Monday, December 24, 2012

Bunker HIll Monument

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Photos of, and from, the Bunker Hill Monument, in the historic Charlestown neighborhood of Boston, across the Charles River from downtown. I'd wandered across the river to see the USS Constitution, and decided I'd take in the Bunker Hill Monument while I was in the area. I was mostly interested in taking photos from an elevated location so I'd have some semi-panoramic shots of the city, and I'm surprised how few pics I took of the outside of the monument. It's your basic obelisk, along the lines of the Washington Monument, but it's a bit shorter and wider and projects a sense of extreme solidness. I don't know if that was intended to represent the spirit of the hill's doomed defenders, but it succeeds in doing that.

For those of you who slept through Revolutionary War trivia, this spot, the site of the famous battle, is actually Breed's Hill, not nearby Bunker Hill. The confusion started almost immediately and there's no disentangling it now. I just thought I'd pass this bit of trivia along because it's a favorite of annoying history pedants, and now you're either armed against such people, or armed to become one of them, whichever you prefer.

Honestly though, I'm more intrigued by the engineering aspects of the monument than about the battle it commemorates. It was completed in 1843, less than 70 years after the battle, which -- speaking as a West Coast native here -- makes it absurdly old for what it is. One of the nation's first railroads was constructed just to transport the monument's huge granite blocks. Inside, there's a 294 step spiral staircase to the top, which like the exterior gives a feeling of extreme solidness. In that respect the contrast with Oregon's Astoria Column couldn't be greater. I was embarrassingly tired once I reached the top. The windows aren't that great, but I got the photos I came for. Eventually I took the stairs back down, which was obviously a lot easier, and wandered off to find the nearest brewpub, which Boston has a few of. Mmmm... beer...

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