Fort Revere

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Fort Revere Park overlooking Allerton

Fort Revere is an 8-acre (3.2 ha) historic site situated on a small peninsula located in Hull, Massachusetts. It is situated on Telegraph Hill in Hull Village and houses the remains of two seacoast fortifications, a water tower with an observation deck, a military history museum and picnic facilities. It is operated as Fort Revere Park by the Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston.

History[edit]

Fort Revere was called Fort Independence and later named in honor of Paul Revere. It was used to protect Boston Harbor dating from the American Revolution through World War II. Following the decommissioning of the fort in 1947, efforts begun during the United States Bicentennial celebration in 1976 resulted in the fort's restoration and the installation of amphitheaters within the walls of the disused fortification.[1][2]

Military Chronology[edit]

1632- The Hull peninsula, most likely at Telegraph Hill, was first considered by Governor Winthrop as an outer harbor defense for Boston. Deferred in favor of the 1634 works at Castle Island in South Boston.

1673- An early warning beacon is established at Telegraph Hill to alert Boston of potential Dutch or French naval attacks.

1696 Nantasket/Telegraph Hill beacon is erected during King William's War to forewarn against French revenge for the New England's raids into Canada.

1704- Hull, and most notably Telegraph Hill are used as a rendezvous camp for Church's northern expedition during Queen Anne's War.

1775- National Register Nomination notes "Fort Independence was built on top of Telegraph Hill just prior to the Revolution." Citation is lacking, and documentation for pre-war construction by Crown, Province or rebels aside from the register is currently unavailable.

1776- Telegraph Hill was probably first fortified by rebel forces shortly after the conclusion of Washington's siege of Boston. Sources suggest that an earthwork battery fired on the blockading British fleet in June 1776. This work later saluted American Independence on July 17 1776.

1777- January of this year, Committee reports note that a ditched pentagonal fort with 15 embrasures stood at Hull. Supported by two detached water batteries, the fort still needed a glacis, powder magazine, guardhouse, and several barracks. A military hospital was located near the fort.

July of this year 575 troops and local militia were stationed at Hull's defenses.

1778-The winter season brought reports from the Commander that the works mounted 22 pieces ranging from 42pdr to 3pdr guns.

In August of that month, works at Telegraph Hill were upgraded by French Marines from D'Estaing's crippled fleet. French activities presumably included the hilltop redoubt, detached batteries, a new 30 gun water battery, new barracks, hospital, and subsequent cemetery (still visible today).

A month later, in September, Washington assigned Chief Engineer du Portail to further strengthen the Hull defenses. The French arguably remained on the site in some shape or form through 1780. Smallpox caused the internment of over 200 released French prisoners of war, and garrison members in the cantonment's cemetery. A notable survivor and commander at this site at this time was Louis Antoine de Bougainville, a contemporary of James Cook.

Later in the 1780s the fortification was deactivated, and the war was over.

1810(s)- It is speculated that the fortification was not fully reactivated during the war of 1812, however that it was a viable backup in case of emergency.

1813- Telegraph Hill was used to observe the defeat of Lawrence's USS Chesapeake by HMS Shannon.

1830(s)- Proposals by the Corps of Engineers "Third System" of seacoast defense included outer harbor defenses at Telegraph Hill with a channel-side water battery secured by expanded fortifications atop the hill which in turn were supported by additional works on Little Hog Island, and Point Allerton.

1840(s)- Telegraph hill was extensively used as semaphore/flag/electric telegraphy and radio station to notify Boston of approaching merchant vessels. An observation tower was built within the old earthworks. (This is not the water tower seen today)

1850(s)- Telegraph Hill saw little use during the civil war other than its important and ongoing role as a surveillance and communications point.

1867- The state militia sets up an encampment at Hull.

1885- The Endicott Board of the War Department included the Telegraph Hill site in official plans for Boston Harbor's defense system.

1898- The US Government purchased Fort Revere officially from the town, and the Massachusetts Militia, who were stationed there during the Spanish-American War.

Later this year construction began on the 77 acre Fort Revere Reservation as it is known today. The site included two 6 inch batteries atop Telegraph Hill, added after the 12 and 15 inch batteries near the shoreline. The detached military post included a variety of barracks, quarters, storehouses etc. Installation of artillery fire control facilities were extensive as they most likely included slighting the channel bearing flank of the Revolutionary War earthworks.

FORT REVERE's BATTERIES CONSISTED OF:

Battery Memoriam Weapons Mounts Built Abandoned Located Sanders Civil War 3x6" disappearing 1903/06 1917/43 Hillside Pope Civil War 3x6" disappearing 1903/06 1917 Hillside Ripley War 1812 2x12" barbette 1898/99 1943 Shoreline Field Mexican 2x5" pilliar 1898/99 1917 Shoreline Maximum effective range c1775= 1500yards Maximum effective range upgraded to 12 inch guns 17300 yards

1903- A water tower with provisions for a military searchlight, was erected at Telegraph Hill within the old earthworks.

1917- World War I finds Fort Revere an active Coast Artillery garrison, although the fort is stripped of its lighter weapons for field service in Europe.

1920(s)- Anti-aircraft emplacements are installed within the earthwork compound. Historic earthworks were leveled, and the area was eventually placed on care-taker status.

1940(s)- World War II established the 90mm AMTB Battery 941 at Fort Revere. Fort re-activated until end of war.

1950(s)- Fort Revere was evidently excluded from either the post war anti-aircraft artillery or Nike Missile defense considerations of Boston. Municipal and private development commences at the site and several of the structures were recycled for private usage.

1970- Two of the batteries were buried. (Ripley and Field)

1975- Contract awarded to repair the water tower as part of a Bicentennial Celebration, plaque was placed in memory.

1976- Town of Hull/Metropolitan District Commission (now the Department of Conservation and Recreation) dedicated Fort Independence/Fort Revere Park.

1990(s)- Massachusetts Historical Commission grants award to re-roof and keep the water tower open for supervised tours.

2000(s)- Debated over responsibility and ownership heat up between Town of Hull and Commonwealth of Massachusetts DCR. DCR maintains, and cleans graffiti from forts, mows lawns, and leads/supervises historic walking tours of the fort and its areas. DCR holds free movies during the summer on the parade ground and concerts in the batteries.

2010- Town of Hull orders no more tours for summer in the tower. Park is still a viable recreational space for tourists and towns people alike. The officer's quarters still stands in the back and is a museum, with artillery outside, and interactive exhibits inside, open when staffing is possible Many of the residents of the park, live in former military housing, and frequent the common space during the seasons with dogs, children and other recreational activities.


References[edit]

  1. ^ van Aaram, Amy (July 5, 2007). "Fort Revere offers families movies and more". The Boston Globe. 
  2. ^ "Places to visit: Hull". South Shore Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 1 January 2010. 

Coordinates: 42°18′17″N 70°54′21″W / 42.30472°N 70.90583°W / 42.30472; -70.90583