Sub Menu contents

About Revere, MA

Settled in the 1620s, Revere was first known as Rumney Marsh.  In 1634, it was annexed to Boston and on January 10, 1739, it was established as the town of Chelsea, along with Pullen Point (Winthrop) and Winnisimmet (Chelsea).  In 1846, Pullen Point and Rumney Marsh were incorporated into the town of North Chelsea.  In 1851 Pullen Point became Winthrop and North Chelsea adopted the name of Revere on March 24, 1871.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Jews poured into Revere from Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.  There were 137 Polish and Russian immigrants in Revere in 1885, most of them Jews, and 1,646 by 1915.  By 1920 there were 5,000 Jewish families in Revere and in 1940, Jews constituted approximately twenty-five percent of the city’s population.  Most of the Jews in Revere were concentrated around Shirley Avenue, which was the center of activity at that time.  With Jewish businesses, synagogues and kosher markets, it represented the vibrancy of Jewish life, faith and culture in Revere.  On Saturday night, all of the Jewish-owned businesses on Shirley Ave. would reopen after Shabbat and the streets would once again be filled with the vibrancy of Jewish life at that time.

Vilna
on the CD Yiddishe Renaissance
Used with permission
© The Klezmer Conservatory Band

Yiddishe Renaissance  Cover - The Klezmer Conservatory Band

Revere beach was the nexus of activity for adults and children alike.  Jewish teenagers from Revere, Chelsea, Winthrop, Malden and Everett would congregate on summer days at “Punk’s Corner” to socialize and enjoy the amusements that Revere Beach had to offer.  The beach served as a locale in which Jewish immigrants and their children came to embrace American culture in its entirety.  One of the most famous Jewish immigrants to settle in Revere was Mary Antin, who gained fame through her autobiography, The Promised Land.  In her account, she writes, “Into this grand cycle of the seaside day I came to live and learn and play….I came to live on the edge of the sea – I who had spent my life inland, believing that the great waters of the world were spread before me in the Dvina.”  The beach not only represented summertime leisure, but a sense of increasing opportunity for the immigrants who settled there.