One of Boston's most famous landmarks – the Bunker Hill Monument – took nearly 18 years to complete. After its cornerstone was laid in 1825, the monument's construction was disrupted so frequently that many Charlestown residents just wanted the whole thing demolished. Essentially, there wasn't enough money.
That is until Sarah Josepha Hale, a writer and editor, took up the cause. Described as "Oprah and Martha Stewart combined", Hale raised funds through her magazine (asking for $1 from every reader) and by organizing a massive craft fair at Quincy Market. She successfully raised $30,000 for the monument's completion, and soon after (in 1843), the capstone was laid.
(Sarah Josepha Hale's historic influence extends well beyond the monument — her accomplishments include writing "Mary Had a Little Lamb", and helping to create the holiday of Thanksgiving.)
The Bunker Hill Monument wasn't the only controversial project in the city's history. Boston is home to the most expensive highway construction project in the U.S.: The Big Dig. See some stunning black & white photos of the massive undertaking by Michael Hintlian here.