Charlesbank Beach – Boston MA


Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) workers constructed a bathing beach and recreation site along the Charles River by the end of Longfellow Bridge, in 1936. The project included a baseball diamond, benches, and shelters. WPA Bulletin:

Children from Boston’s hot and overcrowded West and North Ends, from Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Downtown, and East Cambridge, are smiling at the heat.

For now, within short hiking distance, at the Boston end of the West Boston Bridge, WPA has built a bathing beach and recreation site.

Charlesbank Beach, official title of the WPA Project, has proved to be one of the most popular swimming places in this section of the state. It is daily crowded with hundreds of children.

This is but one of more than 30 WPA Bathing Beach Projects throughout Massachusetts which have employed more than 2000 workers.

Charlesbank Beach runs 300 feet along the Charles River, has a deep, gently sloped, fine-sanded beach and extends back 120 feet to Charles Street.

A wide concrete sidewalk, above the sanded section of the beach, winds more than 1400 feet along the Metropolitan recreational site.
Back from the beach is a regulation baseball diamond equipped with a large screen to protect the bathers. Benches and shelters are stationed at intervals.

Children are not the only ones to benefit. Family groups, young men and young women freely use this easily reached spot.

Tan is the predominating color. Automobile inner tubes are the most popular form of life preservers. And, though the beach as yet doesn’t sport many gaily striped umbrellas or other exclusive beach trappings, children of Boston wouldn’t swap this spot for any beach in the nation.

Source notes

Works Progress Bulletin, Massachusetts: Aug. 14, 1936 (pg. 2)

Project originally submitted by Evan Kalish on January 11, 2017.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Charles River shore
Boston, MA

Location notes: Approx. location

Coordinates: 42.362194, -71.072741

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