About the Garden
A Brief History
In 1976, the property at Main and Bunker Hill Streets was a rubble-strewn lot owned by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA). The site had been cleared as part of Boston's 1960–70s Urban Renewal. The City's plan to construct a school on the site did not go forward, and the property began to attract unsavory uses. A handful of residents cleared enough land for a few vegetable plots, and the Garden was born.
Carrying water from the Fire Station across the street, these hardy urban gardeners tended their plots and planted the lovely borders. In 1981, a Model Gardens Grant from the City funded an irrigation system. Over the next few years, the gardeners built a tool shed and plastic greenhouse.
During this period, the organization attained 501(c)(3) non-profit status as Gardens for Charlestown (GfC). Funds were raised through plant sales, contributions, events, development mitigation funds and grants. The brick patio was built and is now used for programs, events and cookouts during the season. In 1993, the Garden became the first wheelchair accessible garden in Massachusetts.
In 1995, Mayor Thomas Menino and the BRA deeded the property to Gardens for Charlestown with the proviso it remain open space or revert back to the City of Boston. This made it easier for the fledgling non-profit to apply for grants.
Gardens for Charlestown circa 1978
Established in 1978 to provide a place to garden for residents of Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood, Gardens for Charlestown is a 501(c)(3) organization maintained through the volunteer efforts and financial support of its members and the community at-large. Its three-fold mission is
to support the quality of life in our neighborhood by protecting and cultivating the parcel of urban green space entrusted to it,
to engage members of the community in activities that are uplifting and enjoyable in a beautiful and welcoming environment, and
to educate children and adults alike on the wonders of nature and the importance of environmental sustainability.
adopted by the Board of Directors, February 2, 2023
2023 Board Members
Melanie Cevetello, President
Heather Repicky, Vice President
Rich Shea, Treasurer
Cara Bradley, Clerk
Amy Kennedy Slesar
Gardens for Charlestown. Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) organization
P.O. Box 290044, Charlestown, MA 02129
Accolades and Grants
In 2014, Gardens for Charlestown was featured on the 35th season of This Old House during their renovation of a home in Charlestown. The first 3 minutes of Episode 5 called "Gardens and Greek Revival," showcases the Garden in full bloom.
The City of Boston Parks & Rec. Dept. awarded GfC a grant in 2008 for a new tool shed and greenhouse. Students from the Boston Architectural College designed and built the tool shed during the 2013-2014 school year.
The Boston Mayor’s Garden Contest awarded GfC First Place in 2008 and 2011.
Boston Natural Areas Network, a group dedicated to community gardens throughout Boston, bestowed GfC with the “Garden Hall of Fame” award in 2011.
GfC received a grant from the Edward Ingersol Browne Fund in 2001 to install the wrought iron fencing.
The Massachusetts Horticultural Society FlowerShow awarded ribbons to GfC for its creative exhibits in 1980 and 1988.
GfC received a grant under the Community Preservation Act in 2017 to redesign and replace all street-facing signage on the property.
GfC received a grant in 2021 from Bunker Hill Associates to help fund the installation of the Children's Discovery Trail.
GfC received a grant in 2021 from Charlestown Mothers' Association to co-fund the installation of the Children's Discovery Trail
GfC received a grant from the Edward Ingersol Browne Fund in 2023 to fund the replacement and beautification of all garden borders and retaining walls.
GfC received a grant under the Community Preservation Act in 2023 to co-fund the replacement and beautification of all boarders and retaining walls.