Revere Beach in Massachusetts was founded in 1895 and was actually the first public beach in the United States – “the first to be set aside and governed by a public body for the enjoyment of the common people.” It had started to become popular twenty years previously when the Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad came to the beach suddenly making it accessible and popular.
From the beginning Revere Beach was always described as the “people’s beach”. It was used by the working class and immigrants who had chosen to live in or near the area. In 1909 visitors were described as “industrious, well-behaved and a really desirable class of people, of many nationalities to be sure, but neighborly and polite…with one another.”
In addition to the sand, surf and amusements, there were two roller skating rinks, two bowling alleys and numerous food stands. There were also the ballrooms, including the most famous, the Oceanview and the Beachview, each the site of many dance marathons, popular in the 1930s.
Leslie Jones, who worked at the Boston Herald-Traveler newspaper between the years 1917 and 1956, was modest about his abilities as a photographer and he would call himself a camera-man, not a photojournalist. During his life he produced an incredible 40,000 negatives.
All photographs courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection