Magnificent townhouse in prime Charlestown location
Unit 1 at 15 Monument Sq. is more than a corner condo close to the choicest of Charlestown –
it’s also a storehouse of history. You’ll be living in the shadow of the Bunker Hill Monument in the historic home of Joseph Warren’s grandson. It is the recent residence of relatives of Sen. Ed Markey and in a location of Ben Affleck’s 2010 movie “The Town.”
Add historical details, historically compatible updates and a frequent stop on the neighborhood’s garden tour and this 1,750-square-foot, two-bedroom duplex will show you how livable a landmark can be.
Livability and history are readily apparent on its Italianate/French Second Empire brick façade. It capitalizes on its sunny hillside corner location to sport quoins for class, a side oriel window for dining-room light and space, a high granite foundation for a bedroom/garden level, a Parisian mansard roof for the condominium’s third unit, oversized windows for sun and projecting brownstone lintels for shade.
The front garden’s rosebush, hedge and ornamental trees and the brownstone entrance hood’s lavish, leafy carvings preview the house-and-garden grace to come.
It begins in the shared lobby where colorfully floral wallpaper complements the original paneled wainscoting, face-nailed pine flooring, a turned-baluster stairway and octagonal newel post. The post’s floral medallions recur as a motif in the unit.
A double door introduces the dining room, centrally located between the kitchen and living room for coming home to dinner, food service convenience and transition from cocktails to comestibles for dinner-party guests. The oriel provides a bright sitting area.
Like the other common spaces, the dining room has a high ceiling with a deep crown molding and one of many newer ornate ceiling medallions dangling Victorian-style lights throughout the unit.
The living room retains its arched marble mantel with floral medallions and scrolled scallop keystone, retrofit with a compatible gas fireplace. Three plantation-shuttered windows take full advantage of the corner location for radiant southeastern exposure and a breathtaking view of the Bunker Hill Monument – which Sampson Warren presumably had in mind when he purchased the parcel four years before building the house in 1869, determined to get the best view in remembrance of Grandpa Joseph’s death at the hands of British troops on that hill (actually Breed’s Hill) during the Battle of Bunker Hill of June 17, 1775.
“When we see its reenactment and the monument together, it’s a beautiful view,” said current co-owner Cynthia Markey, wife of Ed Markey’s brother Richard. “When it’s lit up at night, it’s beautiful… It’s fun to see kids sled down the hill in winter. We’re always in the shadow of the monument and what it represents.”
The freedom it symbolizes is well represented in the kitchen, arranged for the cuisine of your choice with a black granite island counter with a four-burner gas cooktop, matching wall counters, an angled corner sink and paneled cherry cabinetry extending over the refrigerator. There’s also a double wall oven and a sunny breakfast area with garden corner exposure. A door with etched-glass panels introduces a pantry with floor-to-ceiling china cabinetry.
The powder room has a classic pedestal sink and a plantation-shuttered window such as those in the kitchen.
A stairway descends from the dining room to the bedroom level’s laundry closet for table linen laundering convenience.
The second bedroom with an en suite shower bath boasts two double-door closets, a beadboard-backed built-in bookcase with a carved flower panel and a generous bed area below the windows, which frame the monument.
The high foundation and Lexington Street’s downslope allow the primary bedroom good ceiling height, a built-in bookcase with a carved flower panel, twin double-door closets, abundant sleeping and sitting space, and full-size windows with quiet garden views. The en suite bath has a glass corner shower and a soaking tub.
A French door connects the primary bedroom to the garden. Noted for being “inspired by an English tea garden” on Gardens of Charlestown tours, this bluestone-paved oasis begins as a terrace with a rare Eastern American Redbud tree and egress to Lexington Street.
Below is a granite-bordered sunken patio surrounded by diverse seasonal plantings, including autumn joy sedum, winter holly, spring tulips and azaleas, and summer black-eyed Susans, honeysuckle, hydrangea, impatiens, lavender, roses, Shasta daisies and Rose of Sharon, complemented by beech grass, blue spruces, boxwood topiaries, herbs, hostas and ivy.
“It’s so private and peaceful,” said Markey. “We do a lot of al fresco dining here from the cool nights in April right through October… It’s a great place for stargazing as well.”
