Boston's Freedom Trail
Whoa... visiting the sites of Boston's Freedom Trail was amazing. Having our ten year old son as our tour guide was absolutely- the best. Maleck has been learning about the Revolutionary War in his 4th grade class. Thanks to a brilliant teacher, Maleck was more than ready for this to share all of his knowledge with us a long the trail.
We have learned a lot about traveling with our children over the years. There are certainly destinations which are more attractive for kids, but we have also found that traveling brings about the best learning experience. Now Maleck has both "classroom" and "on the trail" knowledge.
I hope he and Emma will never forget this epic adventure!
A few Quick tips for the trail
1. Want to see visit the trail at its best? get up early before the lighting isn't as harsh- this will also mean less crowds- both better for photos
2.. Break it up into two days if you have the time so everyone gets a chance to soak it in.
3. Follow the marked path- seriously there is a brick path which leads you the entire course of this journey.
Don't forget to listen for the hooves of Paul Revere's horse, watch for the lanterns, and if you listen really closely you might just hear a few distant echoes from the past...
Visit the site that launched the American Revolution! Built in 1723, Boston’s oldest church is best known for the midnight ride of Paul Revere and “One if by land, two if by sea.”
Copp's Hill Burying Ground- Old North Church in the background.
Copp's Hill Burying Ground in the North End.
LESLIE JONES, DIGITAL COMMONWEALTH
Located on a hill on which a windmill once stood, the land was given to the town. Copp’s Hill was Boston’s largest colonial burying ground, dating from 1659.
Some notables buried in Copp's Hill are fire-and-brimstone preachers Cotton and Increase Mather, two Puritan ministers closely associated with the Salem witch trials, and Black Freemasonry founder Prince Hall. The burying ground also holds Old North Church sexton Robert Newman, the man who hung the lanterns on the night of Paul Revere’s midnight ride, and Edmund Hartt, builder of the USS Constitution. Countless free African-Americans are buried in a potter's field on the Charter Street side of the site. Because of its height and panoramic vistas, the British used this vantage point to train their cannons on Charlestown during the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775.
USS Constitution- Launched in Boston in 1797, USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat and earned her nickname "Old Ironsides" during the War of 1812 when she fought the British frigate HMS Guerriere.
It took a force of 3,000 Redcoats three assaults to dislodge the Colonial Militia from a hastily constructed redoubt atop Breed’s Hill in Charlestown. While technically a British victory, the Battle of Bunker Hill proved that Colonial forces could fight effectively against the British. Confusion about the name of the hill where the battle occurred goes back to the battle itself. Colonel William Prescott’s orders were to fortify Bunker’s Hill but he chose Breed’s Hill instead. A detailed map of the battle prepared by British Army Lieutenant Page reversed the two hills. Whatever the original error, the conflict was always known as the Battle of Bunker Hill.
The cornerstone of the Bunker Hill monument was laid in 1825 by Revolutionary War hero Marquis De Lafayette on the 50th anniversary of the battle. The 221-foot granite obelisk, would not be completed until 1842.
Paul Revere's House- Built around 1680, the Paul Revere House, owned by the legendary patriot from 1770-1800, is the oldest remaining structure in downtown Boston and also the only official Freedom Trail historic site that is a home.
Established in 1634, Boston Common is America’s oldest public park. Puritan colonists purchased the land rights to the Common’s 44 acres from the first European settler of the area, Anglican minister William Blackstone.
Often referred to as "the home of free speech" and the "Cradle of Liberty," Faneuil Hall hosted America's first Town Meeting. The Hall's vital role in revolutionary politics had not been part of its original plans, but it became home to an intricate collection of events that shaped the nation's history.
Boston Massacre Site
The tensions that led to the Boston Massacre were the product of the occupation of Boston by Redcoats in 1768. Redcoats were sent to Boston to quell riots in the wake of the Townsend Duties and to protect customs officials. With 2,000 soldiers occupying a town with a population of about 16,000, friction was inevitable. The violent clash on March 5, 1770 began with an argument that led to a riot outside of the Customs House.
