The Bunker Hill Monument is part of the Boston National Historic Park administered by the National Parks Service. But it hadn't always been that way.
The National Park website, (visit link
) reports the following:
"Bunker Hill Monument
"Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!" This legendary order has come to symbolize the conviction and determination of the ill-equipped American colonists facing powerful British forces during the famous battle fought on this site on June 17, 1775. The battle is popularly known as "The Battle of Bunker Hill" although most of the fighting actually took place on Breed's Hill, the site of the existing monument and exhibit lodge. Today, a 221-foot granite obelisk marks the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution.
The Battle of Bunker Hill pitted a newly-formed and inexperienced colonial army against the more highly trained and better-equipped British. Despite the colonial army's shortcomings, it was led by such capable men as Colonel William Prescott, Colonel John Stark and General Israel Putnam, who had experience fighting alongside the British in the French and Indian War. Although the British Army ultimately prevailed in the battle, the colonists greatly surprised the British by repelling two major assaults and inflicting great casualties. Out of the 2,200 British ground forces and artillery engaged at the battle, almost half (1,034) were counted afterwards as casualties (both killed and wounded). The colonists lost between 400 and 600 combined casualties, including popular patriot leader and newly-elected Major-General Dr. Joseph Warren, who was killed during the third and final assault.
The first monument on the site was an 18-foot wooden pillar with a gilt urn erected in 1794 by King Solomon's Lodge of Masons to honor fallen patriot and mason, Dr. Joseph Warren. In 1823, a group of prominent citizens formed the Bunker Hill Monument Association to construct a more permanent and significant monument to commemorate the famous battle. The existing monument was finally completed in 1842 and dedicated on June 17, 1843, in a major national ceremony. The exhibit lodge was built in the late nineteenth century to house a statue of Dr. Warren."
The following is taken from the Bunker Hill Monument brochure (visit link
"In the years following the battle, the hill became
sacred ground, though for years it had no official
recognition. Individuals interested in our nation’s
founding made the pilgrimage to the site of the first
major battle of the American Revolution. In 1794,
the first monument to be erected at this site
honored Joseph Warren, a key Boston leader in the
American Revolution, and a victim of the battle. By
the early 1800s, it was felt that a monument should
be built to honor all the men who fought here. The
Bunker Hill Monument Association solicited funds
from the public to be raised for this purpose, and in
1825 the cornerstone was laid for the Bunker Hill
Monument. By 1840, the granite obelisk was little
more than half complete, prompting action from
Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book.
She, along with other prominent Boston women,
planned a fair and bake sale to be held in the fall of
that same year. The fair, which lasted for eight
days, raised over $30,000, a significant sum at the
time. With the help of two philanthropists, Amos
Lawrence, and Judah Touro, who each contributed
$10,000, the monument was completed just three
years later. The monument was dedicated on the
anniversary of the battle in 1843, with over 100,000
people in attendance, including President of the
United States John Tyler, and veterans of the battle.
Statesman and orator Daniel Webster spoke that
day, asserting that the “monument stands a
memorial of the past, a monitor to the present, and
to all succeeding generations.”
Through the years, the monument has been
embraced as a symbol of the times. Countless
scores of people have come to the monument to
learn of the events that took place here, and to
ponder the meanings behind the monument. Its
enduring legacy remains, reminding us of those
who struggled to control their own destiny, and
were willing to sacrifice and fight for their
individual and collective rights."
On-street parking is available on the four streets surrounding the monument.