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  • Bunker Hill MonumentBunker Hill Monument Boston, Massachusetts
    The Bunker Hill Monument was constructed to honor the Battle of Bunker Hill, that was fought here on June 17, 1775, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. The 221 foot granite obelisk was erected sometime between 1827 and 1843, using granite from nearby Quincy, shipped by the Granite Railway that was built just for that, and then followed by a trip via barge. It houses 294 steps that go all the way to the top of the famous monument, which isn't on top of Bunker Hill, but on Breed's Hill, where the majority of the fighting took place. The monument association had to sell all the surrounding land so that it could finish the monument, after having bought the entire battlefield site. It was one of the first such sites in the United States, built to commemorate the battle which was the first major conflict between the British and Patriot forces in the Revolutionary War. The original monument was built to honor Mason and fallen Bunker Hill hero Dr. Joseph Warren in 1794, by King Solomon's Lodge of Masons and stood only 18 feet tall. It was merely a wooden pillar with a gilt urn on the top, and in front of that, a statue of Colonel William Prescott, Groton, Connecticut native, who was also a hero at the battle. Some attribute the old saying, which was famous during the Revolutionary War, which stated, "don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes; to Prescott, but difficult to be sure since other writers have given honor to Gridley, Putnam, Stark or Prescott. In the late 19th century, a statue of Warren and a diorama of the battle is showcased in the exhibit lodge sitting next to the monument. The hill is one of the famous sites along the Freedom Trail and also part of the Boston National Historical park. In 2007, a $3.7 million restoration project was completed, that improved handicap accessibility improvements, repairs and new lighting for the monument. The Bunker Hill museum is located across the street from the monument and opened on June 17, 2007 and contains many marvelous exhibits about the exciting battle that many felt started the war in earnest. William Ticknor, well known Boston lawyer and antiquitarian, suggested the memorial to a group of men that met for breakfast at the home of Colonel Thomas Handasyd Perkins. Those assembled here were; George Blake, William Tudor, George Ticknor, Dr. John C. Warren, William Sullivan and Daniel Webster. In May, 1823, each person gave five dollars, and the Bunker Hill Monument Association was formed and the arduous task of raising money began. Well known 19th century philanthropist Amos Lawrence gave $10,000 to get it going and in 1825, the directors bought around 15 acres on the slope of Breed's Hill, although there wasn't any specific design yet. The first design committee included; Daniel Webster, Loammi Baldwin, Jr., George Ticknor, Washington Allston and Gilbert Stuart and they offered $100 for the best design. Over 50 plans came in and eventually a couple were picked that had a column and the other an obelisk. Another committee was started to get designs and expenses for each, and the next meeting, the majority voted for the obelisk that was designed by Solomon Willard; and the cornerstone was laid in June, 1825. The Marquis de Lafayette was doing a 14 month tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of the war, and did the ceremony, with Daniel Webster giving the oration and the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, gave the services, Rev. Joseph Thaxter, wounded in the battle, was the chaplain there and gave a prayer in thanks for the colonies victory.

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  • Boston Tea Party Ship & MuseumBoston Tea Party Ship and Museum Boston, Massachusetts
    In December of 1773, always cold for that time of year in Boston, Massachusetts, and the rest of New England for that matter, a group of rebellious soon to become American colonists, about 5000 strong, marched along the streets from the Old South Meeting House to Griffin's Wharf on Boston Harbor, protesting the British tax on imported tea. The crowds lining the streets saw a ragtag group of men dressed up in Mohawk Indian garb, board the ships tied to the docks and started chopping the crates with their tomahawks and dumped thousands of pounds of tea into the bay waters. The incredible event soon became known as the Boston Tea Party, and by many is considered the spark that started the Revolutionary War and unified patriots all across the 13 colonies.  Sometime in the morning of December 17, 1773, a young man named John Robinson picked up a souvenir tea chest from the Boston Tea Party, that occurred the night before. That tea chest has become known as the Robinson tea chest, and has survived over two centuries to become a symbol of the American freedom and the birth of our nation. John would later serve in the war, and then marry a younger wife named Nancy Holden, who preserved the chest in her possession until the early mid 19th century when she gave this heirloom to her relative, Solomon Shaffstall. Finally it was found in Laredo, Texas, and has been returned to its former home in Boston, and is now part of the museum's collection, Historic Tours of American, Inc. and the museum. The Robinson Tea Chest held marvelous historical information including the testimony of Solomon Shaffstall, and all the pertinent data related to the chest. It is one of two known surviving chests from that tea party, when altogether some 342 chests were thrown into the Boston harbor. Incised on the bottom of the chest is a Nine Man Morris board, a game that was very popular in the 18th century and laboratories have proved that it was partially and temporarily submerged in salt water, and the lid had been hacked away by blows, suggesting it was chopped open.  This is just one of the magnificent relics that are being housed in the fantastic museum. It is a definite place to visit, for those American history buffs who enjoy visiting these museums that have given us some kind of knowledge about the early days of our country.

January 11, 2011