Historic Timeline 1800 - 1899


The Charlestown Navy Yard is established.

The Bunker Hill Burying Ground is opened on Bunker Hill Street.


A Baptist Church built of wood is dedicated at the head of Salem Street on land given by Oliver Holden, composer of the hymn, “Coronation.”

The first post-Revolution school, the two-story Harvard School, is erected on the traditional schoolhouse site atop Town Hill.


The holding of market days in Market Square ceases.


The Middlesex Canal between Boston and Lowell with its entrance near Charlestown Neck opens.


The Warren Phalanx militia is chartered.


A Massachusetts State Prison is built on Prison Point using a design by Charles Bulfinch.

The Arnold Mansion is built (now 14 Common Street).

Tudor Wharf is built as home of the export trade in ice begun by Frederick Tudor, “the Ice King,” using ice cut from area ponds in winter.

A second school, Bunker Hill School is built on Bunker Hill Street.

The Commandant’s House in the Navy Yard is completed.


Loammi Baldwin, Jr., the “Father of Civil Engineering in America,” opens his offices at 18 Charlestown Square. His home is at 194 Main Street.


Edmands Hall/Armstrong House (125-127 Main Street) is erected by James C. Edmands. Edmands Hall in an upper story was later the site of the first meetings of the First Universalist Society prior to the dedication of their church in 1811.

The Federal-style house at 81 Warren Street is built.


The Salem Turnpike Hotel is built opposite the Training Field (now a private residence at 16 Common Street).

A new Baptist Church of brick is built on Austin Street to replace the wooden one at the head of Salem Street.


The Universalist Meeting House is built of brick near Thompson Square (located in what is now the parking lot behind the Charlestown Savings Bank Building).


The Edmands pottery works is established at 55 Austin Street (corner of Richmond Street) by Barnabas Edmands and a brother-in-law, William Burroughs. Charlestown had extensive deposits of clay (silt from the outwash of departed continental glaciers) and became a center of ceramics, pottery and brick manufacture. New England’s first documented potter worked in Charlestown using this clay. A number of early potteries clustered along the Charles riverfront from where their products were shipped to Connecticut and Maine.


Washington Hall is built on site of John Harvard’s house on Main Street (present site of Harvard Mall) and becomes the new meeting place of King Solomon’s Masonic Lodge which formerly met in Warren Hall at the Warren Tavern. The first subscriber-supported lending library established in Washington Hall.


The Matthew Bridge House is built on Town Hill Street (now 16 Harvard Street). Later, the house is home to statesman Edward Everett and manufacturer/philanthropist William Carleton, the benefactor of Carleton College in Minnesota.

The Round Corner Building (121-123 Main Street) is built by shipwrights.


The Second Congregational Church, which became the Harvard Church (Unitarian), is built at Main and Green Streets (site of the present Branch Library). An early pastor, Rev. Dr. James Walker, who ministered there from 1818 to 1839, later became a professor and, subsequently, President of Harvard College. A magnificent chandelier given to the church by John Skinner now hangs in the faculty room of Harvard’s University Hall.


Baker’s circulating library opens at 26 Main Street.


The Charlestown Union Library is founded using space in the Town House and later in the Swan-Hurd House at Main and Henley Streets.


The Austin Stone House (92 Main Street), is built of stone from Outer Brewster Island by General Nathaniel Austin, prominent militia leader, politician, public official and owner of a wharf near the State Prison. Austin Street bears his name.


The Bunker Hill Monument Association is incorporated and undertakes the purchase of the battleground to preserve it as an historical site. The Association initiates plans to erect a suitable monument thereon. The concept of an obelisk by Harvard student and future sculptor Horatio Greenough is chosen in a design competition. Engineer Loammi Baldwin, Jr. and Architect Solomon Willard develop final design plans and construction drawings.


The Bunker Hill Monument’s cornerstone is laid in the presence of Lafayette. Daniel Webster gives the oration.

The Bunker Hill National Bank is incorporated. The bank’s building is located on Charlestown Square at Park Street.


The first stage line between Boston and Charlestown is established by Alson Studley. The coaches run between Brattle Street, Boston, and Sullivan Square.


The first successful Charlestown newspaper, the Bunker Hill Aurora, begins publication in the Austin Stone House on Main Street.

The first Winthrop School is built on the Training Field.

