ERW Weekender: Bunker Hill Monument & Museum

Emerging Revolutionary War welcomes back guest historian Katie Turner Getty. 

Towering over Charlestown, Massachusetts, its foundation set in sacred battleground soil, the Bunker Hill Monument is a 221 foot obelisk commemorating the Battle of Bunker Hill. The cornerstone of the monument was laid by the Marquis De Lafayette in 1825, fifty years after the battle was fought on June 17, 1775.

Bunker Hill Monument (author collection)

Although the land surrounding the monument has been greatly developed since the battle, visitors today can get still get a sense of the 18th-century landscape just by walking through Charlestown and climbing the hill to reach Monument Square. Approaching visitors are greeted by the statue of Colonel William Prescott, the gray granite of the monument serving as an impressive backdrop behind him.

Once upon the summit of the hill, visitors can stroll the field surrounding the monument. More intrepid souls may climb 294 steps to reach the top of the monument and enjoy panoramic views of Boston.  There is also an adjacent lodge which is staffed by National Park Service Rangers. The lodge houses a revolutionary-era cannon and a statue of Major General Joseph Warren, the Boston doctor and leading Patriot who famously sent Paul Revere and William Dawes on their midnight rides. Warren, a father of four, was shot in the face and killed in the battle.

Directly across the street from the monument is the Bunker Hill Museum which houses several exhibits and artifacts including cannon balls used in the battle.

Also featured is a large diorama which aids visitors in visualizing the topography of Charlestown in 1775 in relation to Boston, as well as scenes of the battle.

The monument and the museum are located on Boston’s Freedom Trail and are within walking distance of downtown Boston.


*Katie Turner Getty is a lawyer, history enthusiast, and lifelong resident of Boston. She holds an A.A. from Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown, Massachusetts, a B.A. in History from Wellesley College, and a J.D. from New England Law Boston. She can often be found exploring historic sites both on and off the Freedom Trail.*

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