Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charlestown in Suffolk County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
 

City Square:

Continuity and Change

 
 
City Square: Continuity and Change image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 13, 2012
1. City Square: Continuity and Change
Inscription.
Native American Settlement

Native American occupation of the Charlestown peninsula predates European settlements by approximately 10,000 years. Archaeological evidence, such as tools made of stone, bone, wood, and shells, suggests the early Natives were hunters of wild animals and gatherers of plant foods.

As early as 1000 B.C. Natives used local clay deposits to create pottery. Speakers of the Algonquin languages, local Native Americans formed alliances with tribes throughout the region. By the early -17th Century, the Native people had become agriculturalists, living in semi- permanent villages adjacent to their corn field.---------

English Settlement and Colonial Era (1629-1775)
Charlestown was settled on June 24, 1629 by Thomas Graves, an engineer dispatched from England to prepare a site for the newly-chartered Massachusetts Bay Company.

With the assistance of 100 colonists from Salem, Graves laid out the town and oversaw the construction of the Governor's residence, known as the "Great House." In June 1630, Governor John Winthrop moved into the Great House, which briefly served as the Company's meeting house and seat of government until Winthrop relocated to the Shawmut peninsula in October of 1630. This area was the heart of a thriving commercial port, and maintained its civic prominence

Town Hall image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 13, 2012
2. Town Hall
This 1857 scene of public celebration shows the Town Hall of 1818 and the square as it appeared during the first half of the 19th century. Ballou's Pictorial April 18, 1857, Volume 15, Number 10 (Boston Athenaeum)
through the colonial era s the location of the town's tavern, meeting house (1716), and court house (1735). This center of commerce, religion and government served as a marketplace for the colonists and the site of the town's stocks, whipping posts and pillory. Charlestown was destroyed by bombardment and fire on June 17, 1775 during the Battle of Bunker Hill.---------

Charlestown Square (1776-1846)
After the famous battle, the town voted to enlarge the open space and the area became known as Charlestown Square. By the close of the 18th century, new wharves, warehouses, ropewalks and shipyards bordered the square to the south and east. Transportation improvements, such as the 1786 and 1828 bridges to Boston, the 1803 Chelsea Bridge, and the arrival of the railroad in 1836, transformed the area into a busy crossroads and prosperous commercial center.-------

City Square (1847-1974)
In 1847, when Charlestown was incorporated as a city, hotels and boarding houses surrounded City Square, catering to travelers arriving by water and rail. the square was substantially transformed by post-Civil War public improvements, including a new City Hall, a grand hotel, and a ornamental park. Although its role as a civic center diminished following Charlestown's annexation to Boston in 1874, the square retained its commercial vitality. For most of the twentieth

Route 1/Interstate 93 image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 13, 2012
3. Route 1/Interstate 93
Aerial view of the route 1/Interstate 93 interchange prior to May 1987. City Square is indicated at the center of the photograph overshadowed by highway ramps (Massachusetts Highway Department)
century, City Square was cast into shadow by dense tangle of elevated transportation structures, including the 1901elevated railway and the late 1950s expressway. -------

Rebirth of City Square (1975-1996)
Following years of neighborhood advocacy to reclaim this dark, blighted area as open space,the elevated railway was removed in 1975 and the highway viaducts were replaced by tunnels in 1994. Today, the City Square Historical and Archaeological Site is honored as a designated Boston Landmark and City Square has regained its status as a major gateway to Charlestown.
 
Location. 42° 22.287′ N, 71° 3.705′ W. Marker is in Charlestown, Massachusetts, in Suffolk County. Marker is on City Square. Touch for map. City Square Park. Marker is in this post office area: Charlestown MA 02129, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Great House (within shouting distance of this marker); Charlestown Training Field/Winthrop Square (within shouting distance of this marker); Court of the Assistants (within shouting distance of this marker); The Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Old North Church

City Square: Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 13, 2012
4. City Square: Marker
Construction of Route 1/Interstate 93 highway tunnels beneath City Square Park. 1991 (Peter Vanderwarker)
(about 300 feet away); Vietnam/Korean Conflict Memorial (about 400 feet away); Deacon Larkin House (about 700 feet away); Tudor Wharves (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charlestown.
 
Categories. Colonial EraMan-Made Features
 
View of Charlestown Square, Circa 1870, with city Hall (1869) in background showing formal circular image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 13, 2012
5. View of Charlestown Square, Circa 1870, with city Hall (1869) in background showing formal circular
View of City Square, Circa 1899 with Waverly House, the largest hotel in the Square (Bostonian Society) ------} Looking across City Square from the balcony of Waverly House, Circa 1891 (Bostonian Society) ---------} Elevated Trolley System at City Square Station, circa 1909 (SPNEA)
City Square: Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 13, 2012
6. City Square: Marker
View of the Attack on Bunker Hill, With the burning of Charlestown June 17, 1775. Drawn by Mr. Millan Engraved by Lodge 1839 (SPNEA) -----} The native Americans were knoweledgeble fishermen, catching fish from the shore using Spears or fish or on the water from their dugouts canoes (PAI)
City Square: Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 13, 2012
7. City Square: Marker
South View of Charlestown, Mass., from across Boston Harbor Drawn by J.W Barber Engraved by SE Brown 1839 (SPNEA)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 11, 2012, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 318 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on October 11, 2012, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement