Bunker Hill

Address: Bunker Hill Street (between Polk and Elm Sts.) Charlestown

Bunker Hill Burying Ground is Charlestown's second municipal burial place (the first was established on Phipps Street in 1630). The property lies on the site crossed by British fortifications during the Battle of Bunker Hill. It was founded in response to Charlestown’s rapid renaissance after the Revolutionary War. The town formally purchased the parcel in 1807, although it may have been used for burials as early as 1801. The burying ground was originally intended for the use of the Charlestown poor, however the presence of individual gravemarkers indicates that persons of greater means were also buried here. The burying ground covered approximately 2.5 acres at its founding and extended on its north side to the Mystic River. A portion of the site was lost when the Prescott School was built in 1857, although there is no record of whether graves were disturbed during its construction.

The predominance of marble gravestones in this site reflects nineteenth-century funerary practices. The pathway system with complementary landscaping also dates from this period and was inspired by the Rural Cemetery Movement. In this style of cemetery design emphasis was placed on creating a garden-like setting with winding pathways and numerous plantings where people could pay respects to the deceased and also enjoy the natural setting.