Restoration work on Bunker Hill Monument could impact visitors' access

Work is being done this summer on the historic Bunker Hill Monument in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood, built in the 1820s and 30s

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Just beyond the downtown Boston skyline and Zakim Bridge, the Bunker Hill Monument has long stood the test of time.

Lately, though, the Charlestown structure has been showing its age. Built in the 1820s and 30s, the monument made from granite and mortar serves as a tribute to the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775.

"It is bigger than I thought it was going to be," said David Jorgernson, visiting from Long Beach, as he toured the Bunker Hill Monument on Wednesday.

The monument has long attracted locals and visitors alike, especially during the busy summer tourist season.

"It is just a different kind of Americana completely, especially for someone who is not from here," said Scott Mossman, visiting the monument from Kansas City.

Last week, work began on a $1.4-million restoration. Fencing now stretches around the perimeter, and soon, scaffolding will reach all the way to the top of the 221-foot monument.

"We currently have a lot of water infiltration, which is causing moisture on the inside, and it is just not good for the overall monument structure itself," said Michael Creasey, Boston's superintendent with the U.S. National Park Service.

Creasey says the NPS always tries to do restoration work like this during off-peak times, but this type of mortar work on the top of the monument requires warm weather.

"We really have to do it during the construction season of warm weather, so we don't really have a choice to do it in the offseason," he said. "We are always trying to balance visitors' schedules."

On Wednesday, those visiting the monument tried to take the construction in stride.

"Well, that is Boston for you," said Austin Rutledge.

Mossman, visiting from Kansas City, is also trying to look on the bridge side.

"It would be nice if they cleaned it up a little bit for me, but you know, it is alright, Boston is still beautiful," he said.

NPS says it hopes to have all the work wrapped up by the end of the year.

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