Category Archives: Uncategorized

250th Anniversary of Dr. Joseph Warren Boston Massacre Oration

Get Your Ticket To History
Next Saturday, March 5, 2022 marks the 250th anniversary of Dr.
Joseph Warren’s first Boston Massacre Oration. The Charlestown Historical Society is honored to host
Revolution250, the National Park Service, the
Massachusetts Sons of the American
Revolution, the Henry Knox Color Guard, and
the Massachusetts Freemasons to
commemorate this monumental anniversary
in American history. Join authors and
historians Dr. Robert Allison, Katie
Turner Getty and Christian DiSpigna as we explore aspects surrounding the Massacre and Dr. Warren’s Orations.

250th Anniversary of Dr. Joseph Warren’s Boston Massacre Oration
Saturday, March 5, 2022
6 pm
Memorial Hall
Green Street
Charlestown, Mass.

Buy tickets here

Dr. Joseph Warren’s Boston Massacre Oration of 1772 contains a succinct exposition of American Liberty based on Enlightenment natural rights, framed in belief in God as well as Roman Republican and Pilgrim virtues. His aspirational view for America as “a land of Liberty, seat of virtue…” set a high bar for Patriot activism.
He delivered the speech on the second anniversary of the outbreak of violence between occupying British troops and rowdy street protesters. He seems to speak to subsequent generations of Americans just as he addressed his immediate overflow audience at Boston’s Old South Meeting House.

Warren, Joseph. An Oration Delivered March 5th, 1772. At the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston; to Commemorate the Bloody Tragedy of the Fifth of March, 1770.

Charlestown Civil War Veterans Photograph Project

Please consider supporting the Charlestown Historical Society and our fundraiser to refurbish the Charlestown Civil War Veterans frames to their original glory. These frames were rescued by the Charlestown Historical Society from the trash a few years ago and are in dire need of professional repair. These four frames feature the brave Townies who fought for the union of our country in 1861-1865.

To make donations, please send to:

Arthur Hurley
P.O. Box 291776
Charlestown, MA 02129

Or use our Paypal account

Charlestown Preservation Society Historic House Tour

house frontage

Come tour some of Charlestown’s wonderful historic houses on Saturday, September 20 from 11am to 4pm at the 2014 CPS Historic House Tour, followed by a Lemonade Reception from 4 to 5pm.

The tour starts at Memorial Hall, 14 Green Street opposite the Boys and Girls Club, where you can buy tickets and pick up your tour booklet and where the lemonade reception will be held.

Tour-goers can travel the tour on foot or by a complimentary shuttle van. There will shuttle stops along the house tour route.

Take a chance on a 50/50 Raffle to support preservation in Charlestown.  You can buy raffle tickets for $5 at Memorial Hall on tour day.  The winner will be announced during the reception, and you don’t need to be present to win.

Get a discount on your tour ticket when you join the CPS or renew your membership. 
You May Purchase Your Tickets Online At:

Or Purchase tickets at Charlestown florists, real estate offices and retailers, or at Hammond Residential in Charlestown, our Official Tour Sponsor, and on tour day at Memorial Hall.

Tickets In Advance
CPS Members     $23
Non-Members     $28

Tickets on Tour Day
CPS Members     $28
Non-Members      $33

Carl Zellner Memorial Service

A memorial service and celebration of Carl Zellner’s life will be held at the Bunker Hill Museum 43 Monument Sq. Charlestown on September 7, 2014 at 2 pm. 

carl zellner

ZELLNER, Carl A. 78, of Palmyra, FL, formerly of Charlestown, MA, passed away Sunday, 29 June, at Cape Cod Hospital, Hyannis, MA, with family at his side.

Carl was born 4 October 1935 to Gladys and August Zellner in Oklahoma City, OK. There he graduated Classen High School. His further education included: Principia College, BA degree, University of Washington, MA degree and his doctoral work at Harvard.

Carl’s career as a city planner spanned many decades and impacted the layout of many cities, towns, and highways. He also spent a few years in the US Coast Guard, active duty in Alaska, before joining the USCG Reserves where he rose to the rank of Captain, O6, before retiring.