The Mount Benedict Academy, a Catholic finishing school or convent for females, is built just north of the Neck in a portion of Charlestown that is now part of Somerville. The boarding school, operated by sisters of the Ursuline Order and known for its educational excellence, is attended by girls from both Protestant and Catholic families.


The Warren Avenue Bridge, paralleling the Charles River Bridge, is built under legislative charter. Competition between the two bridges for tolls brings a suit by the Charles River Bridge’s proprietors who hire Daniel Webster and Lemuel Shaw to plead their case all the way to the Supreme Court. The Court finds against the plaintiffs in 1837 in a landmark case favoring competition in private enterprise.

The John Harvard memorial monument is dedicated in Phipps Street Burying Ground having been funded by Harvard alumni donations at the instigation of Edward Everett who gives the dedicatory oration.


The first St. Mary’s Catholic Church is dedicated on Richmond Street (now Old Rutherford Avenue).

Warren Institution for Savings is incorporated.

The Lyceum lecture series, held in the Town House, is begun.


Edward Everett, orator, statesman, and his family occupy the Bridge house on Town Hill Street (now 16 Harvard Street) until 1837, when, as Governor of Massachusetts, he moves to Boston.


The Charlestown Female Seminary is established at 30 Union Street by the First Baptist Church.


The Infant School Society, supported by the Town’s Protestant societies, opens on Warren Street to care for young children of working mothers.


The first granite naval dry-dock in the U.S. is completed at Navy Yard using designs by Loammi Baldwin, Jr.

The Winthrop Church (First Parish Congregational) is built of brick on Union Street. The First Congregational Meeting House on Town Hill is replaced by one in brick.

The Ursuline convent on Mount Benedict is burned by an intolerant mob. All the occupants escape unharmed.


A great fire destroys all the buildings between Charlestown Square and the Navy Yard.

The Town Dock, made obsolete by larger ships, is filled in and the entire area redeveloped.

National House, Charlestown’s finest hotel until the construction of Waverley House in 1867, is built at the corner of Chelsea and Joiner Streets in the burned area. Proprietor James Walker, an avid fisherman, often served bass in the hotel dining room he had caught from the Charles River Bridge. Rebuilt and enlarged in 1849, the hotel was later named the City Square Hotel even though it was not directly on the square.

Charlestown’s first major masonry row house development is undertaken at 7-23 Harvard Street.


Town Hill Street is renamed Harvard Street on November 7 in honor of the bicentennial of Harvard College.

Dexter Row, consisting of six elegant brick row houses facing Thompson Square, is built by Shadrach Varney, former head of the blacksmith department in the Navy Yard. (Only three of the Dexter Row houses survive.)

The Union Block, a group of three fine Greek Revival row houses (which still survive), is built on Main Street at the corner of Union Street.


The Bunker Hill Monument Association sells, at auction, 9 of the original 15 acres purchased for the Bunker Hill Monument grounds. The 9 acres had been subdivided into house lots. The sale’s purpose is to retire debt and raise funds toward the completion of the Monument.


Women’s magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale organizes a Ladies Fair at Fanieul Hall to raise funds for the completion of the Bunker Hill Monument. The successful fair raises over $30,000, which, along with $10,000 each donated by Amos Lawrence and Judah Touro, is sufficient to complete the Monument.

St. John’s Episcopal Parish is founded.

The first Warren School is built on Salem Street.


St. John’s Episcopal Church on Devens Street is dedicated. It contains the first stained glass window installed in a Charlestown church.


The Bunker Hill Monument is completed.


The Bunker Hill Monument is dedicated on June 17, anniversary of the battle. Daniel Webster again gives the oration, as he had at the cornerstone laying in 1825.

The Baptist Church on Austin Street is replaced by new one in brick fronting Lawrence Street.


The Bunker Hill School of 1805 is rebuilt and enlarged.


A Methodist Church is built at High Street and Monument Square.


Charlestown is chartered as a city. Charlestown Square is renamed City Square.

Winthrop (Training Field) School is moved across the street to present site at 5 Common Street (now private residences) and renamed the Nahum Chapin School.

Row houses at 6 and 7 Monument Square are built. They are the first houses built on the Square after it was lotted.

A larger Harvard School replaces that of 1801 on Town Hill’s Harvard Street. (Still in existence, it was converted to apartments as part of The Court-yard development in 1985.)

A new and larger Winthrop School is built at the corner of Bunker Hill and Lexington Streets.


The first Charlestown High School is constructed on Monument Square.

