Charlestown, the Boston neighborhood on a peninsula between the Mystic and Charles Rivers hold a key place in the nation's Revolutionary war past. A 221 foot granite obelisk rises above the community at Breed's Hill to commemorate the site of the American War for Independence. The Bunker Hill Monument, now maintained by the National... Show all »
Charlestown, the Boston neighborhood on a peninsula between the Mystic and Charles Rivers hold a key place in the nation's Revolutionary war past. A 221 foot granite obelisk rises above the community at Breed's Hill to commemorate the site of the American War for Independence. The Bunker Hill Monument, now maintained by the National Park Service is a visible reminder of the rich history of Charlestown.
Settled even earlier than Boston itself, Charlestown was laid out in 1629 and City Square still bears the elliptical street pattern designed by that period's first town planner, Thomas Graves. The British destroyed most of Charlestown by fire in 1775 and it wasn't rebuilt until after the Revolution in 1781. What are now the oldest buildings date from this time. These federalist structures, such as the Warren Tavern, built in 1780, are mainly around City Square. After this rebuilding, commercial activity centered around the wharves that brought sea trade to the Boston area. The Charlestown Navy Yard, built in 1800, continued to be a place for ship building until its closing and redevelopment after the Second World War.
One popular tourist destination is aboard the U.S.S. Constitution, the world's oldest warship still afloat. Commissioned in 1797, the frigate "Old Ironsides" served in the War of 1812. Charlestown expanded and benefited from innovations in transportation such as canals and the railroad. It was annexed by Boston in 1874. Today, renewal efforts are underway to improve the community, long blighted by elevated train platforms and industrial development.
Charlestown has quickly risen in desirability as a place to live and buy property. Most of Charlestown, especially the historic section around City Square Park has the look of other old Boston neighborhoods: gas street lamps and brick sidewalks beside multi-story colonial and federal style townhouses.
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