Frequently Asked Questions

National Park Service Sign with blue background and white text and arrows directing people to locations at the park.

Photo by Arlan Fonseca

Planning a visit to any national park can generate lots of questions. Check out the list of Frequently Asked Questions below to help you plan your trip. Our Rangers have also provided answers to some history-related questions they frequently get asked by visitors.


General Information


The Freedom trail is 2.5 miles end to end. It takes about 1 and a half hours to walk the Trail without stopping at individual sites. Every stop could add 20-40 minutes to your experience depending on how long you spend at each site.

The Freedom Trail is free for the public to walk. Some sites along the Freedom Trail have admission fees. Sites owned and operated by the National Parks of Boston are free and open to the public.

For more information about admission fees, please check out the Fees & Passes page.

There are several other National Park Sites in the Greater Boston Area that are nearby. Longfellow House-Washington Headquarters National Historic Site is accessible via the Red Line, John F. Kennedy National Historic Site is accessible via the Green Line, and Frederick Law Olmstead National Historic Site is accessible via the Green Line and MBTA Bus #60. 

Explore other National Park Units in the Greater Boston area


How to Get Here


Yes, Faneuil Hall is fully accessible via public transportation. The closest MBTA stops are State Street on the Orange or Blue Line, Government Center on the Green Line, and Park Street on the Red Line. All are an under a 15 minute walk to the Hall. For alternate routes to visit Faneuil Hall, check out our Directions webpage.

Yes, Charlestown Navy Yard is accessible via the Long Wharf/Charlestown Ferry. The ferry runs from 6:30am - 8:00pm on weekdays and from 10:00am to 6:00pm on weekends. The frequency of the ferry changes based time of day. During peak commuting hours on weekdays, the ferry runs every 15 minutes. On non-commuting hours and on weekends, the ferry runs every 30 minutes. Learn more about the Long Wharf/Charlestown Ferry on their website.

For alternate routes to visit the Charlestown Navy Yard, check out our Directions webpage.

Yes, the Bunker Hill Monument and Museum is .5 miles, roughly a 12-minute walk, from the Orange Line Community College stop. North Station (Orange Line, Green Line, and Commuter Rail) is about 1 mile away, roughly a 23-minute walk. For alternate routes to visit the Bunker Hill Monument and Museum, check out our Directions webpage.

Yes, the Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center is easily accessible via public transportation. It is a 5-minute walk from the Blue Line Aquarium Station, and a 10-minute walk from the Green Line Government Center Station. For alternate routes to visit the Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center/Ferry, check out our Directions webpage.

The Bunker Hill Monument is about a 10-15 minute walk along the Freedom Trail from the Charlestown Navy Yard. 

Street parking is not recommended for visiting Faneuil Hall. There are several privately owned parking garages in the area available to visitors. Public transportation is recommended for downtown Boston.

Parking for the Charlestown Navy Yard can be found in the Nautica Parking Garage

Address: 88 Constitution Road, Charlestown, MA 02129 

Prices with ticket validation: 

 $12 1-2 hours 

$16 2-4 hours 

Tickets can be validated at the Charlestown Navy Yard Visitor Center and the USS Constitution Museum 

This parking lot is a short 5-10 minute walk to the Charlestown Navy Yard. 

Street parking is not recommended for the Bunker Hill Monument and Museum as residential permits are needed to park on the street. 

The nearest parking lot is the Nautica Parking Garage, a 10-15 minute walk from the Bunker Hill Monument and Museum. 

Address: 88 Constitution Road, Charlestown, MA 02129 

Prices with ticket validation: 

 $12 1-2 hours 

$16 2-4 hours 

Tickets can be validated at the Charlestown Navy Yard Visitor Center and the USS Constitution Museum. 

Street parking is not recommended as there is none available. There are several privately owned parking garages in the area available to visitors. Public transportation is recommended for getting to downtown Boston.