Adams Street brick row houses are built.


The First Parish Church (Winthrop Church – Congregational) is relocated to a new brick church built on Green Street (existing).


Rufus Stickney and John R. Poor open a spice mill in Charlestown.

Charlestown’s three militia infantry companies, the Warren Phalanx, the Charlestown Light Infantry, and the Columbian Guards are combined into one unit known as the Charlestown City Guard with a membership of 250. The Charlestown Artillery remained a separate organization.

Barnabas Edmands sells the Edmands Pottery works (since moved to a wharf-estate on the Mystic River) to his sons, Edward and Thomas R. B. and foreman Charles Collier who continue the company as Edmands & Co., adding drain pipe to the pottery line.


The Mercantile Library is opened by the Mishawum Literary Association.

The Lawrence and Sawyer houses at 44 and 46 High Street (former Knights of Columbus hall) are completed.


Louis Kossuth, the Hungarian patriot, visits Charlestown, hosted by Mayor Richard Frothingham amid great public ceremony, flags and decorations.


The Middlesex Canal closes due to railroad competition.


The Charlestown Five Cents Savings Bank is incorporated (now Citizens Bank).


The Prescott School is built on the northerly portion of the Bunker Hill Burying Ground, a site today occupied by Charlestown High School.


The Charlestown City Guard marches in the inaugural parade of President James Buchanan, March 4, 1857, and returns to a tumultuous welcome home in City Square.


The establishment of a Charlestown Public Library is voted by the City.

The Warren Institution for Savings building is completed at the corner of Main and Henley Streets.

The Prince of Wales visits Charlestown.


The Soldiers Relief Society is founded to aid the soldiers and sailors serving the Union during the Civil War and their families.


The Charlestown Public Library opens on the third floor of the Warren Institution for Savings building.

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church on Bunker Hill Street is dedicated.


William Carleton moves into a new ltalianate-style house at 4 Monument Square built to his design.


Waverley House, a large elegant hotel, is erected on City Square by Moses Dow, successful publisher of Waverley Magazine.

The Winchester Home for Aged Women is founded by Mrs. Nancy Winchester, philanthropist.


The new Bunker Hill School at Bunker Hill and Baldwin Streets opens.

Trinity Methodist Church (now Charlestown Boys and Girls Club) is built on High Street opposite Elm Street.

Stickney and Poor Spice Company opens a large plant at the corner of Cambridge and Spice Streets.


The second Warren School is built on Summer Street between School and Pearl Streets.


A domed Second Empire-style City Hall is completed in City Square on the site of the former Town House.

The Charlestown Public Library is moved to the second floor of City Hall.

The Crafts Corner building is demolished for the enlargement of Thompson Square by City Council order.


A second Charlestown High School replaces the first on Monument Square.

John Boyle O’Reilly, Irish patriot, poet and writer marries Mary Murphy of Charlestown. They raise a family in the house at 34 Winthrop Street.

An addition is made to the Waverley Hotel using the site of the former James Russell mansion.


The Harvard School (now the Mary Colbert Apartments) is built on Devens Street. The former Harvard School on Harvard Street is renamed the Samuel Dexter School and continues to operate into the 1940’s.


The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument, sculpted by Martin Millmore, is dedicated on the Training Field (Winthrop Square).


Charlestown is annexed to the City of Boston and becomes part of Suffolk County (previously Middlesex).

The Charlestown Public Library becomes a branch of the Boston Public Library.

The Winthrop School on Bunker Hill Street is converted to other municipal uses.


A triumphal arch is built at the entrance to City Square in celebration of the Centennial of the Battle of Bunker Hill.


The Charlestown Five Cents Savings Bank building is completed on Thompson Square in the High-Victorian Gothic style.

The Neo-Gothic Frothingham School is built on Tremont Street at Prospect.


Hawaiian royalty, Queen Kapiolani and Princess Liliuokalani, are guests of James Hunnewell at his home between Wood and Green Streets (now the site of the Boys and Girls Club Green Street building.)


The Battle of Bunker Hill Memorial Tablets are dedicated in Winthrop Square on June 17.


St. Francis de Sales’ Parochial School is founded.


Second (existing) St. Mary’s Catholic Church, built in granite on Warren Street, is dedicated. St. Mary’s Parochial School is founded.


The Roughan Hall building is completed on City Square.


A new (existing) Charlestown Bridge is completed, replacing the Charles River Bridge of 1786.