Markey noted that Ben Affleck considered the garden for the spot where his bank robber character Doug MacRay’s girlfriend Claire Keesey (played by Rebecca Hall) digs up the stolen money in “The Town.” The unit was still used as Keesey’s apartment in the film.
“They wanted an authentic home on the square with cascading window boxes and recycling bins out front,” said Markey. “They paid us for private use of the home and put us up at the Ritz-Carlton.”
The unit is across the street from the entrance to the Bunker Hill Monument. Designed by Solomon Willard and built 1825-1843, the Quincy granite obelisk is 294 steps up to a stunning Boston vista. The adjacent stone lodge exhibits a statue of Joseph Warren and a Revolutionary War cannon.
The Bunker Hill Museum displays a scale model of the battle, cannonballs and weapons from it, and other Charlestown history memorabilia. Also nearby are schools and parks, the Charlestown Navy Yard and a shopping center with a post office at Thompson Square.
Offered at $1,389,000, Unit 1 at 15 Monument Sq. is historic enough to have many stories to tell, yet practical enough to house the next generation conveniently.
For more information, contact Frank Celeste of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty at 617-872-3227 (cell), 617-242-4222 (office), or email@example.com.
There will be an open house from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13.
- “Boston National Historical Park: Bunker Hill Museum,” National Park Planner, 2019, https://npplan.com/parks-by-state/massachusetts-national-parks/boston-national-historical-park-park-at-a-glance/boston-national-historical-park-freedom-trail/boston-national-historical-park-historic-sites/boston-national-historical-park-bunker-hill/bosto
- “Bunker Hill Monument,” Wikipedia, last edited July 9, 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunker_Hill_Monument
- Cynthia Markey, co-owner, 781-929-3510, firstname.lastname@example.org
- “15 Monument Square,” Garden Tour of Historic Charlestown: A Self-Guided Walking Tour (Charlestown, Mass.: Gardens for Charlestown, Inc., June 13, 2015), p. 27.
- “15 Monument Square,” Historic House Tour 2012 (Charlestown, Mass.: Charlestown Preservation Society, September 22, 2012), p. 21.
- “15 Monument Sq.,” Massachusetts Culture Resource Information System (MACRIS), Inventory No. BOS.5050, http://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=BOS.5050
- “15 Monument Square,” Pocket Gardens of Historic Charlestown: A Self-Guided Walking Tour, Charlestown, Mass.: Gardens for Charlestown, Inc., June 18, 2011.
- “Monument Square Historic District,” National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form, entered June 2, 1987, p. 6.
- “The Town,” Then & Now Movie Locations, June 2017, www.thennowmovielocations.com/2017/06/the-town.html
- “The Town | 2010,” Movie-Locations.com, last updated Aug. 27, 2020, www.movie-locations.com/movies/t/Town-2010.php
- “The Town (2010 film),” Wikipedia, last edited Aug. 25, 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Town_(2010_film)
- “Visiting Bunker Hill: Monument and Memory,” National Park Service, last update Oct. 31, 2019, www.nps.gov/bost/planyourvisit/bhm.htm - monument
- “William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe,” Wikipedia, last edited July 2, 2020
Address: 15 Monument Sq., Unit 1, Charlestown
BR/BA: Two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, one half bath
Configuration: Duplex condominium
Number of units: Three
Size: 1,750 square feet
Condo fee: $250/month, including water, sewer and master insurance
Year built: 1869
Features: High ceilings, hardwood floors, southern exposure, forced air heating, central air conditioning, gas fireplace in original marble mantel, granite eat-in kitchen with gas cooking and cherry cabinetry, large pantry storage, garden level with two bedrooms with en suite baths, spacious patio and tiered garden with side-street egress, in-unit laundry, built-in Bose speakers in most rooms, on-street permit parking.
Close by: Shopping and dining, fitness centers, houses of worship, post office, schools, banks, medical center, public library, public parks including City Square Park, the Bunker Hill Monument along the Freedom Trail, public transit, major highway access, TD Garden and North Station
Contact: Frank Celeste of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty
Phone: 617-872-3227 (cell) or 617-242-4222 (office)
Open house: 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13