St. Patrick’s Cathedral (New York City, U.S.A.)

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Our third, and final, mass in the U.S. was held at the decorated  Gothic Revival-style Cathedral of St. Patrick (commonly called St. Patrick’s Cathedral), the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York (created in 1808 and made into an archdiocese by Pope Pius IX on July 19, 1850). Held on the first Friday of July, this was our second visit to the cathedral (the first was 13 days ago) and we attended this mass to pray for a safe journey back to Manila, our flight back being just 8 hours away.

The cathedral is located on the east side of Fifth Avenue, between 50th and 51st Streets in Midtown Manhattan. Directly across the street is the Rockefeller Center and it specifically faces the Atlas statue. A prominent landmark of New York City, the land on which the present cathedral sits was purchased in 1810 and it was designed by James Renwick, Jr.  In 1976, the cathedral and its associated buildings were declared a National Historic Landmark.

Here’s some interesting trivia regarding St. Patrick’s Cathedral:

The 100.6 m. high spire

St. Patrick’s Cathedral currently has two pipe organs, both built by the firm of George Kilgen & Son of St. Louis, Missouri. They consist of more than 9,000 pipes, 206 stops, 150 ranks and 10 divisions.

The cathedral interior

The Gallery Organ,  located in the Choir Gallery below the Rose Window over the Fifth Avenue entrance and in the Triforium, near the South Transept, was edicated on February 11, 1930. It took 3 years to build at a cost of US$250,000. Designed by Robert J. Reiley, consulting architect of the Cathedral, it has one of the nation’s most glorious wood facades and is adorned with angels and Latin inscriptions. Containing 7,855 pipes, ranging in length from 32 ft. to 1/2 inch, its longest pipes run horizontally across the North and South Triforia.

The pulpit

The Chancell Organ,  located in the North Ambulatory next to the Chapel of St. Joseph, was dedicated on January 30, 1928. It has 1,480 pipes; located on the opposite side of the Ambulatory, diagonally across from the console, and is encased in a carved oak screen ornamented with Gothic elements of design and symbolism.

Stained glass windows

Here is a timeline of the cathedral’s construction:

  • On August 15, 1858, the cornerstone was laid, just south of the diocese’s orphanage.
  • Work began that same year, was halted during the Civil War,and resumed in 1865.
  • In 1878, the cathedral was completed and was dedicated on May 25, 1879.
  • In 1879, the cathedral’s first organ, composed of 4 manuals with 51 stops and 56 ranks, was built by George Jardine & Son, one of New York’s most distinguished organ builders, and installed.
  • In 1880, the archbishop’s house and rectory were, both by James Renwick, Jr.
  • In 1880, an organ by J.H. & C.S. Odell (then also from New York City), composed of 2 manuals with 20 stops and 23 ranks, was installed in the chancel.
  • An adjacent school, no longer in existence, was opened in 1882.
  • The spires were added in 1888, and at 329 feet and 6 inches (100.4 meters) were the tallest structures in New York City and the second highest in the United States.
  • From 1901 to 1906, an addition on the east, including a Lady chapel (designed by Charles T. Matthews), was constructed.
  • Between 1912 and 1930, the Lady Chapel’s stained-glass windows were made by English stained glass artist and designer Paul Vincent Woodroffe.
  • In 1927 and 1931, the cathedral was renovated, the sanctuary was enlarged and two great organs were installed.
  • In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the cathedral’s main altar area was renovated under the guidance of Archbishop (and later cardinal) Francis Spellman. The previous high altar and reredoswere removed (now located in the University Church of Fordham University). New items include the sanctuary bronze baldachin and the rose stained glass window.
  • In the 1940s and 1950s tonal changes were made on the two organs.
  • In the 1970s and 1980s, additional renovations were made on the organs by Jack Steinkampf of Yonkers, New York, particularly in the revoicing of flutes and reeds, and the addition of the Trumpette en Chamade.
  • In the 1980s, the altar was further renovated, under the direction of Cardinal John Joseph O’Connor. To be more visible to the congregation, a stone altar was built from sections of the side altars and added to the middle of the sanctuary. However, in 2013, this altar was removed.
  • In 1993, the organs underwent major restoration. new consoles for both the Gallery and Chancel Organs to replace the original ones (which had deteriorated beyond repair) were acquired. Robert Turner (of Hacienda Heights, California) constructed twin, 5-manual consoles while Solid State Logic, Ltd. of England designed and engineered the combination action. Fiber-optic wiring were used to enable both consoles to control the Gallery, Chancel and Nave Organs at the same time. In 1993, the Gallery console was finished and installed in time for Christmas Midnight Mass. In early 1994, the Chancel console was installed. In 1995, the entire Chancel Organ was restored
  • On September 15, 2007, the 10th anniversary of the organ’s renovation, the organs were blessed. The Bicentennial Concert Series was also inaugurated with a performance James E. Goettsche, the Vatican Organist.
  • In 2012, an extensive US$177 million restoration of the cathedral was begun and lasted 3 years. The exterior marble was cleaned, the stained glass windows were repaired and the ceiling was painted, among many restorations. On September 17, 2015, the restoration was completed before Pope Francis visited the cathedral on September 24 and 25, 2015.

The cathedral ceiling

Beneath the high altar is a crypt in which the nine past deceased Archbishops of New York as well as notable Catholic figures that served the Archdiocese are entombed. They include:

Plaque commemorating Pope Paul VI’s October 4. 1965 visit

The galeros of Cardinals McCloskey, Farley, Hayes and Spellman (also worn by Pope Pius XII, as Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, until the latter’s election to the papacy at the 1939 Papal conclave) are located high above the crypt at the back of the sanctuary. In 1965, the ceremony of the consistory was revised by Pope Paul VI and therefore no galero was presented to Cardinal Cooke or any of his successors.

Plaque commemorating Pope John Paul II’s second Papal visit

Requiem Masses were said at the cathedral for the following notable people:

Special memorial Masses were also held at the cathedral for the following:

The cathedral or parts of it were featured in a number of movies, TV shows, songs and literary works:

  • The climax of Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), where Taylor destroyed Earth with the AlphaOmega bomb, were set in the cathedral’s underground ruins. Centuries earlier, mutant humans surviving a nuclear holocaust founded a religion on the bomb (later depicted in Battle for the Planet of the Apes). They reconsecrated the cathedral to their new religion and installed the bomb in front of the organ pipes in place of the crucifix.
  • The TV show Futurama, Fry, Leela, et al. are visiting the sewer mutants beneath the ruins of Old New York and Fry sticks his head in the cathedral, sees the bomb, and says, “So you guys worship an unexploded atomic bomb?” A mutant replies, “Not really, it’s mostly a Christmas and Easter thing.”
  • Nelson DeMille‘s 1981 novel, Cathedral, concerning a fictional seizure and threatened destruction of the cathedral by members of the Irish Republican Army on St. Patrick’s Day, is mostly set in and around the cathedral and details of the cathedral’s structure contribute important elements to the plot.
  • The cathedral is also featured in the 1990 film Gremlins 2: The New Batch.
  • In Giannina Braschi‘s novel, Empire of Dreams (1994), the ringing of the church bells at the cathedral marks a pastoral revolution in New York City.
  • The cathedral was referenced in the song Not A Love Story by musical-theatre songwriters Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk. 

The author and son Jandy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Catheral: 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022, USA.

New York Public Library (New York City, U.S.A.)

New York Public Library

This public library system in New York City, one of the world’s leading libraries with nearly 53 million items, is the second largest public library in the United States (behind the Library of Congress) and fourth largest in the world. A private, non-governmental, independently managed, nonprofit corporation operating with both private and public financing, this library has branches in the boroughs of ManhattanThe Bronx, and Staten Island, and affiliations with academic and professional libraries in the metropolitan area of New York State.


The New York Public Library, with its collection consisted of more than 1,000,000 volumes, also has four research libraries which are also open to the general public. It is famed for its possession of a Gutenberg Bible and a Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. The iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the main branch of the New York Public Library, costing US$9 million to build, was officially opened on May 23, 1911 in a ceremony presided over by President William Howard Taft. That same day, after a dedication ceremony attended by 50,000 people, the library was open to the general public.  In 1965, the building was declared as a National Historic Landmark.

Grand lobby

The massive building exterior, which has suffered damage from weathering and pollution, underwent a three-year, $50 million renovation and restoration, underwritten by a $100-million gift from philanthropist Stephen A. Schwarzman (his name was inscribed at the bottom of the columns framing the building’s entrances) and overseen by Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., and the refurbished facade was unveiled on February 2, 2011.

Stairway on the left

The library, a French Beaux-Arts masterpiece designed by architects Carrère & Hastings, was the largest marble structure up to that time in the United States. The two reclining, placid but attentive stone lions (nicknamed Patience and Fortitude) guarding the entrance, sculpted by Eward Clark Potter, was carved by the Piccirilli Brothers.

Stairway on the right

This 3-storey building’s broad street frontage, along Fifth Avenue, adds to the variety and dignity of the streetscape. The library’s main façade expands horizontally and completely dominates the field of vision. The terrace, which lifts up the building from street level, is accessed by a wide, inviting stairway.

Bust of John M. Carrere

Bust of Thomas Hastings

The central portico, composed of 3 large, semicircular arched openings with a tall, sculpted attic, is reminiscent of an ancient Roman triumphal arch (a symbolic reference suggesting a ceremonial welcome). The allegorical fountains (Truth to the right and Beauty to the left), by Frederick MacMonnies, are embedded in the walls adjacent to the portico.

Edna Barnes Salomon Room

Print and Photographs Study Room

The interior, organized around a central circulation core, has a grand entry hall, two courtyards and a modest but exquisitely-detailed lobby split into two stairs which take the visitor to the functional rooms of the second floor and then, further up, to the spacious and stately reading room on the third floor.

Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division

Today, it is equipped with computers, with access to library collections and the Internet, and docking facilities for laptops. Many writers and scholars, selected annually, have accomplished important research and writing at the library through a Fellows program that makes reserved rooms available for them.

McGraw Rotunda

The rectangular McGraw Rotunda, set beneath arched bays and over 17-ft. high paired Corinthian walnut pilasters, has a richly decorative, Renaissance-style ceiling, with coffered (sunken) panels and painted, by James Wall Finn, with the vast, luminous, 27 by 33-ft. mural “Prometheus Bringing the Gift of Fire.” The colorfully cloudy sky is provided with the bright natural light by the massively-scaled windows.

