Enjoy breathtaking views of Boston and delve into the region’s revolutionary history at this iconic granite monument.
No trip to Boston is complete without a visit to the Bunker Hill Monument, a soaring granite obelisk dedicated to one of the Revolutionary War’s most important conflicts. Climb this grand monument for sensational city views and delve into the story behind this rare American memorial to an American defeat.
In 1775, after skirmishes in Lexington and Concord left the hated British encamped in Boston, a poorly trained, ill-equipped group of colonial forces marched toward the city by night with orders to fortify Bunker Hill. However, they actually fortified nearby Breed’s Hill, much closer to the British than planned. Provoked, the highly professional British troops torched nearby settlements and marched upon the hastily erected defenses.
Read the history of the revolutionary forces’ stern opposition. “They advanced towards us in order to swallow us up,” one American soldier wrote, “but they found a Choaky mouthful of us.” With limited ammunition, and in dense fog, the colonials withheld their fire until the British were close enough to see the whites of their eyes. After a ferocious conflict, the British proved victorious, but their losses were so great and the resolve of the colonials so strong that they gave up their plans to occupy another high point near the city. Ultimately, faced with the prospect of further dreadful losses against a determined rebel force, they evacuated Boston.
Bunker Hill Monument commemorates this crucial battle with a 221-foot (67.3-meter) granite obelisk. While admiring the bold memorial, remember the difficulties of its construction: It took 17 years to build, as the project kept running out of money and a commercial railroad needed to be built to deliver the granite.
Climb 294 steps to reach the top of the obelisk and enjoy spectacular city views that will reward you for your exertions. If you would rather not climb, simply relax in the surrounding park, a beloved spot for Frisbee throwers and dog walkers. The monument is accompanied by a fine museum next door.
The Bunker Hill Monument is open daily. Admission to both the monument and museum is free. Call in advance for information regarding tours.