Townie Tidbits

By Sal Giarratani


The Charitable Irish Society which was founded in Boston in 1737 is the oldest Irish Society in America amd includes both Catholics and Protestants. Its mission has always been to provide assistance and aid to newly arrived Irish immigrants as they faced adjusting to life here in America. The Society today has expanded its focus today to include immigrants not only from Ireland but other countries too.

The Silver Key Award is given to those individuals whose dedication and persistence in helping new immigrants have been truly outstanding. This year’s honorees  included Charlestown’s own former state Rep. Gerald and Marilyn Doherty.


As someone who was a history major in college, I always was aware that the history of Charlestown and Somervile are connected. The City of Somerville is celebrating its 175th birthday next year. That’s how long Somerville was separated from Charlestown

 I lived in East Somerville in the late 60s and 70s on George Street about two minutes from the Charlestown border. I can remember those little farm houses now  long gone. It was a part of the Charlestown Neck. I always remember watching the chickens and roosters on Maffa Way. Everyone thought myself included this was still Broadway but Broadway ended up at Caldwell Street.

My voting precinct back then was the East Broadway Somerville  Library which had a monument outside the building noting that this was the site of a Know Nothing attack on a Catholic Convent and Boarding School for Irish Girls in Charlestown where mobs burned the place down because the Irish were viewed as dangerous foreigners.

 To be honest Charlestown included many other cities and towns today like Stoneham, Melrose, Woburn etc. Charlestown when founded was very large and over time so it get chipped away at until today ball that is left is One Square Green Island.


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