He was preceded in death by his first wife Beverley, 1934-96.

His legacy: son Charles Zellner and wife Susan, Lehighton, PA., Carla Smith and husband Jeff, Wellfleet, MA., Danielle Cahill and husband Bill, Nashville, TN. His legacy of grandchildren include: Matthew Zellner, Mark Zellner, Nicole Zellner, Amber Wirth, Beverley Cahill, and Marina Smith. Great grandchildren: Gabriel, Aubrey and Hannah Wirth, and Gloria Zellner. Carl is also survived by his cousin Merrilee Zellner of Newport, RI.

Carl was a longtime resident of Boston and Charlestown. A retired city planner for the city of Boston, he was in part responsible for design of the Big Dig and many roads and parks in the city. He had been retired and living in Palmyra, VA with his current wife, Virginia Foster, for the past 10 years.

As an avid Boston historian, he had been doing research on a variety of subjects, followed by a visit to his daughter in Wellfleet, MA at the time of his passing.A memorial service and celebration of Carl’s life will be held at the Bunker Hill Museum on 7 September. Call for details.

Donations in his memory can be made to Charlestown Historical Society, PO Box 291776, Charlestown, MA 02129.

Carl, due to his research and love of Charlestown history, was responsible for a historical marker noting the landing site of Paul Revere’s boat being moved to its current and correct location.

For online condolences, please visit


Published in The Boston Globe from July 9 to July 10, 2014.


The Game’s A-Foot !

On Sunday, June 8th, the CHS will host a Charlestown Trivia Treasure Hunt – a 2 hour walk around Charlestown in search of answers to questions about local history and landmarks. 

The event begins at 1:30PM at the Battle of Bunker Hill Museum, in the lower Auditorium where teams will be given a packet of instructions (see below for advance info), the route they will follow, and some materials for making ‘rubbings’ of some engravings along the way.  

It will end with a social gathering at 3:45PM at the Warren Tavern. 

There is $10 per person entry fee, which includes a donation to the USS Constitution Museum.

Sign-up with a team of 2-4 people, or sign-up as an individual and we’ll form teams at the event.  The ideal team will include a maths expert, history buffs specializing in the Revolutionary War and 20th Century Warfare, and a relative of Sherlock Holmes – or just Fred, Nancy, Walter and Paul.

In order to manage the event to reasonable numbers, please Register your team at the following email address, include your name, the number in your team and your Team Name.  Register early to avoid disappointment, as the event is expected to be heavily over-subscribed.

(If this link does not open your email service, it will be necessary to fall back on the old Copy-Paste routine.  You can also Register by using the Inquiry form at the bottom of this page: enter Hunt as the Inquiry Subject)

There will be prizes will be given for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, with the 1st prize being $100. 

It’s social.  It’s fun.  It’s history!

You will need cash to register and possibly buy water along the route.

There is a Rain Date set of June 22nd.

The Game is A-foot – literally

1:   The Aim of the Game – to use written, visual and context clues to follow a route around Charlestown, gathering answers to ‘Clues”. It may be necessary to decipher a clue to find the next location on the route.   Use your team mascot/symbol to identify your team in all camera shots.

You will be looking for information plaques, inscriptions, memorials and all kinds of possible items to photograph and assist you in giving answers to the clues.

CT Gate Little Tree

2:  Timing – the event starts around 1:30 pm – team dispatches may be staggered to spread them out along the route.  The event is timed to take 2 hrs at a brisk walking pace, so finishes around 3:30 pm, but 120 mins from your teams start time.

If a team has not completed the route within the 2 hrs, they should cut short their walk and head to The Warren Tavern with what they have achieved so far.

At around 3:45, a buffet will be available at the Tavern, this will enable the Hares to catch their breath and the Tortoises to catch-up.  The Tavern has kindly offered to host the end of the event, and is providing the appetizer plates.

3:  The Hunt:

–       Do try not to cheat – obvious, but to win at any cost can be tempting!

–       Do not assume that you can follow another team, they may have been given a different set of clues and a different route.