Prometheus Bringing the Gift of Fire

A set of four large arched panels by Edward Laning, featuring “The Story of the Recorded Word” (the story depicted across each of the murals illustrate crucial periods of development in the history of books and printing) were executed from 1938 to 1942 as part of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) Project, with supplies furnished by Isaac Phelps Stokes (author of the “Iconography of Manhattan Island’).

Bill Blass Public Catalog Room

Moses with the Tablets of Law, the first mural, to the left of the entrance to the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room, depicts Moses, as recorded in the Book of Exodus, descending from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments.

Moses with the Tablets of Law

The Medieval Scribe, the second mural to the right of the same door, depicts a monk of the Middle Ages copying a manuscript while, behind him, is a scene of destruction and rapine.

The Medieval Scribe

Gutenberg Showing a Proof to the Elector of Mainz, the third mural to the left of the doorway to Room 316, depicts Johann Gutenberg showing a proof of his Bible to Adolph of Nassau, Elector of Mainz.

Gutenberg Showing a Proof to the Elector of Mainz

The Linotype-Mergenthaler and Whitelaw Reid, the fourth mural to the right, depicts Ottmar Mergenthaler (America’s contribution) at the keyboard of his linotype as his patron, Whitelaw Reid of the New York Tribune, examines a page printed by the new device.

The Linotype-Mergenthaler and Whitelaw Reid

New York Public Library (NYPL): 476 5th Ave. cor. 42nd St., New York City, New York 10018, U.S.A

The USS Constitution – Old Ironsides (Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

The USS Constitution (Old Ironsides)

After our visit to USS Constitution Museum and  the World War II Fletcher-class destroyer USS Cassin Young, Jandy and I proceeded to the highlight of our tour of the Charlestown Navy Yard – our visit to the USS Constitution. There was already a long queue of visitors waiting for the gates to open when we arrived (it opened at 3:30 PM).  To get in, we had to show valid IDs (in this case our passports).

Check out “USS Constitution Museum” and “USS Cassin Young

The ship at Dry Dock 1

The USS Constitution, a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy launched in 1797, is usually berthed at Pier 1 of the former Charlestown Navy Yard, at one end of Boston’s Freedom Trail  but, during our visit, it was in Dry Dock 1 (here since May 18, 2015) for her scheduled 2-year restoration program to restore the copper sheets on the ship’s hull and replace additional deck boards.  The lower deck was stripped of her guns.

The ship’s prow

Constitution is most noted for her actions during the War of 1812 against the United Kingdom, when she captured numerous merchant ships and defeated the British warships HMS GuerriereJavaPictouCyane and Levant during four separate engagements. She earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” because the cannon fire during here encounter with the Guerriere  seemed as if they couldn’t penetrate her strong oak hull.

The author at the gangplank leading up to the ship

Constitution’s stated mission today is to promote understanding of the Navy’s role in war and peace through educational outreach, historical demonstration, and active participation in public events as part of the Naval History & Heritage Command.

A member of the ship’s crew narrating the history of the ship to visitors

As a fully commissioned U.S. Navy ship, her crew of 60 officers and sailors participate in ceremonies, educational programs, and special events while keeping her open to visitors year round and providing free tours.

Jandy beside the double steering wheel of the ship

The officers and crew are all active-duty U.S. Navy personnel, and the assignment is considered to be special duty in the U.S. Navy. Traditionally, command of the vessel is assigned to a Navy commander.

List of Commanding Officers of the USS Constitution

The Constitution, open to the public year-round, typically makes at least one “turnaround cruise” each year, during which she is towed into Boston Harbor to perform underway demonstrations, including a gun drill.  She then returns to her dock in the opposite direction to ensure that she weathers evenly. The “turnaround cruise” is open to the general public based on a “lottery draw” of interested persons. The privately run USS Constitution Museum is nearby, located in a restored shipyard building at the foot of Pier Two.

National Historic Landmark Plaque

Here are some interesting trivia regarding this historic ship:

  • It was named by Pres. George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America.
  • The Constitution was one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794and the third constructed.  Joshua Humphreys designed the frigates to be the young Navy’s capital ships, and so Constitution and her sisters were larger and more heavily armed and built than standard frigates of the period. She was built in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts at Edmund Hartt‘s shipyard.
  • Her first duties with the newly formed U.S. Navy were to provide protection for American merchant shipping during the Quasi-War with France and to defeat the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War.
  • She is the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat
  • The battle with Guerriere earned her the nickname of “Old Ironsides” and public adoration that has repeatedly saved her from scrapping.
  • Though the Constitution was rated as a 44-gun frigate, she often carried more than 50 guns at a time.
  • During the War of 1812, Constitution’s battery of guns typically consisted of thirty 24-pounder (11 kgs.) cannons, with 15 on each side of the gun deck. A total of 22 cannons were deployed on the spar deck, 11 per side, each a 32-pounder (15 kgs.) carronade. Four chase guns were also positioned, two each at the stern and bow.
  • Constitution’s hull was built 530 mm. (21 in.) thick and her length between perpendiculars was 53 m. (175 ft.), with a 62 m. (204 ft.) length overall and a width of 13.26 m. (43 ft. 6 in.).
  • Her six-sail battle configuration consisted of jibs, topsails and driver.
  • In total, 24 hectares (60 acres) of trees, primarily pine and oak (including southern live oak which was cut from Gascoigne Bluff and milled near  Simons, Georgia) were needed for her construction.
  • Many times, souvenirs were made from her old planking. Isaac Hull ordered walking canes, picture frames and even a phaeton that was presented to Pres. Andrew Jackson. Funds for her 1927-1931 restoration were also raised from memorabilia made of her discarded planking.
  • Busts, depicting Isaac Hull, William Bainbridge and Charles Stewart, were added to her stern, remaining in place for the next 40 years. A figurehead of President Andrew Jackson witht a top hat was also installed under the bowsprit, a subject of much controversy due to Jackson’s political unpopularity in Boston at the time. Another likeness of Jackson, this time with a more Napoleonic pose, was installed in 1847.
  • Most of the required funds for her 1927-1931 restoration were raised privately.  In 1924, the estimated cost of her repair was US$400,000 but it reached over US$745,000 after costs of materials were realized. The first effort, sponsored by the national Elks Lodge, raised US$148,000 from pennies donated by schoolchildren. In September 1926, Wilbur Secretary of the Navy Curtis D. Wilbur began to sell copies of a painting of Constitution at 50 cents per copy. The silent film Old Ironsides, portraying Constitution during the First Barbary War, premiered in December 1926, helped spur more contributions to her restoration fund. Memorabilia made of her discarded planking and metal also raised funds. More than US$600,000 was eventually raised after expenses, still short of the required amount. To complete the restoration, Congress approved up to US$300,000. The final cost of the restoration was US$946,000.
  • Materials for its restoration, especially the live oak needed, were difficult to find. Lt. John A. Lord, selected to oversee the 1927-1931 reconstruction project, uncovered a long-forgotten stash of some 1,500 short tons (1,400 t) of live oak (cut sometime in the 1850s for a ship building program that never began) at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. During her 1973-1974 restoration, large quantities of red oak, added in the 1950s as an experiment to see if it would last better than the live oak, were removed and replaced (it had mostly rotted away by 1970). “Constitution Grove,” a 100 sq. km. (25,000-acre) tract of land located at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indiana dedicated by Cmdr. Tyrone G. Martin in May 1976, now supplies the majority of the white oak required for repair work. For the 1995 restoration, live oak trees felled by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 were also donated by the city of Charleston, South Carolina.  The International Paper Company also donated live oak from its own property.
  • For the 3-year tour of the country in the 1930s, many amenities were installed to prepare her including water piping throughout, modern toilet and shower facilities, electric lighting to make the interior visible for visitors, and several peloruses for ease of navigation. The tour began with much celebration and a 21-gun salute, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Due to the schedule of visits on her itinerary (90 port cities along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts), she was towed by the minesweeper Grebe and she went as far north as Bar Harbor, Maine, south and into the Gulf of Mexico then through the Panama Canal Zone, and north again to Bellingham, Washington on the Pacific Coast.
  • Since her 1927–1931 restoration, all of the guns aboard Constitution are replicas. Most were cast in 1930, but two carronades on the spar deck were cast in 1983. In order to restore the capability of firing ceremonial salutes, a modern 40 mm. (1.6 in.) saluting gun was hidden inside the forward long gun on each side during her 1973–1976 restoration.
  • During the 1976 Bicentennial, over 900,000 visitors toured “Old Ironsides.”
  • The Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston, responsible for planning and performing her maintenance, repair, and restoration, keeping her as close as possible to her 1812 configuration, estimates that approximately 10–15%of the timber in Constitution contains original material installed during her initial construction period in the years 1795–1797.
  • In 2003, the special effects crew from the production of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World spent several days using Constitution as a computer model, using stem-to-stern digital image scans of “Old Ironsides,”for the fictional French frigate Acheron.

