Winthrop Massachusetts, 1890

Winthrop consists of an irregular peninsula forming the northeastern boundary of Boston Harbor, five miles from Boston; being the easterly extremity of Suffolk County. The Boston, Winthrop and Shore Railroad makes a circuit of the town, and connects with places outside by means of the Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad at Winthrop Junction. The nine stations of the former road are one-half mile apart and furnish excellent accommodations for all sections of the town. At Winthrop Junction connection is also made through East Boston with Boston's system of street railroads.

The post-office is Winthrop, which is the central and chief village. Other sections are Winthrop Highlands, overlooking the sea and rapidly becoming occupied; Ocean Spray, the lengthwise cluster of family hotels and cottages facing the ocean; Winthrop Beach, a part of which, Great Head, is a bold promontory with fine residences and well-appointed club houses; Point Shirley, the site of Taft's famous hotel of world-wide fame for its game and fish dinners. Sunnyside, Woodside, Bartlett and Cottage Parks are beautiful grove-adorned resorts commanding fine views of the Blue Hills, Boston and the inner harbor.

[Cottage and Bartlett Parks, Winthrop, Mass.]

The assessed area is 829 acres, and there are about 8 miles of beach. Shade and ornamental trees are scattered freely along the streets, about the dwellings and among the summer cottages. Apple, pear, peach and other fruit trees are numerous. The farms are fast becoming divided into cottage lots, and but one manufactory, a currier's shop, is now standing; the town is fast building up, not only as a summer resort, but an all-the-year round place of residence for Boston business men. In 1885 the fisheries, consisting wholly of lobsters, clams and perch, brought in $20,850. The population in 1885 was 1,370. In 1889 this had increased to 2,200 permanent inhabitants and a summer population of 6,000. The total valuation in 1889 was $3,278,465, the number of dwellings 786, the debt less than 2 per cent. of the valuation, the tax rate $13.50 on $1,000. The town has just completed a system of sewerage. The streets are lighted by electric lights, and pure water pumped from wells in Revere is supplied to every part of the town. A pressure of 75 pounds enables the town to maintain an efficient fire department without steam fire-engines. The town-ball contains the public library, town officers' rooms, etc. The square in front of the hall is ornamented by a beautiful fountain. Two recently erected school-houses afford accommodations for 8 schools. The Methodists, Baptists, Unitarians, Episcopalians and Roman Catholics each have church edifices, and at the beach are two union chapels where worship is conducted in the summer. The "Visitor," a weekly paper, gives the local news of the town. Winthrop votes unanimously against the sale of liquor, and the enforcement of this vote is the reason that the place is so remarkably free from rowdyism.

Winthrop was settled about the same time as Boston. Deane Winthrop, the sixth son of Gov. Winthrop, built a house here about 1649 which is still standing. Deane died here in 1704, and when in 1852 the town was set off from North Chelsea (now Revere) the name Winthrop became the legitimate appellation of the town. Winthrop was formerly called Pullen Point and Chelsea Point, and was a part of Boston until 1739, and then until 1846 it was a part of Chelsea.

pp. 709-710 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890