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The Bunker Hill Monument is a 221 foot tall granite obelisk built to commemorate the bloody “Battle of Bunker Hill” that took place in 1775, the first major battle of the American Revolutionary War. The monument actually sits on top of Breed’s Hill, which is where most of the fighting really took place…history just got the name wrong somewhere along the line. This is where the American commanders urged the troops, ‘Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.” I can remember my high school history teacher attempting to dramatically re-enact that moment during the unit on the revolutionary war in the hopes of capturing our imaginations (or interest.) Mr. Haugeto, I may have passing notes and chatting incessantly during your AHAP class, but see…I did hear you!
Although the British claimed victory here, it came at a great cost to them. Of the 2400 British soldiers fighting in the Battle of Bunker Hill, 1000 were killed or wounded. Eventually the British commander was replaced by another who retreated from the area once GW came to town, rather than risk another bloodbath.
The obelisk was built in the early 1800s over a period of 17 years. The adjoining Bunker Hill Lodge was built in 1901. If you wish to climb the steps to the top of the obelisk, you must enter through the lodge. My husband and daughter made the climb. I started out with them, but felt a little claustrophobic so waited for them on the lawn, taking pictures of the grounds.
We walked to the monument from the Charlestown Naval Yard (see that post here) by following the Freedom Trail. The Freedom trail is a 2.5 mile path of bricks inset into the pavement that passes by 16 historical sites in Boston that are a part of Boston National Historical Park.
After visiting the monument, we picked the trail back up at the bottom of the hill and went to the Bunker Hill Museum across the street. This museum is housed in an old building that used to be the Charlestown branch of the Boston Public Library. We perused the exhibits there, learned a thing or two, and cooled off in the blessed air conditioning.
Location: Monument Sq, Charlestown, MA 02129
Designation: National Historical Park
Date designation declared: 1/20/1961
Date of my visit: 7/15/2015