Named after Paul Revere, the Revolutionary War Patriot, Revere, Massachusetts is just a short five miles from downtown Boston and sits within Suffolk County on the north shore of the state. While the name may sound familiar because of its famous namesake, it’s well known for being home to the nation’s first public beach!
Revere Beach, a three-mile-long crescent-shaped beach that sits along the shoreline is nestled between the Lynn/Nahant borders and Winthrop along Broad Sound of Massachusetts Bay. From the sand, you can see vistas on the Nahant peninsula and Winthrop as well as gorgeous views of the water and marine animals.
While we can all probably name a dozen beaches dotting the New England shoreline, Revere Beach was officially named the first public beach 125 years ago on July 12, 1896. Considered the “people’s beach,” Revere Beach attracted people from all over the state including families, vacationers, and people from all walks of life.
Revere Beach is perfectly located close to Boston and surrounding cities and conveniently on major roads leading in and out of the city. Even in its early days, Revere Beach was easy to access on the Boston, Revere Beach, and Lynn Railroad. Today, there are three stops along the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority Blue Line at Beachmont, Revere Beach, and Wonderland, making it a perfect day trip for Bostonians and Bay Staters alike. In 2003, Revere Beach was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Then & Now
When we think about Revere Beach today, the International Sand Sculpting Contest or Kite Festival probably come to mind along with the amazing delicacies available along Revere Beach Boulevard, like Kelly’s Famous Roast Beef and Bianchi’s Pizza.
Historic reports state that on opening day, Revere Beach welcomed 45,000 patrons. Since that day millions more have visited the shoreline.
Over the decades, Revere Beach has developed many attractions including some famous additions earning itself the nickname the Coney Island of the East. Rides, carousels, fun houses, and (of course) roller coasters became fixtures at the beach. Two of the most famous on Revere Beach were the Lightning Roller Coaster and the Cyclone which made Revere a destination for thrill-seekers everywhere.
Amusement rides and parks became so popular that places like Wonderland became America’s first “self-contained amusement park and the model for Disney World,” according to Mass Moments.
Revere Beach was also well known for its fine dance pavilions. These included the Ocean Pier Ballroom, The Beachcroft, Nautical Gardens, The Frolic, Wonderland, and The Oceanview Ballroom.
Sadly, the heyday of the boulevard including the dancing and amusement rides struggled through some lean years in the 1960s and the ravages of Mother Nature during the Blizzard of 1978.
Thankfully, Revere Beach has been undergoing revitalization in recent decades. New events such as the International Sand Sculpting Contest held every year, a rebuilt footbridge and pavilions as well as the addition of many restaurants, hotels, and shops have contributed to the rejuvenation of the area.