The Great Hall, Market Floor, and basement of Faneuil Hall is fully accessible. To enter the building, use the ramp on the east side of the building. Inside, there is an elevator that provides access to the entire building. In the Great Hall and in the Education Center there are spaces to sit down. 

The Charlestown Navy Yard Visitor Center is fully accessible and includes ramps to access exhibits. 

USS Cassin Young is not accessible. Visitors are required to walk up steps to a gangway to board the ship. The ship also includes narrow spaces, uneven ground, and additional steps and ledges.

USS Constitution is not accessible. Visitors are required to walk up steps and a steep ramp to explore different levels of the ship. 

The Bunker Hill Museum is fully accessible. An elevator provides access to all floors. 

The Bunker Hill Lodge is fully accessible. A ramp allows access to the inside of the Lodge. 

The Bunker Hill Monument is not accessible. To get to the top of the Monument, visitors must walk up 294 steps. Views from the top of the Monument can be viewed through livestream cameras available on digital kiosks in the Lodge and on our website

The Freedom Trail, marked with the red brick line, is fully accessible but does include uneven pavement. In some areas there may be loose bricks. The Trail may also become slippery when wet.

On the Freedom Trail: 

Paul Revere House is fully accessible. An elevator inside Lathrop Place provides visitors with access to both floors of Paul Revere House, the Museum store, and the exhibits. Lathrop Place also provides spaces to sit down. 

Old North Church is partially accessible. Visitors are required to walk up a few steps to enter and exit the church. The Crypt tour and the Steeple Tour require stairs and include tight enclosed spaces. Old North Church provides an online tour of the Church, Crypt, and Steeple. 

Old Statehouse is not accessible. Visitors are required to walk up stairs to enter the building. 

Old South Meeting House is accessible. Visitors have access to the main floor and lower levels of Old South Meeting House.

Several sites along the Freedom Trail have bathrooms:

  • Faneuil Hall: bathrooms are free and can be found in the basement and on the 2nd floor. 
  • Old State House: bathrooms are available to those who purchase a ticket. 
  • Old South Meeting House: bathrooms are available to those who purchase a ticket. 
  • Paul Revere House: bathrooms are available to those who purchase a ticket. 
  • Old North Church: bathrooms are available to the public when the historic site is open. 
  • Charlestown Navy Yard: bathrooms are available in the Visitor Center and at the USS Constitution Museum. 
  • Bunker Hill has bathrooms available in the Bunker Hill Museum. 

The City of Boston also provides a map of public restrooms on its website.

The Boston Harborwalk also provides a map of public restrooms on its website.


Faneuil Hall

Please check out our webpage on Faneuil Hall to learn more.


The National Park Service does not manage the events at Faneuil Hall. Reach out to the City of Boston to inquire about events.

The Great Hall is located on the 2nd floor of Faneuil Hall.

A site of civic engagement, Bostonians have gathered in the Hall since 1742, discussing and debating the pressing issues of their time. Charles Bulfinch remodeled the historic space in 1806, elevating the standing of the Great Hall by adding ornate decorations, portraits. In 1898, electricity was installed at the Great Hall.

 Countless Bostonians and dignitaries have used this space over the years: from colonists holding town meeting to patriots discussing the Boston Tea Party, and from Frederick Douglass speaking about abolition, to Lucy Stone advocating for women's suffrage. The Great Hall has been in constant use for over 200 years and to this day it is still used for events such as naturalization ceremonies and public gatherings. The City of Boston owns Faneuil Hall while the National Park Service interprets this historic space.

Learn more about Faneuil Hall, the Cradle of Liberty and the Atlantic Empire of Peter Faneuil

Boston was the home to many abolitionists who dedicated their lives to ending slavery in the United States. These individuals helped make Boston an important part of the Underground Railroad as they welcomed Freedom Seekers to Boston, helped protect Freedom Seekers, created a tight knit community.

