Soon You’ll Be Able to Climb Somerville’s Prospect Hill Tower
The iron gates of Prospect Hill Tower in Somerville will soon rise.
The granite, castle-like structure near Union Square hasn’t allowed visitors to its flag-topped platform for some time. But soon, Somervillians will have the chance to admire the tower from somewhere other than ground-level—climbing tours will operate on a regular schedule beginning spring 2017.
A renovation of the tower was completed in December 2015 thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Community Preservation Act. The project replaced upper level floor slabs, reset parapet stones, restored doors and ornamental iron stairs, and repaired its exterior stairwell.
To honor the reopening of the renovated tower, Somerville is hosting a celebration on Monday, September 19 at 6 p.m. at Prospect Hill Park. After hearing remarks from Mayor Joseph Curtatone and several preservation officials, party-goers can climb the tower with a Historic Somerville docent who’ll reveal lesser-known tidbits about the history of Prospect Hill.
The medieval-looking construction was built in 1903 to commemorate troops who camped at the site during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. At 30-feet tall, the tower’s height is meant to show the original height of Prospect Hill before it was leveled off in 1872 to fill in parts of present-day Union Square.
Prospect Hill’s panoramic views proved useful during the Revolutionary War. Soldiers positioned there were able to come to the aid of troops at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and later, they built a major fort atop the hill. Dubbed the Citadel, the fort survived British attacks throughout the siege of Boston. Later, on January 1, 1776, George Washington raised the first Grand Union flag of the United American Colonies at the spot.
According to the City of Somerville, Historic Somerville hopes to offer one more climbing event in October before the regular schedule begins next year.