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Friday, September 18, 1942
in What's New In Town
W. J. Sidis
Charlestown is really Boston’s mother city, as is was there the Puritans went from Salem when they decided to settle on the head of Massachusetts Bay; and it was from Charlestown that the Shawmut peninsula was colonised. It originally was credited with territory extending indefinitely inland in a northwesterly direction; Medford, Winchester, Woburn, and finally Somerville, separated out―not to mention some miscellaneous territory―leaving only the Mishawum peninsula, where the original settlement of Charlestown was located. There are two hills on the peninsula, Breed’s Hill and Bunker Hill. It was on Breed’s Hill that the so-called Battle of Bunker Hill was fought; and there the Bunker Hill Monument is located (the British title for the fight was the Battle of Charlestown.) At that time, the peninsula had a narrow isthmus, which was entrenched after the battle. The site of the trenches is now Sullivan Square, named after the officer in charge of that front in the Revolution.
One of the Cape Cod stories that should interest us here is that of the old Cape Codder who went to Boston for the first time. On his return he was asked how he liked the trip. To which he answered: “Oh, fine. I did a lot of shopping―had a nice lunch in a restaurant―took in a movie show―and then it was time for the train home. But I had never heard that Boston was all under one roof.” And, indeed, South Station is not merely a city by itself, but is big enough to swallow up many a Cape Cod village.
We have mentioned in “Meet Boston” that national songs of both United States and Canada (“America” and “ O Canada”) originated in Boston. And it has also turned out that Hawaii’s best-known song, though not composed hereabouts, is nevertheless linked with Brookline. And now it turns out that one of Australia’s new wartime song hits, “Moon Over Melbourne,” was composed by a Bostonian. We commented that very few cities have contributed national songs to two nations―but Brussels and Strassburg have done that, as well as Boston. But for four nations only Boston could do that.
The story goes that a Somerville resident, about a hundred years ago, was asked what he was planning to do with some hilltop property he had over on the Medford line. To which he replied: “I intend to set a light on it.” And that is where Tufts College is now located.
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