Piercing the sky in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the Bunker Hill Monument is as grand as the history it commemorates. It stands atop the site where the first skirmish took place between the American Patriots and the British forces during the American Revolutionary War. The 221-foot-tall obelisk is an extremely impressive memorial. The monument is one of the sites featured along the Freedom Trail and is part of Boston National Historical Park.
It was built between 1825 and 1843 and was an incredible feat of engineering and persistence. The granite was sourced and transferred to the site from nearby Quincy via a purpose-built granite railway; it then took a short journey by barge before reaching the site itself. In 2007, the monument endured renovation works that cost around £3.7 million and included new lighting, restricted mobility access, improvements, and repairs. In June of the same year, the Bunker Hill Museum across the road was dedicated and now includes many exhibits and historical texts relating to the battle. There is no charge levied for admission to either site.
It was 50 years after the battle when the Marquis De Lafayette set the cornerstone that would later become the Bunker Hill Monument, a tribute in memory of the many soldiers whose blood was spilt on either side on that fateful day. It was an ambitious project that took over 17 years to complete, but it can also proudly claim to be one of the first true American monuments. The site, also known as Breed’s Hill, marks the spot where provincial forces built an earthen fort, or redoubt, before the battle. It was here where they would have made their final stand and it is the focal point of the battle’s memorial.
Before the Bunker Hill Monument, there stood a wooden pillar measuring 18 feet and topped with a gilt urn. This monument was erected by the King Solomon’s Lodge of Masons in 1794 and was dedicated to the honor of Dr. Joseph Warren, fallen patriot and freemason. In 1823, citizens across the country came together under the name of the Bunker Hill Monument Association with the aim of building a more significant and permanent monument to the fallen. The construction was not an easy process and the association twice ran short of funding, having to halt progress altogether. They held fundraisers and sold off parts of the surrounding land for housing in order to pay for the project. After completion, they decided to also build a statue of Dr. Joseph Warren in honor of the original monument and in dedication to the sacrifice he gave in the battle.
Whether you’re travelling to Massachusetts for other business or passing through on the Freedom Trail, this stunning memorial is an important piece of American history. The sacrifice of the patriots who died here fighting for freedom is the blood that fed into the beating heart of what is now known as the United States of America.