Learn more about Boston and the Underground Railroad

No, enslaved people were not sold at Faneuil Hall. The marketplace was meant to be a centralized place for tradesmen to sell their goods. Peter Faneuil, the namesake and benefactor of the building, does have strong ties to slavery, owning 5 enslaved people, and inheriting and growing his vast wealth through the Atlantic slave trade. It is with this money that he uses to finance the building of Faneuil Hall. 

Learn more about this legacy through Peter Faneuil: Empire of Goods, Wealth, and Enslavement.

There is only one Faneuil Hall in Boston. The surrounding shopping area is called the Faneuil Hall Marketplace and includes Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market. Generally, the whole area is referred to as the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, but Faneuil Hall is the only one named Faneuil Hall. 

Quincy Marketplace is next to Faneuil Hall, and is part of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the general area surrounding Faneuil Hall. Quincy Marketplace is a popular food spot and often has buskers performing outside. Faneuil Hall does not sell food. 

The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Regiment is a local militia regiment formed in 1638. This Regiment trained young officers for service in militias across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In the 20th century, the Regiment's mission changed to play a supportive role in preserving the historic and patriotic traditions of the City of Boston, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the United States. The Regiment's museum on the fourth floor of Faneuil Hall preserves materials that relate to the history of the regiment. It is open Wednesday – Friday 11am-3pm. 

Check out the Regiment’s website for updated museum visitation information: AHAC - News 

The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Regiment is located on the 4th floor of Faneuil Hall. Formed in 1638 as a local militia regiment they have been in Faneuil Hall since the 1806 Charles Bulfinch update of the building. Explore the Regiment’s museum to learn more about the Regiment’s  impact over the past 150+ years.  

The Museum is free and open to the public Wednesday-Friday from 11am-3pm. 

The City of Boston's Archeology Department collaborated with descents to create, design and implement this exhibit on the history of slavery in Boston.

Read more about this exhibit: Boston Slavery Exhibit | 


Bunker Hill

Please check out our webpage on Bunker Hill to learn more.


Bunker Hill Monument

Officials held a cornerstone-laying ceremony for the Monument in 1825 and workers began construction in 1827. Workers completed the Monument in 1842. It took 15 years to complete the Monument.

Officials halted construction twice for two, separate six-year periods due to lack of funding. The actual period of construction was 3 years.

Learn more about the construction of the Bunker Hill Monument.

The Monument is 221.5 feet tall or 67.5 meters. The original plan for the Monument was 220 feet. The mortar between the granite blocks added about a foot to the height of the Monument.

The spiral staircase within the Monument consists of 294 steps.

There is no significance to the Monument having 294 stairs. The Bunker Hill Monument Association (BHMA) wanted to build the tallest monument that they could afford that also included an observation deck at the top. They decided to build an obelisk 220 feet high. It happened to take 294 steps, each step being eight inches high, to reach the observation deck of the Monument.

For many visitors, it takes about 20 minutes to go up and down the 294 stairs of the Monument. This time includes a brief look out of the windows at the top and a moment to catch your breath.

It is more accurate to ask why the Washington Monument resembles the Bunker Hill Monument. Workers completed the Bunker Hill Monument in 1842; six years later in 1848 workers started constructing the Washington Monument.

The Bunker Hill Monument was the first large obelisk built in North America. An Egyptian Revival movement in the US influenced the design of many American Revolutionary War memorials, including these two monuments.

There is a direct connection between the construction of the Bunker Hill and Washington Monuments. Architect Robert Mills submitted obelisk designs to the Bunker Hill Monument Association in 1825 and to the Washington National Monument Society in 1836. Both private groups had sponsored design competitions. Robert Mills didn’t win the design competition for the Bunker Hill Monument, but he did win the design contest for the Washington Monument. Mills influenced the obelisk choice for both monuments.

The Washington Monument is twice the size of the Bunker Hill Monument partly because building construction methods had advanced over the 40 years separating the completion of these two obelisks.

