Boston National Historical Park will receive more than $25 million from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to restore the iconic 1902 Dorchester Heights Monument tower and surrounding area known as Thomas Park. When complete, the project will enable visitors to enjoy the improved public green space and spectacular 115-foot landmark on Telegraph Hill that commemorates a pivotal event of the Revolutionary War.
The fortifications on Dorchester Heights were erected under the direction of George Washington. The sight of the stronghold and its numerous cannon led British forces to end their lengthy siege of Boston and evacuate the city on March 17, 1776. It was the first major strategic and political victory for the Continental Army. Boston annually commemorates March 17 as Evacuation Day and on that day in 1902 dedicated the Dorchester Heights Monument.
National Park Service Regional Director Gay Vietzke announced the funding at this year’s Evacuation Day commemoration at Dorchester Heights on Thursday, March 17. The program featured remarks by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and National Parks of Boston Superintendent Michael Creasey. The event also included ceremonial musket fire by the Lexington Minutemen and music provided by the Boston University Band.
“The GAOA funds allow the National Park Service to address huge, deferred maintenance challenges that are needed to properly preserve the Dorchester Heights Monument and improve visitor access and enjoyment of it,” said Superintendent Michael Creasey. “The stabilization and restoration of the landmark and its surrounding landscape to its former grandeur will allow generations of visitors to experience this historic place and understand its significance.”
The rehabilitation work is expected to take 18 months and will include structural upgrades, masonry restoration, and improvement of the monument’s foundation, superstructure, exterior enclosure, roof, interior stairs, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. The grounds, lighting, and signage will be vastly improved for visitors’ experience.
The project is being financed through GAOA’s National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund. Supported by revenue from energy development, the fund provides up to $1.9 billion per year for five years to make significant enhancements in national parks and other public lands to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment for current and future visitors. GAOA, the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and other construction funding sources are part of a concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance backlog in national parks.