Home of the Week: To think Charlestown students got to look at this architecture every day

Home of the Week Renting Charlestown
The living room is the apex of the former high school gymnasium. David L. Ryan/Globe staff

30 Monument Square, Unit 401, Charlestown

Rent $2,600 a month
Style Condo
Year built Turn of the last century; converted 1998
Square feet 884
Bedrooms 1
Baths 1 full
Pets Not allowed

Inspired by the Bunker Hill Monument’s 221-foot-tall obelisk, the city of Boston built the high school that once served Charlestown out of blocks of granite, giving the four-story building an air of solemnity that persists.

“It is a granite, four stories high, square, solid, and dignified in its proportions,’’ the Globe reported in 1908 when it opened. “It possesses no traces of the modern tendency to ornamentation, no filigree cornices or columns, no medallions, no fluted or corbelled window openings, but plain rectangular walls, whose only ornament is the absence of ornament.’’

A no-frills outside belied an ornate inside.

When famous architectural firm Gund Partnership converted the school into 44 units, and it became The Schoolhouse on Monument, some of those frills and decorative touches that welcomed students and teachers were retained. This penthouse unit features a half-barrel coffered ceiling some 15 feet above the hardwood floor in the living room, the original top of the school auditorium. Here, columns are topped with elaborate plaster volute capitals, and the walls are adorned with molding and stunning plasterwork reliefs. Natural light comes from a pair of windows at floor level topped by two half-moons.

The building has an elevator, and as one enters the unit from the hallway, there is a foyer with a closet. Deeper into the unit, the kitchen emerges on the left. In contrast to the living room, the kitchen pivots to straightforward functionality. The cabinets are sleek, unpaneled, and white with pull handles. The appliances, including the electric stove, are stainless steel, while the counters and cabinets are Formica. There’s pre-engineered hardwood flooring underfoot.

. —David L. Ryan/Globe staff

To the right, three steps lead to the 180-square-foot bedroom, which has a walk-in closet with bifold doors, a single tall window, an 11-foot ceiling, and a nondescript en-suite bath with a tub/shower combination, a ceramic tile surround and floor, and a single vanity topped with Formica.

. —David L. Ryan/Globe staff

The living room is four steps down from the kitchen.

The rental comes with an in-unit washer and dryer and one garage parking space.

Frank Celeste of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Charlestown has the listing.

Follow John R. Ellement on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Send listings to [email protected]. Please note: We do not feature unfurnished homes and will not respond to submissions we won’t pursue. Subscribe to our newsletter at