Gingerbread and Pancake Islands – Providence, Rhode Island - Atlas Obscura

Gingerbread and Pancake Islands

The origin of these small islands' sweet names is a local mystery. 

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The Seekonk River’s “twin islands” have been a bit of a mystery for quite some time. Located a little north of the Washington Bridge, these islands are within the eyeshot of many, but seldom noticed because they seem to be nothing more than chunks of dirt and rock. But if one happened to be checking out the area on Google Maps, their eyes might catch a pair of curious names on the river: Gingerbread and Pancake Islands.

In the 19th century, they were known simply as the “Twin Islands,” and H.P. Lovecraft once mentioned them by that name in one of his personal writings, associating the islands with hidden pirate treasure. Not a single piece of eight has been found so far, however.

The breakfast-ready names have been recorded since 1930, but their origins remain uncertain. While some navigational charts, such as those issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, leave the islands unnamed, suggesting that the names may not be official, they can be found on the U.S. Board of Geographic Names list, making their statuses a little ambiguous. The fact that they are also called Cup-Cake Islands by said list does not help, either. 

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October 26, 2022

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