–       No use of phones or Google etc. to seek assistance

That’s the obvious negatives … now,

–       The route passes through two National Parks, where Park Rangers are available to offer assistance and also there may be volunteers/docents in some locations.  Strange as it may seem, you can communicate directly with them, without Twitter, Facebook, Linked-in etc …

–       Clues have their value in points listed, most are just one point, but if the point count is higher, it is an indication of difficulty.

–       If there is a ‘*’ in the Clue number, it means there is a Clue contained within the Clue.

–       Bonus Questions: do not count towards the score, but will be used as tie-breakers between teams with equal points.

–       Bonus Routes: there are two ‘bonus routes’, these add more distance and time, but score more points.  Teams will need to assess where they are on the route and whether they can ‘risk’ taking the additional time to score more points – should they split up their team and send a hunting party on the bonus route? – true to American ideals, this game is highly competitive, but do you have good judgment?  (If a team does split-up, all answers must be submitted on one form.)

The basic route is 75 mins of brisk walking and 45 mins of clue finding.

–       The team with the shortest finish time will score 3 extra points, second shortest time, 2 points third shortest time, 1 point.  Time taken is just Start to Finish, inclusive of any Bonus Loops.

–       Concentrate on keeping your team moving, and not overly focused on trying to answer every clue.

–       Generally, there is a 1-3 minute walk between Clues – a few exceptions are identified in the text.

–       You have materials to make ‘rubbings’ of certain items along the route – don’t loose them.

–       Teams should hand in their results to the CHS President – he stops your Team’s clock

–        There will be 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes.

Remember this is just a game, have fun, enjoy working with family and friends – the CHS is not responsible for resultant feuds !!!


Now you’re wondering just what does Greek architecture have to do with a Treasure Hunt ………..

4:  Bathrooms:  facilities are located at: Bunker Hill Museum,    USS Constitution Visitors Center, Ironside Grill, Old Sulley’s,  Sulley’s,  99 Restaurant, Warren Tavern.

5: Early Finish & Assistance – if you wish to cut your route short and still participate in the end event, head to the Warren Tavern.

(Note on bar courtesy: the Tavern has kindly offered to host the end of our event, so should you end up in the Tavern early, please do not just sit and occupy space – spend your money and tip the staff !)

6: The Start!  Head-up into the Museum – take a moment to reflect on the game and you might want to make some notes.

The Charlestown map is provided in case you get lost.

Dry Dock 2

Dry Dock 2#, not obvious to some, as it is full of water …

This pdf file provides the start of the game – basically what you have read above:

CHS Hunt

Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America’s First Poet

For many, Anne Bradstreet’s name is familiar from the early pages of anthologies of American poetry or from John Berryman’s famous tribute to her. But few know that she was the first published poet—male or female—to emerge from the wilderness of the New World, or that her slim volume of verse was a runaway bestseller. Now, in this illuminating biography, Charlotte Gordon reveals Anne Bradstreet to be an electrifying personality at the center of one of the most fascinating periods in our country’s history.

Transplanted from England to the New World in 1630, eighteen-year-old Anne was among the first waves of settlers on the unwelcoming shores of what would one day be Massachusetts. Arriving just a decade after the Pilgrims, Anne quickly had to transform herself from educated gentlewoman to frontier wife and mother. Of course, she was not alone: with her came her new husband, Simon Bradstreet, her imperious father, Thomas Dudley, and a powerful clutch of Protestant dissenters whose descendants would become our founding fathers.

Though a pious and prominent member of her Puritan community, Anne was also a rebel of sorts, flouting the image of seventeenth-century women as too intellectually weak to tackle the male realms of law, science, and what was considered most challenging of all: poetry. But even as she lived through extraordinary hardships—near-starvation, illness, isolation, and the deaths of friends and loved ones by disease and Indian massacres—she was determined to write verse.

In a fresh, spare style, Anne not only recorded her own experience, but also commented on the political and religious upheavals of her day, casting light on the hypocrisy of Old England and the promise of the New. Bradstreet’s story, like her poetry, is full of drama and surprises, among them a passionate marriage, intellectual ferment, religious schisms, and the constant threat of violence.

This is the gripping story of a woman and poet of great feeling struggling to find a language to describe the country in which she finds herself. It also offers a rich and complex portrait of early America, the Puritans, and the trials and values whose legacy continues to shape our country to the present day.