The lower deck of the ship

Here’s the historical timeline of the Constitution:

  • On November 1, 1794, the Constitution’s keel is laid down at Edmund Hartt‘s shipyard in Boston, Massachusetts under the supervision of Capt. Samuel Nicholson and master shipwright George Claghorn
  • On September 20, 1797, the Constitution is launched in a ceremony attended by Pres. John Adams and Massachusetts Gov. Increase Sumner.
  • On October 21, 1797, after a month of rebuilding the ways, the Constitution finally slips into Boston Harbor, with Capt. James Sever breaking a bottle of Madeira wine on her bowsprit.
  • On the evening of July 22, 1798, she puts to sea, with orders to patrol the Eastern seaboard between New Hampshire and New York.
  • On September 8, 1798, off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, the Constitution intercepts the Niger, a 24-gun ship sailing with a French crew, en route from Jamaica to Philadelphia, claiming to have been under the orders of Great Britain. Nicholson has the crewmen imprisoned, placing a prize crew aboard Niger and bringing her into Norfolk, Virginia. The ship and her crew are released to continue their voyage and the American government pays a restitution of $11,000 to Great Britain.
  • On December 29, 1798, after repairs to her bowsprit which was severely damaged in a gale, the Constitution departs Boston.
  • On January 15, 1799, the Constitution intercepts the Spencer, an English merchantman which had been taken prize by the French frigate L’Insurgente a few days prior. Though technically a French ship operated by a French prize crew, Nicholson releases the Spencer and her crew the next morning.
  • On March 1, 1799, the Constitution encounters HMS Santa Margarita whose captain was an acquaintance of Nicholson. The two agree to a sailing duel and, after 11 hours of sailing, Santa Margarita lowers her sails and admits defeat, paying off the bet with a cask of wine to Nicholson.
  • On March 27, 1799, the Constitution manages to recapture the American sloop Neutrality and, a few days later, the French ship Carteret.
  • On May 14, 1799, she returns to Boston and Nicholson was relieved of command.
  • On July 23, 1799, after repairs and resupply are completed, the Constitution departs Boston, now under the command of Capt. Silas Talbot, for Saint-Domingue in the West Indies, via Norfolk, on a mission to interrupt French shipping.
  • On September 15, 1799, she takes the Amelia from a French prize crew and Talbot sends the ship back to New York City with an American prize crew.
  • On October 15, 1799, the Constitution arrives at Saint-Domingue and rendezvous with BostonGeneral Greene and Norfolk.
  • On July 13, 1800, she puts into Cap Français for repairs of her mainmast.
  • On July 23, 1800, the Constitution is relieved of duty by the Constellation.
  • On August 24, 1800, after the Constitution escorts 12 merchantmen to Philadelphia, she puts in at Boston where she receives new masts, sails and rigging.
  • On December 17, 1800, the Constitution again sails for the West Indies as squadron flagship, rendezvousing with CongressAdamsAugustaRichmond and Trumbull.
  • On July 2, 1802, she is placed in ordinary.
  • On May 13, 1803, during the Quasi-War with the Barbary States, Capt. Edward Preble recommissions Constitution as his flagship and makes preparations to command a new squadron for a blockade attempt.
  • On August 14, 1803, the Constitution departs Boston.
  • On September 6, 1803, she almost has a near encounter with the HMS Maidstone, a 32-gun frigate, near the Rock of Gibraltar.
  • On September 12, 1803, the Constitution arrives at Gibraltar where Preble waits for the other ships of the squadron.
  • On October 3, 1803, the Constitution and Nautilus departs Gibraltar
  • On October 4, 1803, they arrive at TangiersAdams and New York arrives the next day. With four American warships in his harbor, the Sultan was glad to arrange the transfer of ships between the two nations
  • On October 14, 1803, Preble departs with his squadron, heading back to Gibraltar.
  • On the morning of August 3, 1804, the ConstitutionArgusEnterpriseScourgeSyren, six gunboats, and two bomb ketches arrive and immediately begin operations for the attack on Tripoli. In the harbor, Constitution and her squadron severely damage or destroy, in a series of attacks over the coming month, the 22 Tripoline gunboats that meet them, taking their crews prisoner. Constitution primarily provided gunfire support, bombarding the shore batteries of Tripoli.
  • On August 11, 1804, the Constitution is ordered to Malta for repairs and, while en route, captures two Greek vessels attempting to deliver wheat into Tripoli.
  • On August 12, 1804, a collision with the President, attributed to a sudden change in wind direction, severely damages the ship’s bow, stern and the figurehead of Hercules.
  • On November 9, 1804, while she underwent repairs and resupply in Malta, Capt. John Rodgers assumes command of Constitution.
  • On April 5, 1805, she resumes the blockade of Tripoli, capturing a Tripoline xebec, along with two prizes that the xebec had captured.
  • On June 3, 1805, a peace treaty with Tripoli was signed  on board the Constitution
  • On July 30, 1805, she arrives in Tunis.
  • On August 14, 1805, after a a short-term blockade of the harbor by the Constitution, CongressConstellationEnterpriseEssexFranklinHornetJohn AdamsNautilusSyren and eight gunboats, a peace treaty was signed.
  • On May 29, 1806, after performing routine patrols and observing the French and Royal Navy operations of the Napoleonic Wars, Rodgers turns over the command of the squadron and Constitution to Capt. Hugh G. Campbell.
  • On May 15, 1807, James Barron sails the Chesapeake out of Norfolk to replace Constitution as the flagship of the Mediterranean squadron. However, he encounters HMS Leopard, resulting in the Chesapeake–Leopard Affair and delaying the relief of Constitution.
  • On September 8, 1807, Campbell and the squadron are ordered home and set sail for Boston
  • On October 14, 1807, the squadron arrives in Boston.
  • On December 1807, the Constitution is recommissioned, with Capt. John Rodgers again taking command to oversee a major refitting and overhaul at a cost just under $100,000.
  • On June 1810, Isaac Hull takes command.
  • On August 5, 1811, Hull departs for France, transporting the new Ambassador Joel Barlow and his family, arriving on September 1.
  • On February 18, 1812, they arrive back to the United States.
  • On July 12, 1812, after war is declared with Britain on June 18, Hull put to sea attempting to join the five ships of a squadron under the command of Rodgers in the President.
  • On July 17, 1812, off Egg Harbor, New Jersey, Hull sights 5 ships (HMS AeolusAfricaBelvideraGuerriere and Shannon) of a British squadron out of Halifax. They sight the Constitution and give chase.
  • On July 19, 1812, after a 57-hour chase, the Constitution finally outruns the squadron, pumping overboard 2,300 US gal (8.7 kl) of drinking water and pulled far enough ahead of the British that they abandoned the pursuit.
  • On July 27, 1812, Constitution arrives in Boston and remains there just long enough to replenish her supplies.
  • On August 2, 1812, to avoid being blockaded in port, Hull sails without orders, heading on a northeast route towards the British shipping lanes near Halifax and the Gulf of Saint LawrenceConstitution captures 3 British merchantmen, which Hull burns rather than risk taking them back to an American port.
  • On August 16, 1812, he sails in pursuit of a British frigate 190 kms. (120 mi.) to the south.
  • On August 19, 1812, he sights the frigate HMS Guerriere and, after a furious battle, the Constitution’s sailing ability and heavier broadsides turned the British frigate into an unmanageable hulk, with close to a third of her crew wounded or killed, while Constitution remained largely intact as many of the British shots had rebounded harmlessly off its hull. The British surrendered. The Guerriere was so badly damaged that she was not worth towing to port and, the next morning, Hull ordered her to be burned after transferring the British prisoners onto Constitution.
  • On August 30, 1812, the Constitution arrives back in Boston where Hull and his crew find that news of their victory has spread fast, and they are hailed as heroes.
  • On September 8, 1812, William Bainbridge takes command of the Constitution and prepares her for another mission in British shipping lanes near Brazil
  • On October 27, 1812, she sets sail with the Hornet
  • On December 13, 1812, they arrive near São Salvador, sighting HMS Bonne Citoyenne in the harbor. The captain of Bonne Citoyenne, reportedly carrying $1,600,000 in specie to England, refuses to leave the neutral harbor lest he lose his cargo. Constitution sails offshore in search of prizes, leaving Hornet to await the departure of Bonne Citoyenne.
  • On December 29, 1812, she meets with HMS Java, under Capt. Henry Lambert and, after continuously raking her with broadsides, Java lays in shambles, an unmanageable wreck with a badly wounded crew, and she surrenders. Java is far too damaged to retain as a prize and Bainbridge orders her burned. Bainbridge is wounded twice during the battle.
  • On January 1, 1813, Constitution returns to São Salvador to disembark the prisoners of Java, where she meets with Hornet and her two British prizes.
  • On January 5, 1813, Bainbridge orders Constitution to sail for Boston for extensive repairs.
  • On February 15, 1813, the Constitution arrives in Boston to even greater celebrations than Hull had received a few months earlier.
  • On July 18, 1813, Charles Stewart takes command of the ship, struggling to complete the construction and recruitment of a new crew.
  • On December 31, 1813, she finally makes sail, setting course for the West Indies to harass British shipping.
  • By late March 1814, she captures 5 merchant ships and the 14-gun HMS Pictou. She also pursues HMS Columbine and HMS Pique but, after realizing that she is an American frigate, both ships escape.
  • On March 27, 1814, her mainmast splits off the coast of Bermuda requiring immediate repair.
  • On April 3, 1814, while enroute to Boston, British ships HMS Junon and Tenedos  pursue her but, after drinking water, food and spirits were cast overboard to lighten her load and gain speed, she makes her way into Marblehead, Massachusetts where the British call off the pursuit. Two weeks later, Constitution makes her way into Boston harbor where she remains blockaded in port until mid-December.
  • On the afternoon of December 18, 1814, the Constitution escapes from Boston Harbor and again sets course for Bermuda. Capt. George Collier gathers a squadron consisting of the 50-gun HMS Leander, Newcastle and Acasta and sets off in pursuit, but he was unable to overtake her.
  • On December 24, 1814, the Constitution intercepts the merchantman Lord Nelson and places a prize crew on board.
  • On February 8, 1815, Constitution is cruising off Cape Finisterre when Stewart learns that the Treaty of Ghent has been signed.
  • On February 16, 1815, realizing that a state of war still exists until the treaty is ratified, the Constitution captures the British merchantman Susanna (her cargo of animal hides were valued at $75,000).
  • On February 20, 1815, the Constitution sights the small British ships Cyane and Levant sailing in company and gives chase, capturing both of them.
  • On March 10, 1815, the trio arrives at Porto Praya at the Cape Verde Islands.
  • On the morning of March 11, 1815, Collier’s squadron was spotted on a course for the harbor, and Stewart orders all ships to sail immediately. Cyane is able to elude the squadron and make sail for America, where she arrives on April 10, but Levant is overtaken and recaptured. While Collier’s squadron was distracted with Levant, the Constitution makes its escape.
  • On April 2, 1815, Constitution puts into Maranhão to offload her British prisoners and replenish her drinking water.
  • On April 28, 1815, after receiving verification of Treaty of Ghent at San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Constitution sets course for New York
  • On May 15, 1815, the Constitution arrives in New York to large celebrations.
  • In January 1816, Constitution is moved to Boston and placed in ordinary, sitting out the Second Barbary War.
  • In April 1820, Isaac Hull, now Charlestown Navy Yard’s commandant, directs a refitting of Constitution to prepare her for duty with the Mediterranean Squadron.
  • On May 13, 1821, the Constitution, now under Jacob Jones, departs on a three-year uneventful tour of duty in the Mediterranean, sailing in company with Ontario and Nonsuch.
  • On May 31, 1824, Constitution arrives in Boston and Jones is relieved of command, replaced by Thomas Macdonough.
  • On October 29, 1824, the Constitution sails for the Mediterranean under the direction of John Rodgers in North Carolina.
  • During December and into January 1826, Constitution puts in for repairs.
  • On February 21, 1826, Daniel Todd Patterson assumes command after Macdonough resigns his command for health reasons on October 9, 1825.
  • By August 1826, she puts into Port Mahon, suffering decay of her spar deck, and she remains there until temporary repairs are completed in March 1827.
  • On July 4, 1828 Constitution returned to Boston and was placed in reserve.
  • On September 14, 1830, an article appeared in the Boston Advertiser which erroneously claims that the Navy intended to scrap Constitution.
  • On September 16, 1830, Oliver Wendell Holmes‘ poem “Old Ironsides” is published in the same paper and later all over the country, igniting public indignation and inciting efforts to save “Old Ironsides” from the scrap yard.
  • After Secretary Branch approves the repair cost of over $157,000, and Constitution begins a leisurely repair period while awaiting completion of the dry dock, then under construction at the yard.
  • On June 24, 1833, Constitution enters dry dock and Capt. Jesse Elliott, the new commander of the Navy yard, oversees her reconstruction. Constitution had 760 mm. (30 in.) of hogin her keel and she remains in dry dock until June 21, 1834.
  • In March 1835, the Constitution, with Elliot in command, gets underway to New York
  • On March 16, 1835, Constitution sets a course for France to deliver Edward Livingston to his post as Minister.
  • On April 10, 1835, she arrives in France
  • On May 16, 1835, Constitution begins the return voyage back to Boston
  • On June 23, 1835, she arrives back in Boston
  • On August 19, 1835, Constitution sails again to take her station as flagship in the Mediterranean
  • On September 19, 1835, she arrives at Port Mahon to begin her uneventful duty over the next two years as she and United States make routine patrols and diplomatic visits.
  • From April 1837 into February 1838, Elliot collects various ancient artifacts to carry back to America.
  • On July 31, 1835, Constitution arrives in Norfolk.
  • On March 1, 1839, as flagship of the Pacific Squadron under the command of Capt. Daniel Turner, she begins her next voyage with the duty of patrolling the western coast of South America, visiting Valparaíso, Callao, Paita and Puna.
  • On August 29, 1841, on her return voyage, Emperor Pedro II of Brazil visits her at Rio de Janeiro.
  • On October 31, 1841, she returns to Norfolk.
  • On June 22, 1842 she is recommissioned, under the command of Foxhall Alexander Parker, for duty with the Home Squadron. After spending months in port she puts to sea for 3 weeks during December, then is again put in ordinary.
  • In late 1843, she is moored at Norfolk, serving as a receiving ship.