Yes, there are windows at the top of the Monument. Views from the observation deck can also be seen through 360 view cameras provided on digital kiosks in the Bunker Hill Lodge and on our website: Views of the Revolution.  

No, the Monument was built after the Battle of Bunker Hill.

An obelisk was not the first design choice of the Bunker Hill Monument Association (BHMA), the citizens group that sponsored the construction of the Monument.

Members of the BHMA initially wanted the monument to be a column resembling Trajan's Column in Rome. The BHMA conducted a design competition for the Bunker Hill Monument, and they asked contestants for column designs. Some contestants submitted obelisk designs and changed the minds of BHMA members.

The BHMA didn't choose an obelisk because of any military or religious significance attributed to Egyptian obelisks. They chose a granite obelisk because they thought it would be an awesome, reverential, and durable monument.

Members of the BHMA sought to honor the Provincial militia that fought and died in the Battle of Bunker Hill as these patriots inspired both the American success in the Revolutionary War and the creation of the United States.

Learn more about the construction of the Bunker Hill Monument.

The rings hold flagpoles that extend out of these windows. The flagpoles are over twenty feet long and the US flags they hold are gigantic. The Bunker Hill Monument Association installed the rings for the centennial commemoration of the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1875. It is a difficult job to bring the flagpoles up to the top of the Monument, so they are used only on special occasions. The last time flags flew from the top of the Monument was in the 1990s.

The spiral staircase of the Monument makes 8 complete turns to reach the observation deck at the top of the Monument. Each of these winding sections ends at a small platform that has a vent to the outside. There are eight vents on the north side of the Monument to help bring air and light into the Monument interior.

The granite building adjacent to the Bunker Hill Monument is known as the Bunker Hill Lodge. The Bunker Hill Monument Association (BHMA), the citizens group that sponsored the construction of the Monument, built the Lodge as a gateway to the Monument. In the Lodge, BHMA staff collected a fee from visitors to climb the stairs of the Monument. Here, visitors could also view historical artifacts from the Battle of Bunker Hill as well as enjoy conveniences such as restrooms and lounges.

A previous wooden building served as the Lodge from 1857 until the granite one was built in 1902.

Learn more about the Bunker Hill Lodge

The flag is known as the Bunker Hill flag. The flag has a blue background with a white rectangle in the upper left-hand corner. Within the white rectangle is Saint George's Cross and an image of a pine tree. This flag has both England and New England symbols. The origin of the flag is unknown. According to Battle of Bunker Hill lore, Provincials flew this flag in their redoubt on Breed's Hill.

Many residents of Charlestown, Massachusetts where the Battle of Bunker Hill took place fly this flag from their homes all year and particularly around Bunker Hill Day, June 17.

It is Siena marble from Siena, Italy. This distinctive yellow marble is also in the lobby of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square; the library was built around the same time as the Lodge. Siena marble is a popular decorative marble.


Battle of Bunker Hill

In the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, Provincial and British forces fought each other to possess both these adjacent hills. Months before the battle in April 1775, a large New England Provincial force began to surround Boston to lay siege to the British Regulars, who had occupied Boston since 1774. Provincial leaders planned to seize the hills around Boston, particularly Bunker Hill, one of the tallest hills near Boston.

Provincial militiamen, led by Colonel William Prescott and General Israel Putnam, took Bunker Hill on the night of June 16, 1775. These officers likely realized that to defend Bunker Hill, the Provincials had to also occupy nearby Breed's Hill, a shorter hill closer to Boston. The Provincials dug in on Breed's Hill and fought fiercely against the British Regulars on Breed's Hill during the battle.

Americans have always referred to the battle as the Battle of Bunker Hill because Bunker Hill was the main goal of both the Provincial and British forces. Americans also recognize Breed's Hill as the location where Provincials suffered their heaviest losses defending Bunker Hill.

