Burrage Hospital

Bumpkin Island, Boston Harbor
Hingham, Mass.

Year Built: 1900
Year Demolished: 1946

Built in 1900 and destroyed by fire on June 29, 1946.

The Burrage Hospital originally comprised a main hospital building measuring 175’ x 160’, two large covered open-air play houses, a bathing pavilion and a dock. The hospital is near the center of the island, about 80’ above the low water mark and faces south. Its general plan is that of a widened letter “H,” with an extension from the middle of the building back and contained three stories and a basement.

On the north side of the building, the basement was above ground because of the grading of the island. The south side contained two solariums on both the first and second floors (one set each for boys and girls) and the administrative offices. The two wings of the building contained the hospital wards and measured 25’ x 105.’

Along the front of the building and partly around the sides, ran a porch ten feet wide.

On the interior was a series of ramps between floors to make it easier for those who could not climb stairs, either due to disability or because confinement to wheelchair. This is likely one of the first uses of such ramps in a hospital setting.

The first floor contained an entry vestibule, reception room, matron’s room, matron’s bedroom, nurses room, pharmacy, doctors’ office, doctors’ bedrooms, four large wards, two small wards, two lavatories, four ward bathrooms, clothes storage room, two sewing rooms, linen closet, dining room, administration room, scullery and storage room.

The second floor was divided into four principal large wards, seven small wards, library, suite of three rooms, students’ room, three lavatories, four bathrooms, six bedrooms for hospital staff, operating room, sterilizing room, surgeons’ room, bandage room, etherizing room, and recovery room.

The attic held five dormitories, six closets and bathrooms. In the basement were two mens’ rooms, four lavatories, two furnace rooms, store rooms, play rooms, coal room, laundry room, drying room, cold storage room and ice room.

The exterior was composed of yellow brick, terra cotta, Indiana limestone trim and a green slate roof. Overall, the building took on the form of a seaside cottage, complete with symmetrical gables and ample porches.

During WWI, the island was taken over for use as a U.S. Naval Training camp, with the hospital serving as the Administration Building. The camp was dismantled after the war. The hospital reopened briefly in about 1940 for polio patients but closed during WWII, and burned in 1946.


• “Burrage Hospital Opens on Bumpkin Island,” Boston Evening Transcript, June 8, 1906, p 10.

• "Landmark Destroyed," Boston Globe, June 30, 1946, p. 26 (picture)

• “Sick Children will be Nursed Back to Health,” Boston Globe, June 17, 1903, p. 9.

• “Burrage Hospital for Crippled Children,” Boston Globe, October 11, 1901, p 3.

• “Burrage House: Study Report,” Boston Landmarks Commission, City of Boston, 2002, p. 33. http://www.cityofboston.gov/environment/pdfs/burrage.pdf (“for this project, he worked with Charles Brigham, who also designed his mansion on Commonwealth Avenue.”


Your Webmaster, 8/21/2014

Boston Globe, July 15, 1902

During World War I

Picture of hospital on fire, June 29, 1946

Outline of 5-sided porch foundation, 8/21/2014

Site of hospital, 8/21/2014

Site of hospital, 8/21/2014

Yellow brick, 8/21/2014

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