  • On November 6, 1843, Capt. John Percival makes necessary repairs and upgrades on the ship at a cost of $10,000 and after several months of labor.
  • On May 29, 1844, Constitution gets underway carrying Ambassador to Brazil Henry A. Wise and his family
  • On August 2, 1844, after making two port visits along the way, she arrives at Rio de Janeiro.
  • On September 8, 1844, Constitution sails again, making port calls at Madagascar, Mozambique, and Zanzibar
  • On January 1, 1845, she arrives in Sumatra where many of her crew begin to suffer from dysentery and fevers, causing several deaths, which leads Percival to set course for Singapore
  • On February 8, 1845, Constitution arrives in Singapore where Commodore Henry Ducie Chads (a lieutenant in the Java when she surrendered to William Bainbridge 33 years earlier) of the HMS Cambrian pays a visit to Constitution, offering what medical assistance his squadron could provide.
  • On May 10, 1845, after leaving Singapore, Constitution arrives in Turon, Cochinchina (present day Da Nang, Vietnam).
  • On May 26, 1845, after failing to obtain the release of French missionary Dominique Lefèbvre who was being held captive under sentence of death, the Constitution departs.
  • On June 20, 1845, she arrives in Canton, China and spends the next six weeks there, with Percival making shore and diplomatic visits.
  • On September 18, 1845, she reaches Manila, spending a week there preparing to enter the Pacific Ocean.
  • On September 28, 1845, she sails for the Hawaiian Islands
  • On November 16, 1845, the Constitution arrives in Honolulu where she finds Commodore John D. Sloat and his flagship Savannah there
  • On January 13, 1846, after provisioning for six months, the Constitution arrives in Mazatlán, Mexico as the United States was preparing for war after the Texas annexation.
  • On April 22, 1846, after sitting at anchor for more than 3 months, she sails for home.
  • On July 4, 1846, she rounds Cape Horn. Upon arrival at Rio de Janeiro, the ship’s party learns that the Mexican War had begun on May13, soon after their departure from Mazatlán.
  • On September 27, 1846, she arrives in Boston
  • On October 5, 1846, the Constitution is mothballed.
  • In 1847, the Constitution begins refitting for duty with the Mediterranean Squadron.
  • On December 9, 1848, under Capt. John Gwinn, the Constitution departs.
  • On January 19, 1849, she arrives in Tripoli.
  • On August 1, 1849, at Gaeta,  she receives King Ferdinand II and Pope Pius IX on board, giving them a 21-gun salute, the first time that a Pope set foot on American territory or its equivalent.
  • On September 1, 1849, Capt. Gwinn dies of chronic gastritis at Palermo and, on September 9, is buried near Lazaretto.
  • On September 18, 1849, Capt. Thomas Conover assumes command  and resumes routine patrolling for the rest of the tour,
  • On December 1, 1850, she heads home and is involved in a severe collision with the English brig Confidence, cutting her in half and sinking her with the loss of her captain. The surviving crew members are carried back to America
  • On January 1851, the Constitution is again put back in ordinary, this time at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
  • On December 22, 1852, the Constitution is recommissioned under the command of John Rudd.
  • On March 2, 1853, she departs the yard on a leisurely sail towards Africa, carrying Commodore Isaac Mayo for duty with the African Squadron
  • On June 18, 1853, she arrives in Africa with Mayo making a diplomatic visit in Liberia to arrange a treaty between the Gbarbo and the Grebo tribes, resorting to firing cannons into the village of the Gbarbo in order to get them to agree to the treaty.
  • On November 3, 1853, near Angola, the Constitution takes the American ship H. N. Gambrill (the Constitution’s final capture), which was involved in the slave trade, as a prize.
  • On March 31, 1855, she sails for home but is diverted to Havana, Cuba
  • On March 16, 1855, she arrives in Havana
  • On March 24, 1855, she departs Havana for Portsmouth Navy Yard
  • On June 14, 1855, she is decommissioned, ending her last duty on the front lines.
  • In 1857, Constitution is moved to dry dock at the Portsmouth Navy Yard for conversion into a training ship. Classrooms are added on her spar and gun decks and her armament is reduced to only 16 guns. Her rating was changed to a “2nd rate ship.”
  • On August 1, 1860, she is recommissioned and moves from Portsmouth to the US Naval Academy.
  • In April 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War, Constitution is ordered to relocate farther north after threats are made against her by Confederate sympathizers. Several companies of Massachusetts volunteer soldiers are stationed aboard for her protection.
  • On April 29, 1861, she arrives in New York City after being towed there by R. R. Cuyler. She was subsequently relocated, along with the Naval Academy, to Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island for the duration of the war.
  • On August 1865, Constitution, along with the rest of the Naval Academy, moves back to Annapolis. Once settled in at the Academy, a series of upgrades are installed that includes steam pipes and radiators to supply heat from shore, along with gas lighting.
  • From June to August each year, she would depart with midshipmen for their summer training cruise and then return to operate for the rest of the year as a classroom.
  • In June 1867, her last known plank owner William Bryant dies in Maine.
  • On November 1867, George Dewey assumes command and serves as her commanding officer until 1870.
  • In 1871, her condition had deteriorated to the point where she is retired as a training ship
  • On September 26, 1871, after being towed to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, she is again placed in ordinary.
  • Beginning in 1873, Constitution is overhauled in order to participate in the centennial celebrations of the United States. Work begins slowly and is intermittently delayed by the transition of the Philadelphia Navy Yard to League Island.
  • By late 1875, the Navy opens bids for an outside contractor to complete the work
  • In May 1876, Constitution is moved to Wood, Dialogue, and Company  where a coal bin and a small boiler for heat were installed. At this time The Andrew Jackson figurehead is removed and given to the Naval Academy Museum where it remains today.
  • During the rest of 1876, her construction drags on until the centennial celebrations had long passed, and the Navy decided that she would be used as a training and school ship for apprentices.
  • On January 9, 1878, Oscar C. Badger takes command to prepare her for a voyage to the Paris Exposition of 1878, transporting artwork and industrial displays to France. Three railroad cars are lashed to her spar deck and all but two cannons are removed.
  • On March 4, 1878, she departs for France. While docking at Le Havre, she collides with Ville de Paris, resulting in her entering dry dock for repairs and remaining in France for the rest of 1878.
  • On January 16, 1878, she gets underway for the United States
  • On January 17, 1878, poor navigation runs her aground near Bollard Head. She is towed into the Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, Hampshire, England, where only minor damage is found and repaired.
  • On February 13, 1878, during heavy storms, her rudder is damaged, resulting in a total loss of steering control with the rudder smashing into the hull at random. To secure it, 3 crewmen go over the stern on ropes and boatswain’s chairs.
  • The morning of February 14, 1878, they rig a temporary steering system and Badger sets a course for the nearest port
  • On February 18, 1878, she arrived in Lisbon where slow dock services delay her departure.
  • On April 11, 1878, she departs Lisbon
  • On May 24, 1878, she arrives in the United State where Constitution returns to her previous duties of training apprentice boys. Over the next two years, she continues her training cruises.
  • In 1881, after it soon became apparent that her overhaul in 1876 had been of poor quality, Constitution was determined to be unfit for service and, as funds were lacking for another overhaul, she was decommissioned, ending her days as an active-duty naval ship. She is moved to the Portsmouth Navy Yard and used as a receiving ship. There, she had a housing structure built over her spar deck, and her condition continued to deteriorate, with only a minimal amount of maintenance performed to keep her afloat.
  • In 1896, aware of her condition, Massachusetts Congressman John F. Fitzgerald proposes to Congress that funds be appropriated to restore her enough to return to Boston.
  • On September 21, 1897, she arrives, under tow, at the Charlestown Navy Yard and, after her centennial celebrations in October, she lays there with an uncertain future.
  • In 1900, Congress authorizes restoration of Constitution but does not appropriate any funds for the project.
  • In 1903, the Massachusetts Historical Society‘s president Charles Francis Adams requests Congress that Constitution be rehabilitated and placed back into active service.
  • In 1905, after Secretary of the Navy Charles Joseph Bonaparte suggests that Constitution be towed out to sea and used as target practice, after which she would be allowed to sink, Moses H. Gulesian, a businessman from Worcester, Massachusetts, reads about this in a Boston newspaper and offers to purchase her for US$10,000. The State Department refuses, but Gulesian initiates a public campaign which begins from Boston and ultimately “spilled all over the country.”
  • In 1906, a storm of protest from the public prompts Congress to authorize US$100,000 for the ship’s restoration. First to be removed was the barracks structure on her spar deck, but the limited amount of funds allowed just a partial restoration.
  • By 1907, Constitution begins to serve as a museum ship, with tours offered to the public.
  • On December 1, 1917, she is renamed Old Constitution to free her name for a planned, new Lexington-class battle cruiser.
  • On July 24, 1925, Old Constitution was granted the return of her name after construction of the lead ship of the class the name Constitution was originally destined for got canceled in 1923 due to the Washington Naval Treaty and the incomplete hull was sold for scrap.
  • On February 19, 1924, inspection of her condition by the Board of Inspection and Survey, ordered by Adm. Edward Walter Eberle, Chief of Naval Operations, found her in grave condition.
  • On June 16, 1927, Constitution enters dry dock with a crowd of 10,000 observers.
  • On March 15, 1930, she emerges from dry dock with approximately 85% of the ship “renewed” (i.e. replaced) to make her seaworthy.
  • On July 1, 1931, Constitution is recommissioned under the command of Louis J. Gulliver with a crew of 60 officers and sailors, 15 Marines, and a pet monkey named Rosie that was their mascot.
  • On May 1934, after more than 4.6 million people visited her during the 3-year tour, Constitution returns to her home port of Boston, serving as a museum ship and receiving 100,000 visitors per year.
  • On September 21, 1938, during the New England Hurricane, Constitution breaks loose from her dock and is blown into Boston Harbor where she collides with the destroyer Ralph Talbot. She only suffers minor damage.
  • In 1940, at the request of Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, USS Constellation  and  Constitution  were recommissioned.
  • In early 1941, Constitution is assigned the hull classification symbol IX-21 and begins to serve as a brig for officers awaiting court-martial.
  • In 1947, The United States Postal Service issues a stamp commemorating Constitution
  • In the 1950s, reliable heating for the small maintenance crew who were berthed on the ship was upgraded to a forced-air system and a sprinkler system was added to protect her from fire.
  • In 1954, an Act of Congress makes the Secretary of the Navy responsible for her upkeep.
  • In 1960, Constitution is designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
  • On October 15, 1966, the Constitution is included in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)
  • In 1972, funds were approved for her restoration
  • In April 1973, she enters dry dock remaining until April 1974.
  • In August 1974, as preparations begin for the upcoming United States Bicentennial celebrations. Cmdr. Tyrone G. Martin, who sets the precedent that all construction work on Constitution was to be aimed towards maintaining her to the 1812 configuration for which she is most noted, becomes her captain.
  • In September 1975, her hull classification of IX-21 was officially canceled.
  • On April 8, 1976, the privately run USS Constitution Museum is opened
  • On July 10, 1976, Constitution leads the parade of tall ships up Boston Harbor for Operation Sail, firing her guns at one-minute intervals for the first time in approximately 100 years.
  • On July 11, 1976, she renders a 21-gun salute to Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia, as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrived for a state visit. The royal couple, with Cmdr. Martin and J. William Middendorf (Secretary of the Navy), were piped aboard, privately touring the ship for approximately 30 minutes. Upon their departure, the crew of Constitution rendered three cheers for the Queen.
  • In 1992, Constitution enters dry dock for an inspection and minor repair period, her most comprehensive structural restoration and repair since she was launched in 1797.
  • In 1995, after a US$12 million restoration, she emerges from dry dock.
  • On July 20, 1995, Constitutionwas towed from her usual berth in Boston to an overnight mooring in Marblehead, Massachusetts. En route, she made her first sail in 116 years at a recorded 6 knots (11 kms./hr.; 6.9 mph).
  • On July 21, 1995, she is towed 5 nautical miles (9.3 kms.; 5.8 mi) offshore, where the tow line is dropped and Cmdr. Beck orders 6 sails set (jibs, topsails, and spanker). She then sails for 40 minutes on a south-south-east course with true wind speeds of about 12 knots (22 kms./hr.; 14 mph), attaining a top recorded speed of 4 knots (7.4 kms./hrs.; 4.6 mph). While she is under sail, the guided missile destroyer Ramage and frigate Halyburton, her modern US naval combatant escorts, render passing honors to “Old Ironsides” and she is overflown by the Blue Angels, the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. Inbound to her permanent berth at Charlestown, off Fort Independence in Boston Harbor, she is rendered a 21-gun salute to the nation.
  • In November 2007, Lt.-Cmdr. John Scivier of the Royal Navy, commanding officer of HMS Victory, paid a visit to Constitution, touring the local facilities with Cmdr. William A. Bullard III. They discussed arranging an exchange program between the two ships.
  • In November 2010, Constitution emerges from a three-year repair period.
  • On August 19, 2012, the anniversary of her victory over Guerriere, the crew of Constitution, under Cmdr. Matt Bonner (Constitution’s 72nd commanding officer), sails Constitution under her own power.
  • On May 18, 2015, the ship enters Dry Dock 1 in Charlestown Navy Yard  to begin a scheduled 2-year restoration program restore the copper sheets on the ship’s hull and replace additional deck boards.  The Department of the Navy provided the US$12–15 million expected cost.
  • In August 2015, Cmdr. Robert S. Gerosa Jr. (her 74th and current commanding officer) assumes command of Constitution.
  • On July 23, 2017, after the restoration was complete, she was returned to the water.