A redoubt is a temporary fort for defense purposes, often square-shaped and made from earth. To build a redoubt, soldiers use picks and shovels to toss up earth and form the sides of a redoubt.

Provincial forces built a redoubt on Breed's Hill that was about 120-feet square. Militiamen dug into the ground about 2-feet deep within the redoubt to create walls about 4-5 feet high. Over 1,000 men worked about four hours in the dark on the night of June 16, 1775, to complete the redoubt on Breed's Hill.

About 140 Provincial militiamen and about 226 British soldiers died in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Another 280 Provincial militiamen and 828 British soldiers were wounded in the battle. Some historical sources list fewer deaths in the battle, likely not including those combatants who died within days of the battle.

Some historians express the losses in the Battle of Bunker Hill as "casualties," combining the number of those killed, wounded, and captured. By this popular accounting, the Provincial suffered about 450 casualties and the British had about 1,054 casualties. This disparity in casualties led one British commander to describe the British victory in the battle as "too dearly bought."

Learn more about the Battle of Bunker Hill.

There is a small section of the battlefield left from the Battle of Bunker Hill; it's five acres of land surrounding the Bunker Hill Monument. Starting in the 1820s, concerned citizens in the Boston area sought to preserve about 15 acres of the original battlefield by purchasing the land from private owners. These citizens formed the Bunker Hill Monument Association (BHMA) and built the 221-foot Bunker Hill Monument. The financially strapped BHMA had to sell 10 acres of the battlefield to finish the monument, leaving only the five acres around the Monument. Private houses now cover most of the battlefield.

The name Bunker Hill does not refer to a military fortification. Bunker was the family name of the owners of the hill. Similarly, the Breed family owned a section of Breed's Hill.

There is no historical marker on the top of Bunker Hill. There is a church at the top of Bunker Hill: Saint Francis de Sales, built in 1861. The church has no relation to the Battle, but its steeple makes it easy to identify Bunker Hill.

However, there is a historical marker on the slope of Bunker Hill. On Bunker Hill Street, an inscribed granite block marks the "Line of the Rail Fence" on the right side of the street near the intersection of Polk Street.

The line of the Rail Fence was a lengthy barricade made mostly of wooden fencing on the slope of Bunker Hill. The Rail Fence was part of the defensive line built by the Provincials in preparation for the Battle of Bunker Hill.

The Battle of Bunker Hill is the first major battle of the American Revolution. The Provincial militiamen lost the battle but inflicted many casualties on the British Regulars. The Provincials gained experience and confidence at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Provincials realized they could form an organized, cohesive military force composed of militias from different colonies and successfully challenge the professional and well-trained British Army.

There is no central archive to find a Battle of Bunker Hill veteran. If your ancestor was from New Hampshire, a roster of the New Hampshire militia at Bunker Hill exists: Roster of New Hampshire Soldiers in the Battle of Bunker's Hill.

If your ancestor was African American or Native American, George Quintal, Jr compiled a roster: George Quintal's Patriots of Color Study.

In 1896, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts began a complete roster of Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. The Massachusetts roster lists the hometown, dates of service and regiment of militiamen: Massachusetts soldiers and sailors of the Revolutionary War.

The state of Connecticut has a central site for Revolutionary War veterans research: Revolutionary War - Military Records.

Provincials who died in the Battle of Bunker Hill are listed on bronze tablets sponsored by the City of Boston in 1889:Library of Congress "Report upon the bronze tablets in memory of the soldiers who were killed at Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775." 

Other possible sources to find Provincial veterans who fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill are the National Archives and well-known genealogical sites like and


Charlestown Navy Yard

Please check out our webpage on the Charlestown Navy Yard to learn more.


No, the Charlestown Navy Yard closed in 1974. The Marine Barracks, Officers' Quarters, and the Commandant's House still bear their original names but no longer operate as they did when this served as an active yard from 1800 to 1974. These buildings are now part of Boston National Historical Park, a unit of the National Parks of Boston. Park staff use these buildings mostly as offices.

