The 16 Landmarks of the Boston Freedom Trail

August 08, 2017 | Local Tips

 

If you’ve ever been to Boston’s Downtown and Charlestown neighborhoods, you may have noticed a curious line running through the city. This red brick line marks the 2.5 mile long walking path known as the Boston Freedom Trail.

The Boston Freedom Trail takes you on a tour of sixteen of the city’s historical landmarks, many of which were important sites during the American Revolution. Take a free self-guided walking tour through Boston and learn about the early days of the city and the birth of our nation.

Here are the sixteen sites you will see on your walk:

1. Boston Common

The Boston Freedom Trail kicks off at the Boston Common, located a short walk from The Taj Boston. The Boston Common is America’s oldest public park, tracing its history all the way back to 1634.

The verdant 50-acre park features lush fields, broad walking paths, beautiful trees, and park benches. At the heart of the Boston Common is the Frog Pond, which offers ice skating in the winter and a spray pool for children to play in during the summer.

Today, the park is often used for concerts, protests, and softball games.

2. Massachusetts State House

Built in 1798, this historic building still houses the Massachusetts General Court and the offices of the Governor of Massachusetts. 

The building’s most notable feature is its golden dome. When the original wood dome started to leak, it was covered in copper by American revolutionary and local copper worker Paul Revere. It was painted gold some 72 years later.

3. Park Street Church

Built in 1809, this historic church was founded by former members of the Old South Meeting House who were looking to establish a church with an orthodox Trinitarian theology in Boston. 

The church is still an active congregation today.

4. Granary Burying Ground

Visit Boston’s third oldest cemetery and the final resting place of some of Boston’s most historic figures, including Paul Revere, the five victims of the Boston Massacre, and three signers of the Declaration of Independence: Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine.

5. King's Chapel and Burying Ground

Built in 1749, the King’s Chapel was the first Anglican Church built in New England and is notable for its beautiful architecture.

The adjacent burial ground is the oldest in the city and the final resting place of William Dawes (who joined Paul Revere on his Midnight Ride), William Emerson (father of Ralph Waldo Emerson), and John Winthrop (a leading figure in the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony)

6. Benjamin Franklin statue and former site of Boston Latin School

Get your picture taken with Old Ben Franklin. Standing outside the former site of the Boston Latin School, the first public school in the United States, is the iconic bronze statue of Benjamin Franklin.

7. Old Corner Bookstore

Built in 1712 by Thomas Crease, the building was originally used as a private residence and apothecary, and later a bookstore.

From 1832 to 1865, it was used by the publishing company Ticknore and Fields. During this time, the building became a meeting place for legendary authors like Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

8. Old South Meeting House

This historic church was the place of worship for the likes of Samuel Adams, William Dawes, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Sewall, and Phillis Wheatley. During the 1770’s it became a hotbed of revolutionary activity. It is perhaps best known as the location where the Boston Tea Party was planned.

9. Old State House

Built in 1713, the Old State House is one of the oldest public buildings in the United States. It served as the seat of the Massachusetts General Court until 1798.

It was on the Old State House’s east balcony that the Declaration of Independence was read to the people of Boston for the first time.

10. Site of the Boston Massacre

Just outside the front door of the Old State House is the site of the Boston Massacre.

On March 5, 1770, the British army fired on an unarmed crowd in the hundreds that had grown hostile during a confrontation between a British private and a young wigmaker’s apprentice. The incident left 5 colonists dead and 6 more injured at a time when tensions were already high.

This tragic scene was a key event leading to the American Revolution.

11. Faneuil Hall

Built in 1742, Faneuil Hall is a public marketplace where you can purchase handmade goods and souvenirs from local artisans and business owners from their small boutiques and pushcarts.

You’ll likely catch a performance by one of the many street performers and musicians around the hall. You will find contortionists twisting their bodies into unnatural positions, stuntmen doing death-defying stunts, jugglers, magicians, acrobats, and everything in between.

12. Paul Revere House

Paul Revere is famous for his Midnight Ride to warn the people of Massachusetts about the British army’s advances, forever immortalized in the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Visit his colonial home during the time of the American Revolution.

13. Old North Church

“One if by land, two if by sea.” It was at Old North Church that Paul Revere hung the two lanterns to warn the people of Boston the British were approaching by sea.

14. Copp's Hill Burying Ground

Established in 1659, Copp's Hill Burying Ground was Boston’s second cemetery. Many of the city’s earliest settlers are buried here.

15. USS Constitution

The USS Constitution, nicknamed Old Ironsides, is an active naval vessel launched in 1797. The three-masted heavy frigate saw notable action in the War of 1812 against the British Navy on both sides of the Atlantic.

The ship can be boarded and explored today.

16. Bunker Hill Monument

The Battle of Bunker Hill was one of the first major battles of the American Revolution, taking place June 17, 1775. Explore the battlefield and enjoy the 221-foot obelisk erected to remember those who lost their lives.

Walking the Boston Freedom Trail is a wonderful way to spend the day in Boston. Just follow the red brick road through the city and discover all of these important historical landmarks. 

If you’d prefer a guided tour, The Freedom Trail Foundation offers a variety of walking tours for purchase. Visit http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/book-tour/public-tours.shtml for more informaiton.