Open main menu

The New International Encyclopædia/Charlestown (Massachusetts)

< The New International Encyclopædia

CHARLESTOWN. Formerly a city of Middlesex County, Mass., now incorporated with Boston (q.v.).

Charlestown was settled in 1629, by a small company from Salem, and was organized as a town in 1634. The territory originally within its limits has from time to time been divided up to form the towns of Woburn, Malden, Stoneham, Burlington, and Somerville, and parts of Medford, Cambridge, Arlington, and Reading. The battle of Bunker Hill was fought here on June 17, 1775, when the British set fire to the town, destroying 320 buildings, valued at $525,000. The battle is commemorated by the Bunker Hill Monument, a granite shaft 220 feet high, which was completed in 1843, the cornerstone of which was laid by General Lafayette, with appropriate ceremonies, in 1825, Daniel Webster delivering a notable address on each occasion. In 1873, its population then being 23,373, Charlestown was annexed to Boston. Consult: Frothingham, History of Charlestown (Boston, 1845), and Hunnewell, A Century of Town Life, a History of Charlestown from 1775 to 1887 (Boston, 1888).