MassMoments reminds us that on this day – March 17, 1901 – the Mayor Thomas N. Hart – declared a new holiday for the city of Boston – Evacuation Day. It was the 125th anniversary of the day in 1776 that General George Washington and the fledgling Continental Army forced the British to end their occupation of Boston – thus the commemoration and the name.
…in 1901, the City of Boston officially celebrated Evacuation Day for the first time. In early March of 1776, Continental troops managed to move heavy cannon to the top of Dorchester Heights. When the British realized what had happened, they knew they could no longer hold the capital. The lowly Continental Army forced the British to evacuate Boston. One hundred and twenty-five years later, the Mayor proclaimed March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, a legal holiday. The city could commemorate an important historical event — George Washington’s first victory in the American Revolution — and celebrate its place as “the capital of Irish America.” Even today, schools and government offices are closed on March 17th in Boston and Suffolk County.*