60 Farina Rd, Hull, MA 02045, USA
Owned By: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Town of Hull
Historic fort and grassy park with a spectacular view of Boston Harbor. Located atop Telegraph Hill in Hull Village. Features the remains of US military fortifications from the American Revolution and the early 20th century, plus a water tower, a military history museum, and a small picnic area. Bear in mind that vandalism (primarily graffiti) runs rampant here, and detracts from the grandeur.
According to interpretive signage on-site, Telegraph Hill was considered as a site for a fort as early as 1633. It was first officially fortified during the Revolutionary War, to protect Boston Harbor. General Joseph Palmer created a star-shaped fortress which was named Fort Independence.
By 1777, the fort had 15 guns, placed in low walls or parapets. There was also a military hospital. Signage on site offers much more detail about the fort’s ever-changing artillery. During the American Revolution, French Marines were stationed at the fort, to aid the American cause. In addition, 200 French soldiers captured by the British in Nova Scotia were transferred there in an exchange for English prisoners. Unfortunately, they were plagued by smallpox. Nearly 200 died, and were buried beside the fort. The exact location remains undetermined, and local lore claims that the fort is haunted.
Expansions continued through 1780, but the fort was deactivated in 1782. In 1797, it lost its name, when “Fort Independence” was transferred to Castle Island. Hull’s fort may have been known as Allerton Battery at that time. It was also sometimes known as the French fort. By The War of 1812, it had fell out of use and remained dormant for nearly a century.
Renamed in honor of Paul Revere, the fort was revived in 1897, as part of the Endicott Program, which fortified Boston Harbor. Batteries were constructed from 1898-1906 (again, see signage on site for details). Troops were stationed there during the Spanish-American War (1898), and the fort was further expanded after the United States entered World War I. It was also fortified with temporary structures at the beginning of World War II, but it was decommissioned in 1847, and turned over the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. By then it had grown to 77 acres. The state kept the site of the original fort, but auctioned off the rest, with Hull purchasing 8 acres for a cemetery and the remainder developed privately.
A 120-foot tall water tower was constructed on site in 1903 — one of the earliest steel reinforced concrete water towers in the US, and likely the first in New England. It could hold 118,000 gallons, plus there was an observation deck at the top, useful for spotting warships. The same site had been home to a different watch tower as early as 1673, and after 1792, it was part of a system of semaphores (a precursor to the telegraph) up and down the Massachusetts coast. It is now part of the Hull Historical District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Leading up to the United States Bicentennial in 1976, Fort Revere was partially restored as a historic site, with amphitheaters installed within the old fort walls. Three memorials were established that year, courtesy of France, to commemorate French/American cooperation in the Revolutionary War.
No trails, but visitors are welcome to explore the remains on the fort on foot. It’s a fascinating place with lovely views. Look for the stairs next to the parking area and proceed with caution!
Habitats and Wildlife
The concrete remains of the fort are surrounded with grass and some sumac and maple. The waters here drain to Boston Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.
Historic Site: Yes
Boat Launch: No
Size: 8.9 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited on-site parking.
Trail Difficulty: Medium
Interpretive signage, informational kiosks, memorials, picnic tables, grill, trash receptacles.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Boston Harbor (Atlantic Ocean)