Townie Tidbits

“Who’s on first?”

-Lou Costello

Sometimes it is hard enough to know what time it is or how to shop when you forget the shopping. list on the kitchen table. Right? However, over the past year or two something has bugged me. Doesn’t anyone know when Charlestown was founded? I thought I knew until I started seeing things across the town that confused me.

I was a history major at Boston State College and always loved history and historical facts such as dates. If somebody told you Paul Revere took his ride into history back in 1777, you would be all over them. We know it was 1775 an unchangeable date forever part of history

I first noticed something several years ago in Hayers Square with that new marble fountain which states that Charlestown was founded in 1629. Then, that city sign on Austin Street welcoming everyone to Charlestown also states that Charlerstown was founded in 1629. What gives here? I was always taught that Charlestown was founded in 1628 ,not 1629.

I can still remember clear as a bell that we celebrated the 350th Anniversary of the Founding of Charlestown in 1978. There was a week long celebration in September of 1978 that ended up with a great 350th Anniversary Dinner Dance at the Knights of Columbus Hall on West School Street. I was there and enjoyed both the celebration and the anniversary of the town.

Apparently, members of the Charlestown Preservation Society also apperars to believes the date to be 1629. In a guide for homeowners, residents and tourists, entitled “Charlestrown History & Architecture,” on page 5 is written “(Charlerstown) was settled by Puritan immigrants in 1629.”

This conflict over the founding date of the town goes back years though. Back during the Bicenntennial, 1976, the Boston 200 Neighborhood History Series threw out the date July 4,1629 as the date of Charlestown’s birth.

Members of the Charlestown Historical Society of which I am a life member stand by the year 1628 and will continue to do so until hell freezes over. I agree with historian Carl Zeliner who long ago stated that Charlestown began in 1628 when the Massachusetts Bay Company received a patent for the settlement of the Massachusetts coast from three miles north of the Merrimack River to three milers south of the Charles River.

Finally, if you need more proof, take a look at the City of Charlestown seal in 1847, it states that Charlestown was founded in 1628. Who you going to believe, a sign put up a few years ago by Mayor Tommy Menino or the `1847 City of Chalestown Seal?

Many may be saying why does Sal care so much. I care because I hate seeing historical facts getting changed. Doesn’t anyone do research anymore or do we just believe something out of thin air?

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