Boston started here. Charlestown was a thriving settlement a year before colonials headed across the Charles River at William Blaxton's invitation to found the city proper. Today the district's attractions include two of the most visible—and vertical—monuments in Boston: the Bunker Hill Monument, which commemorates the grisly battle that became a symbol of patriotic resistance against the British, and the USS Constitution, whose masts continue to tower over the waterfront where it was built more than 200 years ago.
The blocks around the Bunker Hill Monument are a good illustration of how gentrification has changed the neighborhoods. Along streets lined with gas lamps are impeccably restored Federal and mid-19th-century town houses; cheek by jowl are working-class quarters of similar vintage but more modest recent pasts. Near the Navy Yard along Main Street is City Square, the beginning of Charlestown's main commercial district, which includes City Square Park, with brick paths and bronze fish sculptures. On Phipps Street is the grave marker of John Harvard, a minister who in 1638 bequeathed his small library to the fledgling Cambridge College, thereafter renamed in his honor. The precise location of the grave is uncertain, but a monument from 1828 marks its approximate site.
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USS Cassin Young
From a later date than the Constitution, this destroyer saw action in Asian waters during World War II. She served…Learn More >
Charlestown Navy Yard
A National Park Service Historic Site since it was decommissioned in 1974, the Charlestown Navy Yard was one of six…Learn More >
Bunker Hill Monument
Three misunderstandings surround this famous monument. First, the Battle of Bunker Hill was actually fought on Breed's Hill, which is…Learn More >