Charlestown, Massachusetts is a part of Boston that is often overlooked as it does not have the glitz and glamour of Back Bay or Beacon Hill nor the Internationally famed cuisine of the North End. As an FYI, it is no longer controlled by the Irish mob as it was during the 1960s-1990s. This is an area worth exploring and worth learning about, so here goes magic! It is the oldest part of Boston being built in 1629, is located on a peninsula so that one has to traverse south across the engineering marvel Zakim Bridge to access the rest of Boston, and is surrounded by the Boston Harbor/Mystic River and Charles River. Located in Charlestown is the historic Charlestown Navy Yard where one can hop aboard and tour the oldest commission vessel in the US Navy, the USS Constitution. Whether it is more than a very cool floating museum at this point is up for debate but it isn’t going anywhere any time soon and is a marvel to behold. The Bunker Hill Monument is also in Charlestown! It is 221 feet high, made of solid granite, and commemorates one of the first major battles between the British and liberty hungry Patriots in the revolutionary war!
Charlestown is a mixture of families of Irish descent who have lived there for generations and newer working professionals/young families looking to take advantage of the many green open spaces (see Paul Revere Park or Breed’s Hill) and highly performing public schools in the area. There is a real sense of community in Charlestown with neighbors feeling comfortable approaching and sharing advice or a cup of sugar with another perhaps. Residents support the areas little league teams, celebrate Bunker Hill day heartily with renewed pride for revolutionaries of old, and form organic connections with each other regardless of background or political views. Most of Charlestown is residential with brick row houses reminiscent of housing in Beacon Hill, along with some older wooden houses, and more modern full service/luxury buildings closer by the Navy Yard. The median home price for Charlestown is $641,000 and median onebedroom rental price is $2,500. This high cost in part reflects Charlestown’s proximity to medical center’s MGH-Charlestown Health Center and Spaulding Rehabilitation Center, as well as Partners Healthcare’s new corporate office in nearby Assembly Square. It also reflects the great selection of restaurants to dine from in the area such as the Brewer’s fork ( great beer selection, charcuterie, and oysters), the historic Warren Tavern which was frequented by Paul Revere and George Washington, and the French/Moroccan cuisine serving Tangierino which has belly dancers!
Charlestown has less violent crime than Boston as a whole with 392 violent crimes per 100,000 residents with Boston as a whole having 707 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. It has approximately half the property crime rate with 1190 property crimes per 100K residents versus 2150 per 100K residents for Boston in totality. In terms of public schools, the Warren-Prescott K-8 school in Charlestown had 56% of students score at proficient or above in English Language Arts, compared to 33% for the Boston School District over all and similarly had 58% of students score at proficient or above in Math ( compared to 40% for Boston as a whole). A parent recently glowingly reviewed this school, “The Warren-Prescott is a great city school with a small community feel. There is a lot of parent involvement to support a dedicated and amazing principal and staff. The school manages a true "community" feel with all backgrounds of Charlestown and the surrounding areas represented.” The other elementary school in Charlestown is the Harvard-Kent Elementary School with a +6% and 23% student proficiency rating in English Language Arts and Math respectively compared to Boston as whole. As with Warren-Prescott, Harvard-Kent received very high remarks from parents,” The Harvard Kent has the most dedicated and caring teachers I have ever come in contact with. The new Principal probably already knows every child by name. The camp this summer was amazing studying in the morning and Courages Sailing and the USS Constitution in the afternoon every component a learning experience. My child cannot wait to return to school. The Harvard Kent teaches children to enjoy learning.”