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Dorchester Heights Monument

WELCOME to Dorchester Heights

Dorchester Heights Monument - BEST Massachusetts Places to PicnicDorchester Heights is the central area of South Boston. It is the highest area in the neighborhood and commands a view of both Boston Harbor and downtown.

In the American Revolution

Dorchester Heights was and is remembered in American history for an action in the American Revolutionary War known as the Fortification of Dorchester Heights. 

After the battles of Lexington and Concord, Revolutionary sentiment within New England reached a new high, and thousands of militiamen from the Northern colonies converged on Boston, pushing the British back within the city limits. 

In June 1775 British soldiers under General Howe attacked and seized Bunker Hill, but in the process sustained many losses. Following this encounter, the Continental Congress in Philadelphia gave George Washington the title of commander-in-chief and sent him to oversee the efforts outside of Boston.

The stalemate in Boston lasted for months, only breaking when Colonel Henry Knox returned from Fort Ticonderoga in New York, having led a team of sleds from the fort across hundreds of miles with tens of thousands of pounds of artillery to Boston. 

This added artillery gave Washington and his military council the firepower they needed to make a drastic move. Over the night of March 4, 1776, as 800 American soldiers stood guard along the river of Dorchester shores, 1200 American soldiers took Dorchester Heights uninhibited. 

They began working through the night to build structures suitable to defend against the British Army. A large portion of the artillery, pulled by oxen, was moved and installed, without being noticed by the British command, at Dorchester Heights, a point of strategic importance due to its elevation and commanding view of all of Boston and Boston Harbor.

In response, Howe planned on mounting a counter-offensive against the fortified positions on the Heights, but bad weather forced him to rethink his plan. 

In the end he fell back from the city. The Royal Navy evacuated British Army troops stationed there, as well as many Loyalists.

Dorchester Heights Monument

The Dorchester Heights Monument was completed in 1902 to designs by Boston architects Peabody and Stearns. It is 115 feet in height, built of Georgia white marble capped with octagonal cupola and weather vane, and is generally reminiscent of a church steeple in the Federal style. 

The monument is now operated by the National Park Service as part of Boston National Historical Park

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