) miles 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.[3][4][5] 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.[6]


Early development[edit]

Watching the Bathers in 1910

In 1875, the Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn Railroad, known as the "Narrow Gauge", came to Revere Beach, making it easily accessible to visitors from Boston and elsewhere. Various beach-related and recreational buildings sprang up along the beach itself, which was constrained by the nearness of the railroad to the high tide mark.[4]

In 1896, the Metropolitan Park Commission (now part of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation), assumed control over the beach. Following the design of landscape architect Charles Eliot, the railroad tracks were moved from the beach itself to the alignment now used by the MBTA Blue Line, and more than 100 structures were removed from the beach.[5] On July 12, 1896, Revere Beach was opened as the first public beach in the nation.[4] An estimated 45,000 people showed up on opening day.[5]

Ocean Pier in c. 1910

In the following decades, Revere Beach developed many attractions, including restaurants, dance halls and ballrooms, roller skating rinks, bowling alleys, and roller coasters. Three roller coasters were particularly well-known: the Cyclone, a wooden roller coaster that was the tallest roller coaster ever built at the time of its construction in 1925;[7] the Lightning, another wooden roller coaster; and the Derby Racer, a racing roller coaster. All have since been torn down.

Decline and renewal[edit]

The popularity of Revere Beach began to decline in the 1950s as the facilities at the beach deteriorated.[4] In February 1978, a large blizzard destroyed many of the remaining structures, the sidewalks, and the sea wall.[5]

After a significant revitalization effort by city of Revere and the state of Massachusetts, the beach reopened in May 1992.[8] On the weekend of July 19, 1996, Revere commemorated the centennial of the first opening of Revere Beach with a three-day celebration, and on May 27, 2003, Revere Beach was designated a National Historic Landmark.[9] In 2007, Revere Beach Boulevard was redesigned with new landscaping and sidewalks, and improved parking.[10]

New England Sand Sculpting Festival[edit]

The New England Sand Sculpting Festival has taken place at Revere Beach each July since 2004.[11] During the festival, an area of the beach is fenced off, creating a temporary art gallery for visitors. Event organizers have proclaimed that the festival is the largest sand-sculpting contest in New England. A total of $15,000 in prize money was available for the 2010 event.[12] The annual contest draws approximately one million visitors each year.[6][13][14]

Water quality[edit]

Starting with the passage of the BEACH Act in 2000, a concentrated effort has been made to improve the water quality of Revere Beach and other beaches in Massachusetts. This includes a public website with water quality results and notifications of beach closures due to waterborne pathogens.[15]

Revere Beach undergoes routine testing for Enterococcus, a pathogen indicating bacteria responsible for illnesses as slight as sore throat to meningitis, gastroenteritis, and encephalitis. The water is tested on a weekly basis at four different sites throughout the summer, from June to August. These sites are Oak Island, Revere Beach Bathhouse (state police station), Beach Street, and Point of Pines.[16] This data is collected by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Revere Beach". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  2. ^ "2012 Acreage Listing" (PDF). Department of Conservation and Recreation. April 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  3. ^ "Revere Beach Reservation". MassParks. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d Revere Society for Cultural & Historic Preservation (1996). "History". City of Revere Mayor's Office. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "Revere Beach Opens". Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Barefield, Allana J. (July 23, 2017). "On Revere Beach, sand, sculptures, and family fun in the sun". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  7. ^ Craig, William J.; Revere Society for Cultural and Historic Preservation (2004). Revere. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-3671-7.
  8. ^ Seligson, Susan (August 2, 2010). "Miles of Sandy Shore a T Ride Away". BU Today. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  9. ^ "National Historic Landmark Nomination: Revere Beach Reservation" (PDF). United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service.
  10. ^ Ebbert, Stephanie (July 8, 2007). "Revere Beach Boulevard undergoes renovations that could breathe new life into the nation's oldest public beach". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
  11. ^ "15th Annual International Sand Sculpting Festival Set for this Month". Revere Journal. July 13, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  12. ^ "Sand Sculpting Festival". Celebrate Boston. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
  13. ^ Lovato, Maria (July 26, 2019). "Sand sculptors from around world converge at Revere Beach this weekend for annual festival". The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  14. ^ Palma, Kristi (July 26, 2019). "What to know about the Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival". Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  15. ^ "Marine and Freshwater Beach Testing in Massachusetts. Annual Report: 2011 Season" (PDF). Bureau of Environmental Health. Massachusetts Department of Public Health. May 2012.
  16. ^ "MWRA Revere Beach Water Test Results". Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  17. ^ "Marine and Freshwater Beach Testing in Massachusetts Annual Report: 2009 Season" (PDF). Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Retrieved May 4, 2011.

External links[edit]