The Captain’s Cabin

Here are the general characteristics of the Constitution:

  • Tonnage: 1,576
  • Displacement: 2,200 tons
  • Length: 93 m. (304 ft.), bowsprit to spanker; 63 m. (207 ft.), billet head to taffrail; 53 m. (175 ft.) at waterline
  • Beam: 26 m. (43 ft. 6 in.)
  • Height: 60 m. (198 ft.), foremast; 67 m. (220 ft.), mainmast; 52.6 m. (172.5 ft.), mizzenmast.
  • Draft: 6.4 m. (21 ft.), forward; 7.0 m. (23 ft.), aft
  • Depth of Hold: 4.34 m. (14 ft. 3 in.)
  • Decks: OrlopBerthGunSpar
  • Propulsion: Sail (three masts, ship rig)
  • Sail plan: 3,968 m2 (42,710 sq. ft.) on three masts
  • Speed: 24 kms./hr. (13 knots, 15 mph)
  • Boats and landing: 1 × 11 m. (36 ft.) longboat, 2 × 9.1 m. (30 ft.) cutters
  • Craft carried: 2 × 8.5 m. (28 ft.) whaleboats, 1 × 8.5 m. (28 ft.) gig, 1 × 6.7 m. (22 ft.) jolly boat, 1 × 4.3 m. (14 ft.) punt
  • Complement: 450 including 55 Marines and 30 boys (1797)
  • Armament: 30 × 24-pounder(11 kgs.) long gun, 20 × 32-pounder (15 kgs.) carronade, 2 × 24-pounder (11 kgs.) bow chasers[2]

The author emerging from the lower deck

USS Constitution: Building 5, Charlestown Navy Yard,BostonMassachusetts 02129, USA.  Tel: +1 617-799-8198. Open Wednesdays to Sundays, 10AM – 4PM. The ship is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  Admission: free. Website: Note that all guests aged 18 and older must show a state-issued photo ID (like a driver’s license or passport) at security to board the ship. Guests under age 18 do not require an ID.

How to Get There: The GPS address is 1 Constitution Road, Charlestown. You can drive and park in the Nautica Parking Garage across from the Naval Yard Visitor Center or take the Green Line (to North Station) or Orange Line (to Bunker Hill Community College). MBTA Water Shuttle Route F4 (Long Wharf, Boston to Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown)

USS Cassin Young (Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

The author in front of the USS Cassin Young

The USS Cassin Young (DD-793), a Fletcher-class destroyer of the U.S. Navy, is preserved today as a memorial ship, berthed at Boston Navy Yard in Massachusetts, across from the old warship USS Constitution. Visiting this ship seemed like an afterthought before or after seeing the USS Constitution and this ship doesn’t have the historical weight “Old Ironsides.” Still, it had a storied World War II history and it was fun to walk around the well-maintained US Navy destroyer as they have lots of rooms open on the main deck to look in or walk around in. Cassin Young served in World War II (participating in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and the Battle of Okinawa), was decommissioned, but was reactivated during the Korean War and continued in active service until 1960.

