Boston Art Commission

« back

Click on thumbnails to view additional images of this piece:
  • bunker hill
  • BHM_image

Bunker Hill Monument

Artist:

Solomon Willard

Location:

Monument Square  

Location

Monument Square
United States
42° 22' 35.0076" N, 71° 3' 37.9476" W

Neighborhood:

Charlestown

Type:

Obelisk

Year:

1884

Medium:

Granite

Collection:

US Department of the Interior

Funders:

Description:

The Bunker Hill Monument on Breed’s Hill commemorates the battle fought there on June 17, 1775 between Colonial forces and the British army.  The Colonists had fortified the hill, one of the high points commanding the city of Boston and its harbor. Behind their fortifications, the Colonists repulsed two major assaults. It was here that Colonel William Prescott reportedly commanded his troops not to fire on the enemy until they could “see the whites of their eyes.”  At the third assault, their gunpowder exhausted, the Colonists had to give way. In the first major battle of the American Revolution, the British had suffered a thousand casualties, half their army, and the Colonists, about five hundred, almost a third of their force. Although the British had won, the Colonial forces had proven themselves a formidable opponent.

The monument is a granite obelisk 221 feet high. Inside, visitors may climb the 294 steps to the top for amazing views from the windows. The monument was completed in 1842 and dedicated on July 17, 1843. It is the first major monument erected in the United States to commemorate the Revolutionary War, and may well be the first major public monument of any kind to be erected in the United States.

Photo credit:

Peter H. Dreyer slide collection, Collection #9800.007, City of Boston Archives, Boston

Audio Description: