Children's Island

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  • Children's Island, (formerly known as both Cat Island and Lowell Island) a 25 acre island, is located just off the entrance to Marblehead Harbor.
  • The island's name came from its first occupant who kept sheep there, a Robert Cotta. The name was later shortened to Cat Island. The name may also have come from an Indian name for the island.
  • One of the first island resort hotels was opened here in 1852. The 100 room hotel brought visitors in on the brand-new Salem and Lowell Rail Road. The Salem Steamboat Co. was formed to provide excursion boats to bring people to the island. The Island House, later called Lowell Island House, had 100 rooms, a 250-seat dining room, bowling alleys and boats for fishing and sailing. The hotel operated until 1878, when it was converted to a sanatorium for children.
  • The Salem and Lowell Rail Road ran passenger trains from Lowell to Salem all summer long in the 1850's. They used Phillip's Wharf in Salem, connecting with the steamboat which ran regularly from the wharf to Lowell Island (as it was called then).
  • After 1878, in the summer months, a sanatorium for children operated out of the old hotel. Approximately 100 children were treated for such ailments as bone tuberculosis, infantile paralysis, malnutrition, and rickets. They were between 2 and 12 years old. They used occupational therapy and sunlight therapies with the children and also sea bathing.
  • The island is now owned by the Lynch/van Otterloo (Marblehead)YMCA.
  • There is a children's summer camp with a swimming pool now operating on the island.
  • Nancamp is a specialty camp for children whose lives have been altered by cancer. The Lynch/Van Otterloo (Marblehead YMCA) runs this camp on Children's Island.

See Also

  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Islands
  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Children's Island
  • "What's in a name? Debate swirls over island in Salem Sound" Salem Evening News, Apr. 3, 1996, p. A1
  • "It's official: Cat Island is renamed Children's Island" Salem Evening News, Apr. 15, 1997, p. C3
  • "Battling cancer by land, by sea" (Nancamp) Boston Sunday Globe May 25, 1997, p. N1