The Great House

The Great House served as an inn and tavern for almost 150 years. A busy marketplace developed around this center of community activity shortly after its creation. Stocks and whipping posts stood in the vicinity; and, as was the custom in the Puritans' native England, these instruments of punishment were put to use to discipline offenders of the law. It was fitting that the Court of Assistants was established outside the Great House. The Court served as the precursor of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Legislature.

1630 a party was sent from the Great House across the river to the Shaqmut Peninsula to found a new settlement. That September, the Court of Assistants decreed that "Trimountain shall be called Boston." With the growth of the twin communities of Charlestown and Boston came a ferry service that shuttled passengers across the channel of the Charles River and tolls from which were critical for the support of Harvard College in its first years.

Remarkably no drawings or pictures exist of the Great House, which stood for over145 years.

Thompson Square

Thompson Square: The intersection of Main, Harvard, Austin, and Green Street. Named for Dr. Abraham Rand Thompson. Formerly known as Craft’s Corner, in the early 19th century. It was enlarged in 1869 to form its present status.

Elias Craft’s House formerly sat in the triangle of space that is now in between The Charlestown Five Cent Savings Bank, the Charlestown Liquor store, and Store 24. It was the first to be built in Charlestown after the fire that followed the Battle of Bunker Hill. It was demolished in 1869 to enlarge the square. Formerly it was a gathering place for citizens to smoke, buy magazines, tea, and to catch up on gossip.

Warren Tavern. Built in 1789 and named in memory of Dr. Joseph Warren. It was the one of the first buildings constructed after the Bunker Hill Battle fire. It still sits today and serves food and beverages to local patrons.

Samuel Morse House. Built in 1791 by Samuel Morse, the man responsible for developing the Morse Code.

William Hurd House. Corner of Main and Hurd’s Lane. Built in 1785. Demolished in 1888.

Richard Frothingham House. 2 Eden Street, demolished in the 1960s.

Massachusetts State Prison at Prison Point. Built by Charles Bulfinch on Austin Street. Located where Bunker Hill Community College sits. Prisoners were made to produce chain kinks of different sizes for use at the Navy Yard for anchors and for use in the prison.

Winthrop Square

Winthrop Square was originally known as the Training Field. It was named for Gov Winthrop and contained a monument dedicated to the sailors and soldiers from Charlestown who served during the Civil War (dedicated 1872)

From Market Square To City Square

Charlestown town Hall was built in 1818 on the site of the Robbins Tavern. It was first known as Market House, and the area, known as Market Square until 1847 when it was renamed City square. The town hall was demolished in 1868 to make space for a new city hall.

Buildings Of Note In City Square

The Waverly House was a building erected in City Square in 1865. It ran along Warren Avenue to Front Street and houses commercial shops. Built by Moses A Dow, a wealthy Charlestown resident who was also the editor of the Waverley Magazine.

The Army and Navy YMCA was once in City Square. Built in

Roughan Building built in 1899 in City Square between Park and Main Streets. Romanque Revival with arching windows. Roughan Hall was located on the top floor. Dances and social events were often hosted here. Now it is the city of Olives and other commercial and office space.

Winthrop Square was originally known as the Training Field. It was named for Gov Winthrop and contained a monument dedicated to the sailors and soldiers from Charlestown who served during the Civil War (dedicated 1872)

Dexter-Bridge-Davidson-Lockwood House, built on Green Street facing Main Street. One of Charleston’s most impressive properties in 19th century. Still stands today. Federal mansion style with spacious gardens. Charlestown Five Cents Savings Bank. Incorporated in 1854. Was considered one of the most reliable savings institutions in Boston at the time. Gothic Revival building that stands today and is a Boston landmark.
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