The Charlestown Navy Yard, also known as the Boston Naval Shipyard, is listed in the US National Register of Historic Places and is a US Historic Landmark District.

USS Constitution is a commissioned ship in the US Navy and active-duty Navy personnel serve aboard it. The nearest US Navy bases to Boston are in New London, CT and Newport, RI.

Shipyard workers built a variety of ships over the nearly 175-year history of the Yard. Staff of Boston National Historical Park have compiled this list of over 300 mostly US Navy vessels built in the Yard from 1800 to 1974: Ships Built By the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Shipyard workers also repaired thousands of ships in this Yard, but no list has been compiled of those vessels.

This building is the Commandant's House. Here, the Commandant of the Charlestown Navy Yard, also called the Boston Naval Shipyard, lived with his family. The Commandant supervised the construction, repair, and outfitting of US Navy-made ships in the Yard. The Commandant and his family also entertained visiting dignitaries to the Navy Yard at the Commandant's House.

Workers built the Commandant's House in 1805 and it's one of the oldest buildings in the Yard. More than sixty Commandants and their families have lived in the house over its 170-year history. The Charlestown Navy Yard closed in 1974. Boston National Historical Park, a unit of the National Parks of Boston, maintains the house for meeting and office spaces.

The US Navy built Dry Dock 1 to repair ships. Huge steam-powered pumps could fill and empty Dry Dock 1 with seawater. The granite building now occupied by the USS Constitution Museum housed these pumps. Critical to the function of Dry Dock 1 is the caisson, a moveable dam, that keeps seawater out of the Dry Dock.

The Navy built Dry Dock 1 in 1833 and expanded it over the years. Workers from nearby Quincy, Massachusetts quarried the large granite blocks of Dry Dock 1. These granite blocks came from the same quarry as the granite used to build the nearby Bunker Hill Monument, built around the same time as Dry Dock 1.

Shipyard workers in the Charlestown Navy Yard repaired ships using Dry Dock 1 for over 150 years, from the Age of Sail to the Age of Steel. Workers can repair the USS Constitution and the USS Cassin Young in Dry Dock 1.

No, they are not in use. Shipyard workers used these two cranes in the Charlestown Navy Yard alongside Dry Docks 1 and 2 to repair ships. These portal cranes stand on four legs with an open area beneath them. These cranes moved on tracks and had electric motors; they could lift 55 tons. The Charlestown Navy Yard closed in 1974 but shipyard workers still operated these cranes into the 1990s, mostly for repairing the USS Constitution in Dry Dock 1. The US Navy now relies on 4-wheeled mobile cranes to work on the USS Constitution.

The staff of the Boston National Historical Park preserves these two portal cranes not for use but as symbols of the heavy industrial equipment used by shipyard workers in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Workers and their equipment enabled the US Navy to complete its mission to build and repair ships, especially during the wartime years.

This intriguing flag is the Tripolitan Ensign, the national flag of the former city-state of Tripoli, now in Libya. This flag symbolizes the military success of the US Navy and Marines in the Barbary War against Tripoli in 1805. The phrase, "To the shores of Tripoli," in the US Marines' Hymn refers to this episode. USS Constitution also participated in this encounter.

These five flags in front of Dry Dock 1 all have a connection to the US Navy in the years from 1801 to 1815, including the history of the USS Constitution. The USS Constitution Museum maintains these flags and the Museum staff invites visitors to visit the Museum for more information.

Tens of thousands of employees worked in the Charlestown Navy Yard, mostly during World War II. Unfortunately, no list has been compiled of these workers.

To find an ancestor who served in the US Navy, check the Veterans' Service Records at the National Archives: Other sites like or are also useful resources.


USS Cassin Young

Please check out our webpage on USS Cassin Young to learn more.