Planned Events on the 2014 CHS Calender

Historic Homes and Sites in Charlestown,

by Carl Zellner

Historian of the Charlestown Historical Society

Tuesday April 8, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Bunker Hill Museum, Auditorium. 

Carl A. Zellner has created and presents this fascinatingl visual tour of Charlestown.

383 years old, Charlestown is full of history. It was the first capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and due to it’s small size, it is great place to walk and explore.

Carl begins with the rich history of City Square. Learn where the plaque is located that commemorates Elizabeth Foster Goose, who wrote ‘The Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe’.  The tour goes to the Paul Revere and Galvin Memorial Park. You will learn about the memorial to the Charlestown victims of 9/11 as well as the plaque for Nathaniel Gorham, a signer of the U.S. Constitution. Discover the oldest House on Monument Square and much more.

Carl shares the history of Charlestown churches as well as the schools and important architecture. See the Salem Turnpike House as well as many other houses built in the late 1700’s and 1800’s to replace the complete destruction of Charlestown by the British.

The pictorial tour also includes the Navy Yard and the odd octagonal building. The tour goes up Harvard St to see the former Harvard School and the Harvard Mall.

Carl reveals the history of many interesting homes often owned by famous residents of Charlestown, and also introduces famous commercial properties such as the Charlestown Bank, and the Schrafft’s Candy Building.

Share his 30 years of history and research. Do not miss this chance to see every important park, memorial, church, school, cemetery and home in Charlestown – without having to actually Walk the Walk !!

Light refreshments will be provided.

Archaeology Walking Tour: From Bunker Hill Monument through the Big Dig to City Square

May 3, 2014 11am to 12 noon.

The Walking Tour will be led by Joe Bagley, City of Boston Archaeologist. The tour will point out the locations of past excavations and the significance to Charlestown today. The CPS, CHS, Friends of City Square and Friends of the Training Field will co-host the event.

The event will end at City Square, and then proceed to the Training Field for a Lunch hosted by the Friends of the Training Field.

Archaeological Investigation and Preservation of Training Field Park in Charlestown’s Winthrop Square

May 13, 2014 at 7:00-8:00 pm. Bunker Hill Museum

Joe Bagley City of Boston Archaeologist will speak for 45-50 minutes followed by questions. The talk will discuss the results of the recent eight new archaeological dig sites on the Training Field Park and how these findings explain the significance of the Training Field, as part of Charlestown’s History.

The Event will be included on the City Calendar and promoted by the CPS, CHS and Friends of the Training Field, to all their members. Snacks and coffee will be served.

Community Appreciation and Open House at the Bunker Hill Museum, The Bunker Hill Monument, and the Lodge.

May 21, 2014,  4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Bunker Hill Museum.

The National Park Service, Charlestown Militia and the CHS are co-sponsoring this event. It will appeal to both new and old families in Charlestown, especially Charlestown residents who have not been to the Battlefield, the Monument and the Museum.

Charlestown Scavenger Hunt

June 9, 2014 (Subject to Change) 1:30-3:00

Beginning at the Bunker Hill Museum, teams will set off into the Town, guided by devious clues, a map and hopefully their wits, to discover for themselves some obscure facts and stories about Charlestown’s history.

This activity is still in the cooking pot, but place a mark on your calender!

It is intended as a light hearted competition, and winners will be determined by a complex formula of clues found, locations photographed and items identified as well as completion time. Side treks will enable tie-breaking bonus points to be accrued.

There will be an entry fee per team, and the hunting packs will come to rest at a local watering hole where prizes will be presented – a few may even down a well earned libation – or two, or …..

Charlestown 1629-1692:From Deference to Defiance, by Roger Thompson, Author

June 24, 2014, (Subject to Change) 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Bunker Hill Museum.

Roger Thompson has spent thousands of hours researching the history of Charlestown in the 17th Century.   Learn about the colorful history of the town’s settlement and governance, its relationship with land and sea, the church, local crime, violence and the role of women.

The presentation reveals the deeds and misdeeds of Charlestown’s early residents including merchants, mariners, heretics and holy men.