Misery Island

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Misery Island and Little Misery Island, together making up 87 acres, are managed today by the Trustees of Reservations.

  • In the early days, Misery Island had been used on and off for farming and sheep and cattle raising.
  • In 1900, the Misery Island Syndicate (forming the Misery Island Club) began building summer cottages, 26 in all,a golf course and the island was very popular.Some financial problems arose with the Club and in 1904, their clubhouse became the Casino hotel. Later, in 1926, a fire destroyed the Casino and most of the buildings.
  • The six granite columns that are on the island's highest point, once supported a water tower.
  • Legend has it that the island's name came from a sea captain named Moulton who was shipwrecked there in the 1600's and forced to spent three nights there- hence it was named "Moulton's Misery."
  • In 1904, the steamer Monohanset heading for Salem Willows, passed through fog and the steamship was wrecked on the rocks.
  • The Trustees of Reservations, which manages 78 properties across Massachusetts, has maintained Great Misery Island and the five-acre Little Misery island since 1935. The group has purchased pieces of the islands in 1950, 1955 and 1983. In 1997, after purchasing the last remaining private piece, they now own the whole of Great Misery and Little Misery Island. In 1935, there was a threat to the island from a Beverly oil dealer who wanted to store tanks there. In 1988, the South Essex Sewerage District had the island on a list for possible sites for a sewerage treatment plant. Both threats of development were averted by the efforts Trustees of Reservations.
  • Today there are walking trails and a public restroom (seasonal) for visitors.

See Also

  • Vertical File in the Salem Collection - Islands
  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Misery Island
  • "Misery loves company; islands open to the public for the first time in 70 years" Boston Sunday Globe, North weekly, June 28, 1998, p.N1
  • "Preservationists buy last slice of Misery Islands" Salem Evening News, May 14, 1997, p.A8.
  • "Grant's dispatch boat wrecked at Misery Island (the Monohansett in 1904)" Salem Evening News, Feb. 12, 2001, p.A5
  • "One man's Misery; caretaker at Misery Island enjoys his piece of paradise" Salem Evening News, Sept. 6, 2002. p.C1
  • "The ill-fated Misery Islands" by Reed Harwood. Yankee Magazine, Aug. 1966, p.54-59, 136-139.
  • "Whatever Happened to the Misery Islands" by Tim Johnson, Yankee Magazine Nov. 1976, p. 268.
  • "The Misery Island story: from pollution to prosperity" Salem Evening News, June 9, 1976.