June 17, 2018 is the 243rd anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, an event we mark in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as Bunker Hill Day. It falls on Father’s Day this year, so instead of watching war reenactments on the History Channel, why not take Dad out to bone up on some local history?
- Celebrate the belated birthday of Bunker Hill Hero Joseph Warren today or any day (his birthday is June 11) with a trip to his namesake landmark the Warren Tavern, a fine establishment dating back to 1780 and frequented back in the day by Warren’s good friend, Paul Revere.
- Kick off the weekend early and celebrate Flag Day by visiting Memorial Hall and joining the Abraham Lincoln Post 11, Grand Army of the Republic for a Flag Retirement Ceremony, Thursday June 14 at 6:00 pm.
- Visit Charlestown on Saturday June 16 for Bunker Hill Family Fun Day. There will be music, art projects for kids, talks led by the excellent National Park Service Rangers, musket-firing demonstrations, and much more. And it’s free! All Dads love free things!
- Visit the Bunker Hill Monument for the “Decisive Day” guided tour offered by the Boston National Historic Park, which departs daily every half hour.
- Head out to Quincy to the Adams National Historical Park on Sunday June 17 for the special event “Bunker Hill to Penn’s Hill,” where you can learn about Abigail Adams and young John Quincy Adams, who watched the battle rage from ten miles away atop Penn’s Hill.
If you don’t have time to get out this weekend, here are the Top Ten Things You Should Know About Charlestown and the Battle of Bunker Hill according to our Head of Research & Instruction and Charlestown denizen, Becky Morin
1) The Battle of Bunker Hill was mostly fought on Breed’s Hill. That’s where the Monument is. Bunker Hill is actually taller and steeper, and is home to the lovely Saint Francis de Sales, a beautiful Roman Catholic church dedicated in 1862. If you don’t know which hill is which, we know you’re a tourist.2) Charlestown was actually not part of the City of Boston when the Battle took place. Charlestown is OLDER than Boston (as any proud Townie will gladly inform you), and did not become part of the City until 1874.
3) Charlestown is where Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride really kicked off. He was ferried in a rowboat from Boston, landing near the Charlestown Battery, where he picked up a horse from his friend Deacon John Larkin, a lifelong Charlestown resident.
4) There is debate as to why the Colonial forces fortified Breed’s Hill instead of Bunker Hill, although many think it is because Breed’s Hill is closer to Boston. The British had planned the siege to capture Bunker Hill, as they wanted to dig in fortifications on the area’s highest points.
5) It took the British three attempts to capture Breed’s Hill, even though their numbers were far greater than the Colonial forces.
6) Charlestown burned after the Battle, the first of two major fires to strike the community.
7) Proud Charlestown residents still fly the Bunker Hill Battle Flag.8) While the British defeated the Colonists at the Battle of Bunker Hill, they suffered severe casualties and the Siege of Boston came to a stalemate.
9) The Bunker Hill Monument (which you now know is on Breed’s Hill) is 221 feet tall and was completed in 1842.
10) Beloved French hero of the American Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette, is said to be buried beneath a sprinkling of soil from Bunker Hill, procured by his son.
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