No, USS Cassin Young was last on active duty in 1960. Officials from Boston National Historical Park, a unit of the National Parks of Boston, brought this World War II (WWII) destroyer to the Charlestown Navy Yard to be a museum ship starting in 1981. USS Cassin Young symbolizes thousands of ships built or repaired in the Charlestown Navy Yard by tens of thousands of workers, especially during the critical years of WWII.

USS Cassin Young also commemorates the post-WWII history of the Charlestown Navy Yard, previously known as the Boston Naval Shipyard. The US Navy upgraded destroyers, including Cassin Young, with the latest radar and sonar technology in the 1950s.

USS Cassin Young is on the Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.

Shipbuilders at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in San Pedro, California built USS Cassin Young in 1943. It took workers 9 ½ months to build Cassin Young, about half the time it took in peacetime to build a destroyer.

The US Navy decommissioned Cassin Young twice. The Navy decommissioned Cassin Young after WWII in 1946. The Navy recommissioned the ship to serve again in 1951 and finally decommissioned Cassin Young in 1960.

The ship is 376 feet long and about 40 feet wide.

USS Cassin Young is a destroyer.

During WWII, the US Navy often deployed destroyers in a squadron, or group, of up to ten destroyers. Destroyers formed a protective escort for larger ships like battleships and aircraft carriers. Sailors deployed a destroyer's weapons to challenge threats from airplanes, submarines, other ships and more. Destroyers also delivered mail, transported sailors, and rescued pilots forced down at sea. Destroyers were fast and maneuverable; with their crews they were the most versatile of US Navy ships.

USS Cassin Young's hull number is DD 793. The DD stands for Destroyer, the standard and most numerous destroyers produced by the US Navy in WW2. The Navy made other types of destroyers like the Destroyer Escort, designated DE. DEs were smaller and more maneuverable than the DDs.

The number 793 indicates that Cassin Young was among the last of the 175 Fletcher-class destroyers built by the US Navy during WWII. The Fletcher series numbered from 445 to 804.

USS stands for United States Ship.

During WWII, USS Cassin Young had 325 crew members; 19 of them were officers and 15 were chief petty officers (CPOs). 291 crew members were enlisted. During the Cold War, the crew size of Cassin Young decreased to a total of about 250 crew members.

During WWII, US sailors had to minimally be 5' 2" tall. There was also a maximum height of 6'4". The Navy adjusted these restrictions after the war; the tallest sailor ever to serve on Cassin Young was 6’6”.

Japanese airmen, known as kamikazes, hit Cassin Young twice during the Battle of Okinawa. On April 12, 1945, one kamikaze hit the mainmast, damaging the ships radar and antennas, and killing one sailor. Another kamikaze hit Cassin Young on July 30, 1945. This one hit on the starboard side and damaged the forward boiler room. The explosion killed twenty-two sailors in the boiler room. Nearly 100 sailors suffered wounds in these two attacks.

The sailors aboard USS Cassin Young were credited with shooting down between 9 and 20 kamikaze planes. No ships or submarines were sunk by the crew of Cassin Young.

This green pennant flag with yellow and blue borders is the Navy Unit Commendation (NUC). In 1946, the Secretary of the Navy awarded it to the crew of Cassin Young for their combat performance between March and August of 1945 in the Battle of Okinawa. Like the Silver Star or the Legion of Merit, the NUC recognizes outstanding valor and heroism at a critical time and place.

These flags are signal flags. US Navy sailors use them in a variety of ways. There is a signal flag for every letter of the alphabet and for numbers. Each flag also has a phonetic name: Alpha for A, Bravo for B, Charlie for C and so on.

The US Navy uses signal flags for ship identification, known as a ship's call sign. On the port side of Cassin Young are four flags that spell NTTH which is the 4-letter call sign for USS Cassin Young. On the starboard side are the signal flags of NPS for National Park Service, the caretaker of Cassin Young.

Sailors also use signal flags to send silent messages between ships, often using a singular flag. For example, flying the F (or Foxtrot) flag signals that a ship is disabled. Sailors also can decorate, or dress, a ship using multiple signal flags.

