Partly owned by the town of Hull and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) the rocky remnants of Fort Revere, formerly known as Fort Independence, rests in Fort Revere Park on the costal Telegraph Hill in the historic village of Hull. The fort overlooks Boston Lighthouse on Little Brewster Island, the first lighthouse to be built in the United States, and The Graves Light Station on The Graves, the outer most Boston Harbor island. Fort Revere is both praised, for being the most striking military landmark in Massachusetts, and feared, for being the most haunted.
Recognized for its elongated grimy stone hallways and pitch-dark cavernous hideaways, all littered in flashy graffiti art, Fort Revere is chillingly beautiful. Discretely off the beaten path and up a small winding-hill road, the remains Fort Revere are almost hidden, sunken into the Earth, suggestively waiting for visitors to research its intriguing history and ominous past.
In fact, Fort Revere’s captivating past commenced over two-hundred years ago, amidst the American Revolutionary War (1775 – 1783), when the stronghold was better known as Fort Independence. During the peak of the American Revolution, in 1777, Fort Independence was erected as a star shaped fortress designed to protect Boston Harbor and garrisoned by both American, and later, French troops.
Soon after, in 1778, and on the forefront of the revolution, two-hundred French soldiers, who had been captured by the British in Nova Scotia, were exchanged for English prisoners and shipped south to Fort Independence. Before long, the liberated soldiers perished from smallpox. Legend has it, French marines buried the deceased soldiers on a grassy slope beneath the fort, now known as Hull Village Cemetary. Bizarre occurrences, such as unexplained noises and looming shadows, have plagued the fort and haunted both soldiers and visitors every since the massive loss of life. Until it was decommissioned in 1947, the fortress served to protect Boston Harbor for one-hundred and seventy years.
The most chilling aspect of this account still remains a mystery to this very day. Fueling the tragedy, the soldiers remains, buried beneath the grassy knoll, were never located, and no tombstone was ever erected to mark their final resting location. Furthermore, in 1976, a team of archeologists from Bridgewater State University tried to locate the remains of the deceased soldiers, but were unsuccessful in their ventures.
In July of 1976, the French Governement donated a 1.9 ton granite table, engraved with a map of the Boston Harbor, as a memorial. Eventually, the granite table was place on the observation deck of the Fort Revere Water Tower. Over one-hundred years old, the tower still stands to this day, adjacent to Fort Revere on Telegraph Hill.
Once open to the public, the tower and stunning observation deck was closed in 2012 after being deemed unsafe during an engineering study. The study concluded that the 1.9 ton granite table memorial, donated by the French, was of particular concern and over-stressing the buildings supports. Although the state and local officials agreed that the site has historical significance, there was not enough money in their budgets to make the repairs needed to restore the water tower and the rest of the park.
Hopefully, restoration and preservation plans will be underway for all of Fort Revere Park; the biggest issues has been finding financing. Nevertheless, recently in 2017, the Boston Globe published and article that finally announced the name of a historic preservation carpenter, chosen by the state, hired to be a curator and live in the 1903 Army Officers Quarters on Telegraph Hill. This means that the historic property will have a tenant in it for the first time since 1950. In the meantime, the rest of the park sits dormant, waiting and sunken in the shadows of the Earth, under the bright costal sun.
Little known fact: Hull is the only Massachusetts town to be awarded a bicentennial grant from the French Government. The grant was used to erect two memorials to commemorate the French participation in the defense of Boston Harbor during the Revolution.