Hull Street Garden
Hull Street Community Garden
This garden, like the adjacent street, bears the name of Captain Isaac Hull (1773-1843), commander of the U.S.S. Constitution during the War of 1812. On August 19, 1812, his ship destroyed the British frigate H.M.S. Guerriére in a naval battle now considered one of America’s greatest naval victories. Captain Hull became a hero and the U.S.S. Constitution earned the famed nickname “Old Ironsides.”
Born in Shelton, Connecticut, Isaac Hull became a cabin boy on a merchant ship at the age of 14. He enlisted in the United States Navy, ascending to the rank of 4th lieutenant by 25. After having captured a French privateer in the Tripolitan War (1801-1805), Hull received a promotion to the rank of captain in 1806. He became commander of the Constitution four years later.
The Constitution encountered a British squadron of five ships off Egg Harbor, New Jersey, in July 1812 and successfully maneuvered past it after a three-day confrontation. A month later, the ship met the British frigate Guerriére off the coast of Boston. After an intense 30-minute battle, Hull’s Constitution destroyed the Guerriére, earning the ship and its commander a place of honor in U.S. military history. Someone believed to have seen British shots bouncing off the ship during the battle, shouting, "Huzzah! Her sides are made of iron." This is allegedly the source of the nickname “Old Ironsides.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes’s (1809-1894) 1830 poem “Old Ironsides,” a paean to the apparent impenetrable Constitution, helped spread the ship’s legend for generations to come. Congress awarded Captain Isaac Hull a gold medal for his service in battle. He went on to receive the rank of commodore in 1823. Hull died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1843.
Parks’s GreenThumb, a program that aids in the development of community gardens, acquired the Hull Street Garden in 1998 with the exception of one privately owned lot in the middle of the garden. Local residents successfully lobbied the City to transfer the final portion of the garden to Parks in 2000 after the previous owner defaulted on tax payments. Community members from the local condominium provide labor and help in fundraising for the garden. The local condominium association paid for the fencing. The Council on the Environment provided assistance with the gazebo and shed, and donated lumber, plants, wheelbarrows, and umbrellas for the picnic tables.