This is the jack, or union jack, flag and it flies on all US Navy ships at the bow (or front) of the ship when the ship is at anchor or in port. Flying the jack is a Navy tradition; the jack flag readily identifies US Navy ships. The Navy has mostly used this version of the jack but there have been other versions.

According to Navy custom, when the jack flag flies at the bow of a US ship, the national flag, or ensign, flies on the stern. When a ship is underway, sailors take down the jack flag and the national flag flies on the gaff, near the middle of the ship instead of the stern.

There are six levels to the ship. The primary levels are the main deck and two levels of living and working spaces below the main deck. The pilot house and two storage levels make up the other three levels. The sailors' eating and sleeping areas are on the two levels below the main deck.

The draft of a ship depends on how much weight the ship is carrying. Under most conditions when USS Cassin Young sailed the Pacific Ocean, 14 feet was the average draft of the ship. Now as a museum ship carrying much less of its original load, the draft of Cassin Young is about 8 feet.

USS Cassin Young has steam-turbine engines made by General Electric. There are two engines that rotate the two propellers of the ship. Cassin Young's crew burned heavy fuel oil in four Babcock and Wilcox boilers to create the steam. The ship could reach a speed of 35 knots. The engines no longer operate. When National Park Service staff must move Cassin Young, they use tugboats.

It's a sonar decoy. Sailors would unwind the cable with its baton and trail it about 500 feet behind USS Cassin Young. An electric charge within the baton would make a sound mimicking the sound of the Cassin Young's propellers. The decoy intended to fool any sonar directed at Cassin Young from an enemy ship or submarine.

The large tubes that visitors see as they board Cassin Young at the quarterdeck are torpedoes. Sailors could shoot these 24-foot long, nearly 2-ton torpedoes over either side of the ship with a powerful gunpowder charge. Once sailors fired a torpedo over the side, the torpedo's own steam-powered engine delivered the torpedo to its target, usually an enemy ship.

The US Navy painted ships in "haze gray" to help camouflage them. Gray was not always the color of USS Cassin Young. During WWII, the Navy tried other camouflaging colors. Cassin Young was once painted in "dazzle" which was a black and white zebra pattern. The Navy also painted Cassin Young a light blue color late in WWII.

The hatches, or doors, on USS Cassin Young are waterproof and fireproof passageways that are critical to the safety of the ship and its sailors. Under normal conditions, sailors could keep these hatches open. If there was danger, the captain of the ship would announce one of three conditions: X, Y or Z. Condition X (or X-ray) is the least restrictive; sailors must keep hatches marked X closed. Sailors kept hatches X and Y closed during Condition Y (or Yoke). Condition Z (or Zebra) was the most restrictive; sailors kept hatches X, Y, and Z closed. With Condition Z, extreme weather or a battle might occur.

Just like the campaign ribbons that a sailor might wear, ships displayed similar ribbons. The ribbons indicate the different battle campaigns that USS Cassin Young engaged in. Among those battle campaigns were at Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.

Most of the ribbons displayed on Cassin Young are for WWII campaigns, but the Navy awarded other ribbons to Cassin Young for its service in the Korean War from 1950-54.

Navy Captain Cassin Young was a navy hero. He commanded a repair ship docked at Pearl Harbor and he and his crew saved this vessel during the attack on December 7, 1941. For saving his ship and crew, the Navy promoted Young to Captain of USS San Francisco which he led into the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. A Japanese attack on San Francisco killed Captain Cassin Young. The US President awarded Captain Young the Medal of Honor in 1941 and the Navy Cross posthumously in 1943.

This was a gunpowder bunker for the nearby pair of harbor guns. These guns were ceremonial; they exploded gunpowder but did not shoot any shells. Sailors once fired these guns to salute or greet ships to the former Charlestown (Boston) Navy Yard.

Last updated: February 26, 2024

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