OCR image


Preservation of the Commonwealth’s cultural heritage is an important aspect of the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s mission. The cultural resources that can be found in our state parks and forests span thousands of years and includes Native American sites, cellar holes and stones walls that tell the story of the state’s earliest settlement patterns, military landscapes, historic estates, and a metropolitan park system designed by a pioneer of the profession of landscape architecture, Charles Eliot. With over 100 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including eight National Historic Landmarks, the cultural resources under DCR’s care tells the story of our state and our nation. The Office of Cultural Resources (OCR) carries out the DCR’s preservation mission through stewardship of the agency’s historic buildings, structures, landscapes, archaeological sites, and archival resources.

OCR staff provides professional expertise, technical assistance, project management skills, and training opportunities in the areas of landscape preservation, preservation planning, adaptive reuse, archaeology, archival records management , and compliance with local, state and federal historic preservation laws. In addition to leading the historic preservation programs and initiatives of the agency, OCR staff directly support activities undertaken by other bureaus and divisions within the agency. As a leader in the field of historic landscape preservation, the office also provides assistance to cities and towns through the development of innovative tools for protecting their significant historic landscapes.

Contact: Patrice Kish, Director at 617-626-1378

Memorial at the “Parade”, Camp Meigs Memorial Park

Memorial at the “Parade”, Camp Meigs Memorial Park

The Storming of Fort Wagner, lithograph 1890

The Storming of Fort Wagner

Camp Meigs Memorial Park

Tucked away in Boston’s Readville neighborhood is a slice of American history - a Civil War training ground where African American equality took strong steps forward. From 1862 through 1865 over 20,000 men from all over the nation reported to Camp Meigs, enlisting their support for the Union cause. Harriet Tubman was one of many recruiters, asking African Americans to join what would become the first military regiments consisting of black soldiers to be raised in the North during the Civil War - the 54th and 55th Infantry and the 5th Cavalry. The brave and dedicated service of the regiments justified the Union’s employment of African American soldiers, moving the nation toward racial equality. In July 1863 the 54th led the assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina, losing over 100 soldiers as well as their commander Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. Originally paid less than their white counterparts, the 54th and 55th worked a year without pay, holding out the equal wages they were promised. Their successful fight for pay equality was an important step for racial justice.

In 1892, three acres of the former 139 acre camp were given to Hyde Park for the Camp Meigs Memorial Park, formally dedicated in 1903. Hyde Park was annexed to Boston in 1912, and the City of Boston transferred the property to the Metropolitan District Commission in 1958. A tablet at the park honors the soldiers of the Civil War training ground. DCR is currently working with the Heritage Guild of Boston to develop new interpretive panels to tell the important story of the 54th, 55th and 5th regiments. Approximately 360,000 men died in the Civil War, among them 36,000 African American Union soldiers.

Camp Meigs Memorial Park is located at Standbro and Clifford Streets in Hyde Park. Take Neponset Valley Parkway to Clifford, to Standbro.