Check out “USS Constitution – Old Ironsides

Gangplank leading to the ship’s top deck

Here are some interesting trivia regarding the ship:

National Historic Landmark Plaque

Here’s the historical timeline of the ship:

  • On March 18 1943, the keel of the Cassin Young was laid down byBethlehem SteelSan Pedro, California.
  • On September 12, 1943, the Cassin Young was launched.
  • Sponsored by Mrs. Eleanor Young (widow of her namesake); she was commissioned on December 31, 1943 with Commander T. Schrieber in command.
  • On March 19, 1944, Cassin Young arrived at Pearl Harbor to complete her training before sailing on to Manus, where she joined the massive Fast Carrier Task Force (then called TF 58, at other times called TF 38, depending on whether the overall organization was called 5th Fleet or 3rd Fleet).
  • On April, 28, 1944, TF 58 sortied for air attacks on Japanese strongholds at TrukWoleaiSatawan and Ponape in the Caroline Islands, during which Cassin Young operated as a picket ship, assigned to warn her group of possible enemy counterattack. She returned to Majuro, and then Pearl Harbor for further training.
  • On June 11, 1944, Cassin Young reported to Eniwetok to join the screen of escort carriers assigned to covering duty in the invasion of Saipan four days later. In addition to radar picket and screening duty, she was also called upon for inshore fire support. As the battle for Saipan raged ashore, escort carriers of Cassin Young‘s group launched attacks on the island, as well as sorties to neutralize enemy air fields on TinianRota, and Guam. Similar operations supporting the subsequent assaults on Tinian and Guam claimed the services of Cassin Young.
  • On August, 13, 1944, she returned to Eniwetok to replenish.
  • On August 29, 1944, Cassin Young guards the carriers of Task Group 38.3, which included several aircraft carriers, as strikes were flown from their decks to hit targets on PalauMindanao, and Luzon in support of the assault on the Palaus, stepping-stone to the Philippines.
  • On October 2, 1944, she returns to Ulithi, Caroline Islands
  • On October 6, 1944, Cassin Young sails with the same force on duty in the accelerated schedule for the Philippines assault. First on the schedule were air strikes on Okinawa, Luzon, and Formosa.
  • From October 10 to 13, 1944, during the furious Formosa Air Battle, the Japanese tried to destroy the carrier strength of the imposing TF 38.
  • On October, 14, 1944, the cruiser Reno was struck by a Kamikaze, wounding five of Cassin Young‘s men with machine gun fire. During this attack, Cassin Young aided in shooting down several aircraft.
  • On October 18, 1944, TF 38 took position east of Luzon to launch strikes immobilizing enemy air fields there in preparation for the assault on Leyte two days later.
  • On October 23, 1944, after standing by to render support if called upon during the initial landings, Cassin Young‘s group began to search for the enemy forces known to be moving toward Leyte Gulf
  • On October, 24, 1944,during the most vigorous and successful air attack mounted by the Japanese during the Leyte operation, Cassin Young moved in toward San Bernardino Strait, ready to launch strikes. At 09:38, an enemy bomb struck the aircraft carrier Princeton, and Cassin Young rescued over 120 men from the carrier before that ship sank, then rejoined TG 38.3 for the dash northward to attack the Japanese Northern Force.
  • On October 25, 1944, a series of air strikes during the Battle off Cape Engaño resulted in the sinking of four Japanese carriers and a destroyer. As her carriers continued to range widely, striking at enemy bases on Okinawa, Formosa, and Luzon, Cassin Young continued operations in support of the Leyte conquest.
  • On October 31, 1944, Cmdr. John Ailes III takes over command of the Cassin Young.
  • Through January 1945, with Ulithi as her base, the destroyer screened carriers as their aircraft pounded away at Formosa, Luzon, Cam Ranh Bay (Vietnam), Hong KongCanton and the Nansei Shoto in their support for the assault on Luzon.
  • After a brief overhaul at Ulithi, Cassin Young joined operations supporting the invasion of Iwo Jima with air strikes on Honshū and Okinawa, the bombardment of Parece Vela, and screening off Iwo Jima itself in support of Marine operations during the initial assault on February 19, 1945.
  • On March 22, 1945, after another brief respite at Ulithi, she sailed for her deployment for the Okinawa operation. After screening heavy ships in the massive pre-invasion bombardment, Cassin Young helped “soften up” Okinawa for the upcoming assault on that island, and moving inshore to support the activities of underwater demolition teams preparing the beaches.
  • On April 1, 1945, the destroyer escorted assault craft to the beaches, providing shore bombardment in the assault areas, then took up radar picket duty, providing early warning of impending air attacks to the main fleet, possibly the most hazardous duty performed by any warship during World War II. In the weeks and months ahead, the ships assigned to the 15 picket stations bore the brunt of over 1,500 Kamikaze attacks which the Japanese gambled on in defeating the Okinawa operation. Radar Picket (RP) Stations 1,2 and 3 faced the worst of these attacks.
  • On April, 6, 1945, Cassin Young, on duty at RP Station 3, endured her first Kamikaze attacks as the Japanese launched the first of 10 massed attacks, sending 355 Kamikazes and 341 bombers towards Okinawa.  The ship downed three “bogeys” (enemy planes) and picked up survivors from the nearby destroyers assigned to RP Stations 1 and 2 (both were hit and sunk by Kamikazes).
  • On April, 12, 1945, a massive wave of Kamikazes came in at midday. Cassin Young was then assigned to RP Station 1. Her accurate gunfire had aided in shooting down 5 aircraft, but a sixth crashed high-up into her foremast, exploding in midair only 15 m. (50 ft.) from the ship. Surprisingly only one man was killed but 58 were wounded, many of them seriously. Cassin Young, although damaged, made Kerama Retto under her own power.
  • On May, 31, 1945, after repairs at Kerama Retto and at Ulithi, she returned to Okinawa and resumed radar picket duty.
  • As the Kamikaze attacks continued, Cassin Young had respite only during two brief convoy escort voyages to the Marianas.
  • On July, 28, 1945, her group was again a prime target for the Japanese, with one destroyer sunk and another badly damaged by Kamikazes. During the engagement, Cassin Young assisted in shooting down two enemy aircraft, then rescued 125 survivors from the sunken USS Callaghan.
  • At 3:26 AM on July 29, 1945, just 16 days before Japan surrendered, Cassin Young was struck for the second time, when a low-flying aircraft hit her starboard side of the main deck, near the forward smoke stack, striking her fire control room. A tremendous explosion amidships was followed by fire and the ship lay dead in the water. However, the crew managed contained the damage, restore power to one engine, get the flames under control, and had the ship underway for the safety of Kerama Retto within 20 minutes. Casualties were 22 men dead and 45 wounded.  For her determined service and gallantry in the Okinawa radar picket line she was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.
  • On August 8, 1945, Cassin Young cleared Okinawa  and headed home for repairs. Arriving home in San Pedro, California, she was fully repaired.
  • On August 29, 1945, Lt.-Cmdr. Carl Pfeifer takes over command of the ship.
  • On May 28, 1946, she was decommissioned and placed the reserve or “mothball” fleet in San Diego.
  • On September 8, 1951, with the outbreak of the Korean Conflict, many destroyers were recalled to service and Cassin Young was recommissioned at Long Beach Naval Shipyard.
  • On January 4, 1952, she cleared San Diego for her new home port, Newport, Rhode Island.
  • In September 1952 she entered Dry Dock #1 in the Charlestown Facility, Boston Navy Yard (beginning her association with this navy yard) for the first of four major overhauls she would undergo in this shipyard. At this time the ship was updated to its current configuration. Two Hedgehog anti-submarine warfare (ASW) launchers and two torpedo carriages for the Mark 32 torpedo were added, with one 21 inch (533 mm.) quintuple torpedo tube mount removed. Also, four 40 mm. Bofors twin mounts were replaced by two quadruple mounts. The forward pole mast was replaced by a tripod mast to accommodate improved radar and electronics systems.
  • On November 21, 1952, Cmdr. Thomas Rudden, Jr. takes over command of the Cassin Young.
  • From May 7 to June 12, 1953, local operations and refresher training in the Caribbean preceded a period of antisubmarine exercises off Florida.
  • From September 16 to November 30, 1953, she had her first tour of duty with the 6th Fleet, initially serving in Atlantic and Mediterranean waters.
  • On May 3, 1954, after another period of local operations and exercises in the Caribbean Sea early in 1954, she cleared Newport for a round-the-world cruise, which included exercises with the 7th Fleet in the western Pacific, patrols off Korea, and good-will visits to Far Eastern and Mediterranean ports.
  • On November 28, 1954, she returned to Newport.
  • On August 17, 1956, Cmdr. Clifton Cates, Jr. takes over command of the Cassin Young.
  • On September 14, 1958, Cmdr. John Hooper takes over as commanding officer of the ship.
  • In 1959, Cassin Young was awarded the Battle Efficiency “E” for overall excellent performances in all exercises that year.
  • From 1954 until 1960, her operations included training exercises in the Caribbean and off the eastern Atlantic seaboard as well as four tours of duty in the Mediterranean in 1956, winter 1956-57, and 1959, and a round of visits to ports of northern Europe in 1958. During those years, the ship returned to the Boston Naval Shipyard five more times for overhauls to keep ahead of the unavoidable problem of old age.
  • On February 6, 1960, she arrived at Norfolk Naval Shipyard to be decommissioned because, during that last overseas deployment, an issue was discovered with her rudder that put her into dry dock in France. At that point the repair costs outweighed retaining the aging ship.
  • On April 29, 1960, Cassin Young was put into long-term storage at the PhiladelphiaNaval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility.
  • On December 1, 1974, she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register. The US Navy has permanently loaned Cassin Young to the National Park Service, to be preserved as a floating memorial ship berthed at the Boston Navy Yard, part of the Boston National Historical Park (BNHP) in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • On June 15, 1978, Cassin Young arrived at Boston Navy Yard
  • In 1981, Cassin Young was opened to the public.
  • In 1986, she was designated as a National Historic Landmark
  • In late July 2010, Cassin Young closed to the public in preparation for dry-docking.
  • On August 9, 2010, she was moved into Historic Dry Dock #1 in BNHP for the first time in 30 years for some much needed repairs to her hull.
  • On September 4, 2012, the ship was closed to the public to allow contractors to make final repairs to the hull.
  • On May 14, 2013, she returned to her position at Pier 1.
  • On June 4, 2013, she was moved to the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina in East Boston while repairs were made to her berth in Charlestown.
  • By September 2013, she had returned to her museum berth.

Jandy in front of a Mark 12 5-inch, 38 caliber gun

Quad-mount 40-mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns

Twin-mount 40-mm. Bofors anti-aircraft guns

Depth charge track

Hedgehog ASW Mortar

Mark 32 torpedo

Here are some specifications of this ship:

  • Displacement :2,050 tons (2,924 full)
  • Length: 114.7 m. (376.4 ft.)
  • Beam: 12.1 m. (39.6 ft.)
  • Draft: 4.2 m. (13.8 ft.)
  • Propulsion: 4 oil-fired boilers, 2 General Electric gearedsteam turbines, 2 shafts, 45,000 kW (60,000 shp)
  • Speed: 67.6 kms./hr. (36.5 knots, 42.0 mph)
  • Range: 12,000 kms. (6,500 nautical miles); 7,500 mile at 15 knots (28 kms/hr.; 17 mph)
  • Complement: 325
  • Armament (as built): 5 x 5 in (127 mm)/38 caliber guns, 5 x twin 40 mm AA guns, 7 x 20 mm AA guns, 2 x quintuple 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes, 6 x K-gun depth charge throwers, 2 x depth charge tracks
  • Armanent (as preserved): 5 x 5 in (127 mm)/38 caliber guns, 2 x quad 40 mm AA guns, 1 x twin 40 mm AA guns, 1 x quintuple 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes, 2 x torpedo carriages for the Mark 32 torpedo, 2 x Hedgehog ASW mortar, 1 x depth charge track

Captain’s In Port Cabin

Combat Information Center (CIC)

Officers Wardroom

Radio Room

Sick Bay

USS Cassin Young: 198 3rd St., Pier 1, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts 02129.  Tel: (617) 242-5601.  Admission is free. Free 45-min. guided tours, by a Park Ranger, takes you to the galleys, mess, officers’ quarters, engine room, gun/battery, captain’s cabin, the bridge and the crew quarters, all parts of the ship not accessible without a guide.