Captain Preston of the 29th Regiment arrived with eight fellow Redcoats to extract White from the square. The crowd pressed on the soldiers and shots were fired by the Redcoats. When the smoke cleared, five men lay dead or dying. The first man to fall at the Boston Massacre was Crispus Attucks. Little is known about Crispus Attucks, and yet he is one of the most important figures in the Revolution. He was identified as a Mulatto, child of a Black father and Native American mother.
The Sons of Liberty held funerals for the victims and organized a vigorous propaganda effort in order to turn public opinion against the Redcoats, and labeled the tragedy a "bloody massacre." Paul Revere's print of the event, based on an illustration by Henry Pelham, was widely circulated. The British soldiers were tried for murder and were defended by John Adams, a Boston lawyer who was as loyal to the idea of justice as he was to the Patriot cause.
"The Bells in Town rang as for Fire for a Long Time which collected Thousands of People on the other Hand ye 29th Regiment was drawn up. During which the noise of the Bells the Bustle of the Town the Beating of Drums & the Reports of killed and wounded."
LETTER FROM ANDREW OLIVER, JR. TO BENJAMIN LYNDE, 6-7 MARCH 1770, MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Old South Meeting House was the largest building in colonial Boston and the stage for some of the most dramatic events leading up to the American Revolution.
Built as a Puritan meeting house in 1729, Old South Meeting House stands today as one of the nation’s most important colonial sites, one of the country’s first public historic conservation efforts, and one of the earliest museums of American history.
During the colonial period, members of Old South’s congregation included African-American poet Phillis Wheatley who published a book in 1773 while she was enslaved; patriot leaders Samuel Adams and William Otis; William Dawes, who rode with Paul Revere to Lexington in 1775; and the young Benjamin Franklin and his family.
Old South became the center for massive public protest meetings against British actions in colonial Boston from 1768-75. Patriots and Loyalists alike met to argue and inform, to protest the impressment of sailors into the King’s navy, and to commemorate the bloody Boston Massacre of 1770. Yet it was the series of meetings that culminated on December 16, 1773 that sealed Old South’s fate as one of this country’s most significant buildings. On that day, over 5,000 men crowded into the meeting house to hotly debate the controversial tea tax. When the final attempt at compromise failed, Samuel Adams gave the signal that started the Boston Tea Party. The Sons of Liberty led the way to Griffin’s Wharf, where they dumped 342 chests of tea into the frigid harbor.
In 1872, Old South Meeting House was put on the auction block, sold for the value of its building materials, and slated for demolition. A determined group of “twenty women of Boston” organized to to save the building from the wrecker’s ball: they enlisted famous Bostonians, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Julia Ward Howe, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Louisa May Alcott to rally people to secure funds and spread the word. Their combined efforts raised an enormous sum to purchase the building and its land and save Old South. It was the first time that a public building in the United States was saved because of its association with nationally important historical events. Old South Meeting House has been open to the public as a museum and meeting place since 1877 thanks to the efforts of that original Old South Association.
King's Chapel and Burying Ground- Founded in 1686 as Boston’s first Anglican church, King’s Chapel is home to over 330 years of history. The 1754 granite building still stands on the church’s original site: the corner of Boston’s oldest English burying ground.
Designed by Charles Bulfinch, the ‘new’ and current State House has served as the seat of Massachusetts government since its opening in 1798. Holding the legislative and executive branches, it sits adjacent to the former site of the historic Hancock mansion.
Granary Burying Ground
Established in 1660, some of America's most notable citizens rest here. Named for the 12,000-bushel grain storage building that was once next door, the historic burying ground has approximately 2,300 markers.
Constructed in 1718, the Old Corner Bookstore is downtown Boston’s oldest commercial building and was home to the 19th-century publishing giant Ticknor and Fields, producer of many venerable American titles including Thoreau’s Walden, Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Longfellow's Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, and the Atlantic Monthly including Ward Howe's Battle Hymn of the Republic. Saved from demolition in 1960, the building’s leases help subsidize important historic preservation projects in Boston’s neighborhoods.