Campbell Discusses Local Revolutionary War Monument

Victor Campbell was the guest lecturer at the monthly meeting of The Massachusetts Archaeological Society Northeast Chapter, which was held at the Peabody Museum of archaeology this past Tuesday night. Prior to Mr. Campbell’s talk, Joules Grouton, the chair of the committee, opened the meeting with a brief discussion on the life of Black Lucy, one of the first Black-American members of the Andover community. After the short essay, Mr. Grouton introduced Mr. Campbell. Vic Campbell is a respected citizen of Dorchester, Massachusetts. For much of his life, Mr. Campbell has been an active archaeologist. His specific archeological interests, better described as his passions, are the Granite Railways and the Quincy Quarries in Massachusetts. Mr. Campbell’s interests reside in a field known as industrial archaeology decades ago. Industrial archaeology is defined as the study of former industrial buildings and equipment, and can also include the study of the period and the work sites of the Industrial Revolution and thereafter. The lecture he gave at the meeting was merely one in a series of lectures that he has been giving at the meetings over the past few months. He works during the spring and summer months, giving weekly tours of the areas surrounding the site of one of the first granite railways made in the United States. In his lecture, Mr. Campbell spoke of the Bunker Hill Monument Association and their involvement in the process. In 1823, a group of prominent men living in Bunker Hill, Massachusetts formed the Association. Their goal was to demand the building of a monument dedicated to the men who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775. The battle was one of the first major battles of the war, as British troops moved to drive American militia from fortifications made right outside the city of Boston. The Association made an open all to the public for anyone who could produce a design for the monument, and a sum of one hundred dollars was to be awarded to the winner. Solomon Willard, an American architect and sculptor, proposed a very simple yet ingenious design. His blueprint was selected and he was appointed supervisor of the project. The monument was finally finished, and was dedicated on June 17, 1843. The monument was built completely of granite, and stood 221 feet high with 294 steps leading up a tower-shaped structure. The four-acre parcel of granite in Quincy, originally owned by a Mr. Hardwick, was sold to the Association to facilitate the building of the monument. In order to transport the granite from the quarries to the site of the monument, which was a few miles away, the Association had to oversee the construction of granite railways, which began in 1826. 150 men, mostly of British descent, worked non-stop on the construction of the railroad. They finished the job within five months, a breathtaking speed for that period. At the end of teh lecture, and numerous times throughout, Mr. Campbell held short question and answer segments to answer the audience’s questions while interacting with them on a more personal level. His use of PowerPoint slideshows, as well as his hands-on interaction with samples of the granite, created an inviting, yet educational atmosphere for learning the rich history of the creation of the Bunker Hill Monument and the Quincy Granites so close to home at Andover.