25 Shea Memorial Dr, Weymouth, MA 02190, USA
Owned By: Union Point
This small playground is located in a sunny spot within the Union Point development, on the site of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station. There is a small play structure and a set of swings, with wood chips underfoot. The South Field Dog Park and Shea Memorial Grove are both immediately adjacent. Also an access point for the Union Point Northern Gateway Trail Network.
Some history: Naval Air Station South (NAS) Weymouth was commissioned on this site in March 1942, however construction work began in the late fall of 1941, a few months before the United States entered World War II. Originally the base operated blimp combat patrols. During the Battle of the Atlantic, blimps based here helped protect U.S. ships from German submarines.
The base was downgraded to a Naval Air Facility after WWII. The blimp hangars were repurposed as storage for war surplus naval aircraft. In 1949, the base was redesigned as a Naval Auxiliary Landing Field. In 1950, after the closure of NAS Squantum in Quincy, South Weymouth became the new home of the Navy and Marine Air Reserve training program. Between 1951 and 1953, three new runways were constructed, and other improvements were made to support the reserves. One blimp hangar was demolished at this time. The other remained in place until November 1966.
In December 1953 the base was recommissioned as a Naval Air Station. It remained a reserve training base throughout the Cold War era, and also hosted the Naval Air Development Unit (NADU), a secretive research & development command. NADU aircraft provided flight testing support for military research.
After the end of the Cold War in 1991, NAS South Weymouth was among many military bases nationwide that were selected for closure. The last aircraft took off from the base in September 1996, and the official closure took place on September 30, 1997.
The former Naval Air Station is now being developed as Union Point, with a variety of uses. The transformation is far from complete, which makes this a fascinating place to visit. Old barracks, bunkers, and other buildings, plus fences, roads and gates offer glimpses of the military past. Please be mindful of private property.
This land is within the region of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe.
The South Field Playground is one of many access points to the Union Point Northern Gateway Trail network.
Habitats and Wildlife
The playground is located in an open field, with a dog park right next door. Nearby are some wetlands and relatively young woodlands with pine, oak, beech, red maple and white birch. The property lies within the watershed of the Weymouth Back River. Its waters flow northeast toward Whitman’s Pond and the Weymouth Back River. The Weymouth Back River flows for about 10 miles, and empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Hingham Bay, just south of Grape Island and Slate Island.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Mid-sized on-site parking lot.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Dogs: There is a dog park right next door.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Weymouth Back River