USS Constitution Museum (Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

USS Constitution Museum

The USS Constitution Museum serves as the memory and educational voice of the still floating and docked frigate USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) and provides engaging and hands-on experiences for all visitors. An interpretive complement to this still active duty naval vessel (first launched in 1797) but managed separately, it tells the story of the ship and the people who designed, built and sailed her through its collection of artifacts related to the ship’s history and interactive exhibits.

Check out “USS Constitution – Old Ironsides

Fully rigged model of USS Constitution

Part of the Boston National Historical Park, it is housed in a restored shipyard building at the foot of Pier 2, just across the pier from the Constitution, at the end of Boston’s Freedom Trail. Highly recommended for naval history fans, both ship and museum are a “must see” for anyone visiting Boston.

Check out “Freedom Trail”

Painting of the launching of the USS Constitution

The museum, a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate, was honored to be rated a prestigious 4 stars on Charity Navigator.  It has won many awards including the 2003 National Award for Museum and Library Service, the 2010 Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing Award, the 2011 Leadership in History Award of Merit, the 2011 Muse Award for Online Presence and the Parent’s Choice Award.

A Hero’s Welcome

A private, award-winning non-profit organization incorporated in 1972, the museum opened its doors at its present facility in 1976. Its founding enabled the Constitution to clear its decks of display cases so that visitors who tour aboard would see a frigate ready to sail, rather than a floating museum. It is also home to the Samuel Eliot Morison Memorial Library and includes a comprehensive archival repository of records related to the ship’s history.

All Hands on Deck – A Sailor’s Life in 1812

The fantastic All Hands on Deck: A Sailor’s Life in 1812, a permanent all-ages interactive  exhibit (combined with images, sound, theater, artifacts and physical and mental tests) located at the second floor geared specifically toward children, was opened on n July 3, 2009. 

A scaled model of a yard and work ropes

Based on the museum’s ongoing historical research into lives of 1243 sailors’ and officers’ that served aboard the USS Constitution during the War of 1812, it explores the harsh realities of life at sea, through a combination of authentic storytelling and hands-on activities, just as the War of 1812 is declared.

The author tries out a hammock

Here, you can discover the unique world afloat as you swing in a authentic canvas hammock that sailors used to bed down, climb onto a scaled model of a yard and work ropes to try to shorten and furl a sail; get on your hands and knees and grab a holy stone to scrub a deck; experience battle and learn how they survived for months, sometimes years at sea.

Ship’s Store

Along the walls are life-sized cutouts of notable crew members, each with a plaque telling their own unique story aboard the ship.  You can also find out the dramatic twists in the life story of 8 year old David Debias, an African-American boy that joined Constitution’s crew in 1812. There are also actual artifacts from the ship including an actual biscuit that a sailor saved as a souvenir.

There’s also a station where you can test your knot-tying abilities and, at the end of the exhibition, spin a wheel to determine your ultimate fate at sea.

Forest to Frigate – a cross section of the Constitution

Forest to Frigate, the museum’s newest hands-on exhibit, chronicles the ship’s first 200 years, how and why she was built, how she earned her fame in the War of 1812, and why the US Navy still preserves the the over two century old wooden frigate as a commissioned warship. 

Enter the 1790’s to follow the story from the forest in which “Old Ironsides’” timbers grew to her launch as a fully formed frigate.  Decide for yourself what kind of ship to build, meet men like Paul Revere who labored to bring her to life, and test your shipyard skills.

Old Ironsides in War and Peace

Old Ironsides in War and Peace” provides an in-depth look at the ship’s storied history, including how and why she was built, how she earned her fame during the War of 1812, and why she is preserved at the United States Navy‘s oldest commissioned warship. The exhibits on the War of 1812 and the Barbary War are especially interesting. Here you can trace the birth of the US Navy during these relatively unknown conflicts.

Weapons Chest with a musket, rifle, 2 pistols and 2 cutlasses

On display are  scores of artifacts, documents, and photographs illustrating Constitution‘s decisive and symbolic role in US history.  They include a spike made by Paul Revere’s shop and phenomenal period paintings of USS Constitution and her captains

Old Ironsides – War of 1812 Discovery Center

“Old Ironsides” War of 1812 Discovery Center, an interactive exhibit designed for families in mind, explains the causes and consequences of the War of 1812 through games, multi-media, books, and other hands-on activities.

Old Ironsides – War of 1812 Discovery Center

Constitution vs HMS Java” tells the story of the battle between Constitution and HMS Java, through artwork, archival records, and artifacts associated with the battle.

Model Shipwright Guild

The Model Shipwright Guild, at the ground floor of the museum, operates a workshop, where visitors can see volunteer modelers working on fantastically detailed miniatures of the USS Constitution and other ships.

Museum Store

USS Constitution Museum : Building 22, Charlestown Navy Yard88 Constitution Rd., 
BostonMassachusetts 02129, USA.  Tel: +1 617-996-1954 and +1 617-426-1812.Open daily, 10AM – 5PM. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. ​ Admission: free (a suggested donation of US$5 for adults and US $3 for children is welcome). Website:

How to Get There: The GPS address is 1 Constitution Road, Charlestown. For thos with cars, you can park in the Nautica Parking Garage across from the Naval Yard Visitor Center.  For those taking public transporation, take the MBTA Green Line (to North Station) or Orange Line (to Bunker Hill Community College). Walk east on Causeway Street towards the Zakim Bridge/North End. At the first light (North Washington Street), turn left and cross the Charlestown Bridge. Follow the Freedom Trail red line to the Charlestown Navy Yard and enter through Gate 1.

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground (Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.)

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground

The historic, 12,000 sq. m. (3 acre) Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, the second (and largest) cemetery in Boston (second only to the King’s Chapel Burying Ground founded in 1630), was founded on February 20, 1659. Originally named “North Burying Ground,” it is situated on land (where a wind-powered grinding mill once stood) on Copp’s Hill (named after early settler and local cobbler William Copp whose children were buried here in the 1660s) bought by the town from John Baker and Daniel Turell.

Now named “Copp’s Hill Burying Ground” (although often referred to as “Copp’s Hill Burial Ground”), it is the final resting place of over 10,000 people (buried between 1660 and 1968) and contains more than 2,200 marked graves (60% of which date to before the American Revolution), including the remains of various notable Bostonians (29 Boston Tea Party participants and 43 Revolutionary War veterans) from the Colonial Era into the 1850s.

On January 7, 1708, the cemetery was extended when the town bought additional land from Judge Samuel Sewall and his wife Hannah (part of a  pasture which she inherited from her father, John Hull, master of the mint).  On June 17, 1775, because of its height and panoramic vista, the British used this vantage point on the southwest side to establish earthworks and train their North Battery cannons on Charlestown during the Battle of Bunker Hill. Legend has it that British troops used gravestones for target practice (many have interpreted the round scars of the Capt. Daniel Malcolm grave marker to be the result of musket balls being shot at close range).

On December 18, 1809, it was further extended when the town bought, for US$10,000, additional land from Benjamin Weld and his wife Nabby after they had bought it from Jonathan Merry, who had used it as pasture.  Ten years later, Charles Wells (later mayor of Boston) bought a small parcel of land from John Bishop of Medford which he used as a cemetery. Later, this was merged with the adjacent North Burying Ground. It is no longer possible to discern the original boundaries of the cemetery because of this complicated history.

Along the Snow Hill Street side, in a potter’s field, are many unmarked graves of more than 1,000 free  African Americans who lived in the questionably named “New Guinea” community at the foot of the hill. In addition, there are 227 tombs, most of which bear inscriptions that are still legible. In addition, the grave markers and their epitaphs of thousands of artisans and tradesmen buried here reflect the nature of the 17th and 18th century economy of the North End.

Prince Hall Memorial

Reputedly, the oldest grave stone is that of Grace Berry, wife of Thomas Berry, who according to the inscription, died May 17, 1625 (5 years before Boston was settled). The well preserved stone is of old Welsh slate with quite distinct carving; the edges are ornamented with curves and at the top are carved two cherubs and the angel of death.

Grace Berry Tomb

The tomb erected by Isaac Dupee, perhaps the most ornate monument in the ground, bears a beautifully carved coat-of-arms, together with a tribute in verse.

Isaac Dupee Tomb

The town continued to maintain the site intermittently but, by 1840, the cemetery had fallen into near disuse and, by 1878, it was badly neglected. When the Freedom Trail  created in 1951, the cemetery was not an official stop but it has since been added and is now much-frequented by tourists and photographers. In 1974, the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Now owned by the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department, it is part of the Historic Burying Grounds Initiative.

Michael Malcom Grave stone

Notable persons buried here include:

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground: 21 Hull St. cor. Snowhill St., Boston, 02113 Massachusetts, U.S.A. Tel: 617-635-4505.  Open daily. 10 AM  – 5 PM.

King’s Chapel (Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.)

King’s Chapel

The King’s Chapel, proudly one of the 16 historic sites (the fifth stop) on Boston’s Freedom Trail, is housed in what was formerly called the “Stone Chapel,” an 18th-century structure. The chapel, an independent Christian unitarian congregation affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the first Anglican church in colonial New England and overwhelmingly Puritan Boston, was founded on June 15, 1686 by Royal Governor Sir Edmund Andros  during the reign of King James II. Notable members and attendees included George Washington, Paul Revere, Thomas Hutchinson, Charles Sumner, Charles Bulfinch, Oliver Wendell Holmes  and many more

The exterior columns of chapel colonnade

The chapel was originally a wooden church built in 1688. The present larger stone (made with Quincy granite) chapel building, started in 1749 (its cornerstone was laid on August 11) and completed in 1754, was built around the wooden church.

