Health & Environment Photos & Videos

Restored 1969 Aerial Video of Boston Harbor, Waterfront and Islands

Video note: Forward through first minute which is black.

Fans of dirty old Boston will enjoy this recently restored aerial video of 1969 footage, focusing on the harbor islands and waterfront. The film was shared by former North End resident (Fulton St.) and co-creator Larry Rosenblum along with Derek Lamb and producer Stanley Jacks. Larry explains,

This film was produced as part of a study by MIT for the state legislature about the character and conditions of Boston Harbor. It was produced in anticipation of the harbor, and particularly Thompson Island and the South Boston waterfront, being used for a water-spanning pavilion that would serve to anchor the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration. This was the BRA’s early plan to kill two birds at once – draw attention to Boston as the national focus of the Bicentennial, and kick-start the clean-up of Boston Harbor. Fortunately, the second one happened.

Early in the video, the old Central Artery comes to life with fascinating closeup scenes of Logan Airport. At about 4:30 in the video, the aerial turns to flyovers of the Boston Harbor Islands, showcasing incredible details of the time. The pollution and industrial characteristics are in full display before the construction of the Deer Island treatment facility. The dump on Spectacle Island is highlighted with descriptive stories about Long Island, Fort Strong and the cannon bunkers. Thompson Island is described as the most conserved island amid general misuse of the harbor at the time.

This reproduction was made available courtesy University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston – SC-0175: Volunteers and Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands Inc. records. Learn more at

3 Replies to “Restored 1969 Aerial Video of Boston Harbor, Waterfront and Islands

  1. This is an INCREDIBLE find…Cannot believe how the areas looked just a few decades ago!…Boston has done SO well to be where we are NOW!!! 🙂

  2. Great video Matt. Boston is amazing and truly one of the finest cities. oft times known as being very European.

  3. Amazing footage. Man if this is not an amazing example of progress than I don’t know what is. Hat’s off to the tens of thousands of people who saw this vision and made it a reality.

    We cannot take it for granted. Let’s all carry on the torch!

    A much needed dose of optimism and the power of hard work and ingenuity.

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