The 238th Flag Raising at Prospect Hill, New Years Day 2014

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By William Tauro

Hundreds of Somerville residents showed up on Wednesday, New Years Day, braving the frigid January 1st temperatures to be part of the 238 Annual Somerville flag raising at Prospect hill.


Young, older from the city or just visiting, Somerville’s Prospect Hill Tower was the place to be.

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Historic Prospect Hill’s castle and park overlook Union Square and points south and west and provide outstanding panoramic views. Because of its location and height, Prospect Hill, dominating the road from Charlestown, had great strategic importance in the Revolutionary War and became known as the “Citadel”. The castle, dating back to 1902, is a monument commemorating the fortifications atop the hill during that war. A tablet inside reads: “This tablet is erected in memory of the soldiers of the Revolution and of the Civil War who encamped on Prospect Hill and of the banners under which they valiantly fought.” It is said by some that George Washington first raised an early version of the U.S. Flag, called the Grand Union Flag, on Prospect Hill, on January 1, 1776. Others, however, claim evidence the flag was flown earlier. Somerville is one of several locales claiming to have hosted the flag’s first raising.

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