One of the finest designs of the noted colonial architect Peter Harrison (dubbed as “America’s first architect”) of Newport, when the stone church was completed, the wooden church was disassembled, removed through the windows of the new church and the  wood shipped to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia where it was used to construct St. John’s Anglican Church.

National Historic Landmark Plaque

During the American Revolution, the chapel sat vacant or a few short months as Loyalist families left for Nova Scotia and England, but reopened, following the loss of its minister (the Rev. Henry Caner), for the funeral of Gen. Joseph Warren who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill (June 17, 1775). In 1782, those who remained reopened the church. In 1960, the chapel was designated a National Historic Landmark  for its architectural significance. On Halloween night of 2001, the church was destroyed by fire but has since been rebuilt.

The chapel’s magnificent interior

The chapel bell, cast in England and hung in 1772, cracked in 1814 and was recast by Paul Revere (the largest bell cast by the Revere foundry and the last one cast by Paul Revere himself) and rehung. Ever since, it has been rung during Sunday morning services.

Plaque commemorating congregation members who died during the American Civil War

The exterior columns of the colonnade (completed after the American Revolution), which appear to be stone, are, in fact, wood painted in a cost-saving trompe-l’oeil.

Plaque commemorating congregation members who died during World War I and World War II

The magnificent interior, considered the finest example of Georgian church architecture in North America, features wooden columns which have Corinthian capitals hand-carved, in 1758, by William Burbeck and his apprentices.

The wooden columns with hand-carved Corinthian capitals

The current uniform appearance of the seating, in box pews, dates from the 1920s. The pews were mostly originally owned by the member families who paid pew rent and decorated the pews according to their personal tastes.

The box pews

The chapel first organ was acquired in 1723. The present organ, the chapel’s sixth, was built by C.B. Fisk in in 1964. Decorated with miters and carvings from the Bridge organ of 1756, it is slightly below average in size compared with most mid-1900s European chapel organs.

Within the King’s Chapel is a monument to London merchant Samuel Vassall, brother of the colonist William Vassall (who frequently clashed with John Winthrop, and eventually removed himself to Scituate, Massachusetts), a patentee of the Massachusetts Bay Company (also named a member of the company in its 1629 Royal Charter), an early deputy of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and a Member of Parliament (1640–1641) representing London.

Monument to London merchant Samuel Vassall

Kings Chapel: 58 Tremont Street cor. School Street, Boston, Massachusetts, MA 02108,  U.S.A. Open daily, 10 AM – 4:30 PM.  Tours: 10 AM to 5 PM, Mondays through Saturdays; and 1:30 PM to 5 PM on Sundays. Tel:+1 617-523-1749. Website:

Granary Burying Ground (Boston, Massachussetts, U.S.A.)

Granary Burying Ground

The Granary Burying Ground, the city’s third-oldest cemetery, dates to 1660. A major stop in our Freedom Trail Tour, it is steps away from Boston Common and is shadowed by the towering skyscrapers of the city’s Financial District (however, just a few moments here made me forget that I was in the center of a large city). It was Independence Day when Jandy and I visited and the graves of famous personalities buried there where marked with US flags and floral wreaths. Guides, in American Colonial attire, were busy touring visitors around the cemetery.

The Egyptian Revival-style gate

This cemetery is the final resting place of many notable Revolutionary War-era patriots such as Paul Revere (pedestal-shaped gravestone behind the Franklin Memorial) , the five victims (including African-American Crispus Attucks) of the March 5, 1770 Boston Massacre (in a common grave near the Tremont Street entrance) and three signers of the Declaration of Independence – Samuel AdamsJohn Hancock and Robert Treat Paine (at the side of a brick wall).

Lady guide, in American Colonial attire, touring visitors around the cemetery

As such, because of its historical connections, this quiet but fascinating, tree-filled, shade-dappled ground has been sometimes called the “Westminster Abbey” of Boston. After 1856, most burials were prohibited here.

Tomb of John Hancock

The cemetery, adjacent to Park Street Church and immediately across from Suffolk University Law School, has 2,345 grave-markers and 204 tombs but historians estimate that as many as 5,000 people are buried in it.  The reason for this is that, to save money and space, many of the graves have multiple bodies buried, four deep, under one headstone, something that was common in most old burial grounds.

The pedestal-shaped tomb of Paul Revere

Formerly known as the New Burying Ground and South Burying Ground, in 1737 it took on the name of the Old Town Granary, the granary building which stood on the site of the present-day Park Street Church. An attempt was also made to change the name to “Franklin Cemetery,” to honor the family of Benjamin Franklin, but the effort failed.

The Franklin Memorial

The cemetery’s striking and imposing but decidedly uncolonial Egyptian Revival iron gate and fence along Tremont Street, designed in 1840 by Boston sculptor and architect Isaiah Rogers (the supervising architect of the Ohio State House, he also designed an identical gate for Newport’s Touro Cemetery and the Bunker Hill Monument), was built at a cost of US$5,000 (half paid by the city and half by public subscription).

Samuel Adams Tomb

A 21-ft. high obelisk, constructed with granite from the Bunker Hill Monument quarry and dedicated on June 15, 1827, was erected to replace the original gravestones (which had been in poor condition) of the parents and relatives of Benjamin Franklin (he was born in Boston but is buried in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania). Josiah Franklin, Franklin’s father, was originally from Ecton, Northamptonshire, England while his mother, Abiah (Josiah’s second wife), was born in Nantucket.

Robert Treat Paine Tomb

The second oldest memorial, for John Wakefield (who died on June 18, 1667, aged 52), lies near the Franklin monument. Many of the 17th century grave stones are carved with elaborate letters, death’s heads, and fruits of paradise.  The oldest grave stone, that of the children of Andrew Neal, was carved by the ‘Charlestown Carver’ and dates to 1666.

Children of Andrew Neal Tomb

Other prominent people buried here include:

Common grave of the 5 victims of the Boston Massacre

Granary Burying Ground: Tremont Street an Bloomfield Street, Boston MA 02108, Massachusetts. Open daily, 9 AM – 5PM. Tel: 617-635-4505.  Admission is free. To keep the burial ground protected, please make sure you stay on the designated paths.

How to Get There: If you are arriving by public transportation, take the Red and Green Lines/Park Street, the closest T station, to Boston Common and walk northeast on Tremont Street towards the Park St Church. Past the church you’ll find the Granary Burial Ground.

Park Street Church (Boston, Massachusetts)

Park Street Church

The Park Street Church, an active, thriving missionary-centered Conservative Congregational church with 2,000 in Sunday attendance and around 1,000 members, is a historical stop on the Freedom Trail located next to the historic Granary Burying Ground.

Its cornerstone was laid on May 1, 1809 and its construction, under the guidance of architect Peter Banner (his design is reminiscent of St. Bride’s Church in London by famous British architect Christopher Wren), chief mason Benajah Young  and woodcarver Solomon Willard, was completed by the end of the year. On January 10, 1810, it had its first worship service.

The church became known as “Brimstone Corner,” in part because of the fervent missionary character of its preaching and, in part, because of the gunpowder stored in its crypt (which gave off a ferocious smell of sulfur) during the War of 1812.

The church’s beautiful white steeple, a landmark visible from several Boston neighborhoods, rises to 66 m. (217 ft.), making the church the tallest building in the United States from 1810 to 1828. The red brick façade has white accents.  There is a little museum on the first floor.

The church is the site of a number of historical events:

Park Street Church: 1 Park St. cor. Tremont St.Boston, Massachusetts 02108. Tel: (617) 523-3383.  Website: Open Wednesdays – Fridays, 9:30 AM -3 PM. Worship services: Sundays 8:30 AM, 11 AM and 4 PM. Admission is free.

How to Get There: The church located right across from the Park Street subway stop (Red Line) at the edge of Boston Common.

Gallery at the Historical Museum of Natural History (Boston, Massachusetts)

RH Boston – The Gallery at the Historical Museum of Natural History

This stately Neo-Classical, red brick and-brownstone building, commanding a park-like block of Berkeley St., between Newbury and Boylston in Boston’s Back Bay, was designed by architect William Gibbons Preston in 1863.  Originally the Museum of Natural History, it was known, over the years to Bostonians, as the Bonwit Teller building and later the  home to the clothier Louis Boston.

The Neo-Classical, red brick and brownstone facade

Now Restoration Hardware’s (a California-based home-furnishings company) Boston flagship store, it was redesigned by AD 100 firm Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects, the designers of numerous other RH stores. To approximate the original interior, the designers consulted old photographs and architectural drawings.

In a renovation work that was, more or less, a complete gut requiring 15 months, they took out mezzanines inserted by previous tenants, removed an elevator bank that blocked the central axis through the building and painstakingly restored and recreated original millwork, plaster and steel details.

The Central Atrium

Wall, ceiling and decorative surfaces were coated in neutral gray. Most significant, to recapture views from the ground floor all the way to the gilded, coffered ceiling, they opened up the 70 ft. high, 3-storey central atrium.

The glass and steel traction elevator

Unveiled spring of 2103, the 40,000 sq. ft. RH Design Gallery is the largest outpost for this expanding retailer whose product categories includes tabletop goods (Chinese porcelain dinnerware, Belgian linens, etc.) and “objects of curiosity” (architectural fragments, faux antlers, iPod-compatible reproduction Victrolas, etc.).

When I entered glass and steel entry pavilion of this Civil War–era structure, I was enthralled by its graceful Corinthian pilasters, Romanesque arches, and monumental interior atrium. Gliding up and down the atrium is the store’s pièce de résistance – a new, custom glass and steel traction elevator modeled after the one in Los Angeles’s 1893 Bradbury Building.

The store’s four floors (including a basement level) offer a florist and a dedicated area for RH’s Baby & Child collections (featuring pint-size leather chesterfields and armchairs). In addition, there’s masculine spaces such as wine bar run by Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley (of Yountville, California).

There’s also a quartet of club rooms – a billiard lounge with a rehabbed Brunswick pool table, a cinema room where TVs play classic movies, an inviting library packed with vintage novels and design books, and a pub serving craft beers at a century-old bar surrounded by Motown and rock-and-roll memorabilia.

Sharing the floor with the club rooms is a Paris-themed “conservatory and park.” Here, outdoor furniture is displayed among artificial olive trees and a 24 ft. tall steel replica of the Eiffel Tower (a flea-market find and a fitting totem of RH’s Francophile design impulses).

Gallery at the Historical Museum of Natural History: 34 Berkeley St., Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Website: