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Feds getting ready to mislabel another key Revolutionary battle

1775 map

A 1775 map of Boston Harbor. The note for 16 (between Noddle's Island and Hog Island on the right) reads: "The Schooner burnt at Nodles Island by Genl Putman." No mention of Chelsea Creek. From the Norman Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library.

Everybody knows the Battle of Bunker Hill really took place on Breed's Hill. On EastBoston.com, Michael Laurano argues the feds are about to perpetuate a similar misnaming for the first naval battle in the War of Independence.

The National Park Service recently announced a grant for a history project on the "Battle of Chelsea Creek." But Laurano says that's unfair to Noddle's Island, because it took place around the island - now the core of East Boston and Logan Airport, rather than in what was then such an insignificant creek its name didn't even make local maps at the time:

To misplace by misnaming an important American Revolutionary War historical event simply to feed local vanities constitutes historical revisionism and is plainly wrong. A tail does not wag a dog nor does a minor creek, one of several in its proximity or on its perimeter, including Mill creek (Slade's-Revere), Crooked Lane or creek (once navigable at high tide, now Boardman Street, Orient Heights), Belle Isle Creek (Revere & Winthrop), define an island.

Noddle's Island was not in 1775 merely an island in Chelsea Creek. East Boston never was that and is not that now. In deference to tradition and the full truth of the matter this early chapter in the American epic struggle for freedom should be known as "The Battle of Noddle's Island and Chelsea Creek" or perhaps better yet "The Battle of Noddle's Island, Winnisimmet and Rumney Marsh" which in fact it was and not "The Battle of Chelsea Creek" which alone it most definitely was not.




The real official insult, obviously, is that everyone now calls the island East Boston. I'm sure the blogger will insist that it be called Noddle's and its residents Noddlies. Heck, it's actually to the northeast, not due east, of downtown! Such terrible historical inaccuracy.

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If this happens, East Boston will most certainly become a pilgrimage site for Pastafarians - adherents of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his divine noodly appendages.

(the Noddle/Noodle spelling difference will be chocked up to Colonial non-standard spelling of course!)

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As a Chelsea person with family from both East Boston and Chelsea dating back over 100 years I am confused as to what the problem is here. That body of water that sits next to "Noodle Island" is the Chelsea Creek, people in East Boston and Chelsea both call it that, in fact there is a group called the "Chelsea Creek Action Group" that is comprised of people from Chelsea and East Boston.

We are talking about a very small area of land and water here, most of which has been altered over the centuries. The area is finally getting some recognition for what happened, lets not tarnish it by playing a game of tug of war over the exact coordinates of battles that happened over 200 years ago when no side can prove the exact locations of these battles, mainly because the water they were fought on has been gobbled up our encroaching land masses.

If they find the HMS Diana it will be in Chelsea, not Noodle Island/East Boston. The full battle clearly took place over a swath of water/land encompassing Winnisimmet/Chelsea-Revere and Noodle Island-Hog Island/East Boston and the current name being used recognizes that fact. If Lexington and Concord can share their battle I do not see why East Boston, Chelsea and Revere can not share this one.

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Battle of Chelsea Creek -- see this 1918 aricle:


I note the earliest accounts seem to have given this the unwieldy designation "Battle of Chelsea, Hogg Island, etc".

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