Dorchester Heights Monument in Boston National Historical Park to be Restored through GAOA Funding

Aerial view of Dorchester Heights and Thomas Park.
Dorchester Heights Monument sits atop Telegraph Hill in South Boston.

Image Courtesy of Tom Zion

Boston National Historical Park is planning a multimillion-dollar restoration of the Dorchester Heights Monument atop Telegraph Hill in South Boston with funding from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). This project will restore the 115-foot-tall marble commemorative tower, which was designed by Peabody & Stearns architects of Boston in 1899 and constructed in 1901-1902. It will also replace all hardscapes within the surrounding 5.43-acre grounds around the tower, known as Thomas Park. With completion of this project, the iconic tower and grounds will be safe and accessible for visitors and continue to serve as a landmark within the local community.

The Dorchester Heights Monument commemorates the fortification of those Heights on the evening of March 4, 1776. After months of planning, George Washington ordered continental forces and local volunteers to stealthily fortify this location with cannon. This military operation led British forces to evacuate Boston two weeks later, on March 17, 1776. Since that historic moment, Dorchester Heights has remained a significant site to the local community and the nation.

Project at a Glance: This multimillion-dollar project will restore the 115-foot-tall commemorative tower, as well as replace and upgrade the hardscape of the surrounding 5.43-acre grounds known as Thomas Park so that they are safe and accessible to all.

What are the Benefits: This multi-year project will renew the Dorchester Heights Monument as a safe gathering place for visitors and the local community. By addressing the deteriorated conditions of the tower and hardscape, visitors will be able to safely explore the grounds. The tower observatory will be accessible for special events and as staffing allows. In the observatory, visitors will be able to survey the commanding views of the city and Boston Harbor, which made this site a decisive factor in Washington's first victory in the nation's War for Independence.

Project Purpose and Goals

There are two aspects to this project: restoration of the commemorative tower and reconstruction of the surrounding hardscapes. Each play an integral role in making the park a safe place for visitors. This work includes:

  • Restoration and structural upgrade of the tower, including dismantling and reconstructing the Belfry, Lantern, & Spire levels.
  • Installation of new roofing, flashing, & bird control systems on the tower.
  • Exterior and interior tower masonry restoration and cleaning.
  • Restoration of the tower's interior steel staircase.
  • New lighting & ventilation systems in the tower and associated electrical upgrades.
  • Restoration of the tower entrance gate & fencing, bronze entry door, and Observatory viewing doors.
  • Hardscape reconstruction, including walkways, stairs, accessible ramps, handrails and retaining walls.
  • New, deep micropile footings to reach stable soil to correct movement of walls. These footings are foundation support elements that will be used here to provide structural stability to the walls and slopes.
  • Upgrading site stormwater drainage system.
  • Monitoring and protecting of the ground's archeological resources.
  • Refurbishment of exterior lighting with new energy efficient fixtures.
Dorchester Heights Monument with a sidewalk leading up to it and grass on either side.

Dorchester Heights Monument Restoration

Learn more about the restoration project at this national and local site.

Dorchester Heights Monument with stage and podium in front and audience sitting on sidewalk sides.

Boston NHP Receives $25M for Restoration

Great American Outdoors Act funding will rehabilitate the iconic Dorchester Heights Monument and surrounding area.

Black cannon tube on granite base looking out over the Boston city skyline.

Dorchester Heights

Explore the past, present, and future of Dorchester Heights.

Current Status

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.

Boston National Historical Park

Last updated: March 17, 2022