The Paul Revere House  

If you have the opportunity to visit Boston, don't miss this 2 1/2 mile walk through history. The Freedom Trail is clearly marked by a red painted line or red bricks set into the sidewalk. It begins at Boston Common, meanders through Boston center, passes through the North End, and finally crosses the Charles River to the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. On your journey, you'll see historic homes, monuments, museums, churches, burial grounds, and more. Boston's Freedom Trail ... there's nothing else quite like it in the United States!

To learn more about a specific site along the trail, please click on its link below:

 Boston Common  •  State House  •  Park Street Church  •  Granary Burying Ground  •  King's Chapel King's Chapel Burying Ground  •  The Old Corner Bookstore Building  •  Old South Meeting House Old State House  •  Boston Massacre Site  •  Faneuil Hall  •  Paul Revere House  •  Old North Church Copp's Hill Burying Ground  •  USS Constitution  •  Bunker Hill

Boston Common

In the center of the city, on 44 acres of open land, you'll find Boston Common ... the oldest public park in America. This land was once the pasture of William Blackstone, who first arrived in the area in 1622. Over the years, it has served many purposes. It was a place for grazing cattle and sheep (until 1830), the site of the town gallows, a training field for the militia, and during the occupation of Boston, it became a British army camp. At the foot of the Common (near what is now Charles Street) on the evening of April 18, 1775, the British Regulars left for their expedition to Lexington and Concord.

Today, the citizens of Boston use the Common as a place to relax and gather with friends. Children get wet in the Frog Pond during the summer and ice skate there in winter. People stride by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and stop to stretch out on the grass or sit on park benches. Concerts can be heard at the Parkman Bandstand. At the far end, near the State House, one can view the monument to Robert Gould Shaw and the Fifty-fourth Regiment immortalized in the 1989 film Glory. During the holidays, the trees on Boston Common are illuminated and magnificent ice sculptures appear ... all a part of Boston's annual First Night celebration.

State House

The Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill has long been one of the city's main landmarks. The cornerstone for the building was laid in 1795 in a ceremony overseen by Governor Samuel Adams, and Grand Master of the Masons, Paul Revere. The building stands on land once owned by colonial Boston's wealthiest merchant, John Hancock. It was designed by Boston native Charles Bulfinch who would become the leading architect of his day. At the time of its completion, the State House was praised as the finest public building in America.

Today, the building's gleaming dome, which measures 50 ft. in diameter and 30 ft. high, is gilded with gold leaf. Originally, it was covered with wooden shingles, and in 1802, sheathed in copper manufactured by Paul Revere. The original brick building now has wings on either side and an extension in the rear. These additions haven't detracted greatly from Bulfinch's original design. The State House is the seat of the Massachusetts government. Inside you will find the Senate Chamber and the House of Representatives where the "Sacred Cod" a five-foot-long carved wooden codfish hangs. This symbol marks the importance of the fishing industry to the Commonwealth.

Visitor Information:
Open 10 AM to 3:30 PM, Monday - Friday
(617) 727-3676,
Admission is Free

Park Street Church

The Park Street Church was built in 1809 and is located at the intersection of Park and Tremont Streets. It stands on the former site of the Old Granary, a large barn where the town kept wheat and other grains that it would distribute to the poor. During the War of 1812, gunpowder was stored beneath the church and the site earned the nickname of Brimstone Corner. Brimstone (sulfur) is a critical ingredient of gunpowder.

On July 4, 1829, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison gave his first anti-slavery address here. This was just one of many fiery speeches delivered at the church. Three years later, on Independence Day, the song "America," also known as "My Country 'Tis of Thee" was first sung in public by a group of school children standing on the building's front steps. Park Street Church is an evangelical Christian parish that has long supported missionary and social work.

Visitor Information:
Open 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM, Tuesday - Saturday (mid June - end of August)
(617) 523-3383,
Admission is Free (Donations Accepted)

Granary Burying Ground

The city's third oldest burying place, Granary Burying Ground, was first used in 1660. It was initially called South Burying Ground and then Middle Burying Ground as the town's population extended further south. Located on two acres of land that were situated next to the Old Granary, the cemetery is the final resting place of many famous people. On the left side of the burying ground, a large pillar marks the tomb of John Hancock, the well known signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of Massachusetts. Along the rear path, a square monument of white marble marks the grave of silversmith, midnight rider, and industrialist Paul Revere.

At the right front of the burying ground you will see the marker of Samuel Adams who organized the Sons of Liberty, signed the Declaration of Independence, and also served as governor of the Commonwealth. Next to his marker is the grave of the five victims of the Boston Massacre. Other prominent people buried here are patriot James Otis, Peter Faneuil (benefactor of Boston's town meeting hall), and the parents of Benjamin Franklin.

Visitor Information:
Open daily 9 AM to 5 PM, (Spring - Fall); 9 AM to 3 PM (Winter)
(617) 635-4505,
Admission is Free

King's Chapel

King's Chapel, located on the corner of Tremont and School streets, has a fascinating history. When the Puritans settled Boston in 1630, they fled England's Anglican Church. Fifty years later, King James II ordered that an Anglican parish be established in Boston. Angry Puritans would not sell any of their land for this purpose so the Royal Governor seized a section of the town's burying ground and a small wood chapel was built there to house the first Anglican congregation in North America. Membership in the church grew, and the building was enlarged in 1710. By 1741, plans were being made to replace the wood chapel with one built of stone. Once the funds had been raised, construction began on the granite version of King's Chapel in 1749 and it was completed in 1754.

In 1785, the remaining congregation adopted a new theology and became the first Unitarian Church in America. On October 27, 1789, President George Washington attended a concert here and sat in the Governor's Pew, pictured below. In 1790, a front portico with columns was added, and the building soon resembled the King's Chapel that Bostonians recognize today. In 1816 a bell for the church, weighing more than one ton, was cast at the Revere Foundry. Paul Revere called it "the sweetest bell we ever made." Today, the bell is rung by hand for all church services and special occasions. The interior of the church is elegant and one of the most beautiful in New England. The pulpit and its sounding board date from 1717 and were once used in the original wood chapel.

Visitor Information:
Open 10 AM to 4 PM, (Summer - Mon, Thurs, Fri, Sat; Winter - Sat)
(617) 227-2155,
Admission is Free (Donations Accepted)

King's Chapel Burying Ground

Located on Tremont Street next to King's Chapel, this is Boston's oldest burying place. It occupies land that was once the vegetable garden of Isaac Johnson who was the first person buried here in 1630. Johnson's marker has been lost to time but many old stones survive, including one from 1658. Many of Boston's early English settlers were buried on this small piece of land. The exact number of those who rest here is not known, but it is estimated that there were 10-20 burials for each stone you see today. The stones themselves have been moved several times so even they are not accurate markers for the people they honor.

As you walk through King's Chapel Burying Ground, you will view some intricately carved markers and spot some famous names. Just inside the gate is a beautiful stone carved in painstaking detail by an early Charlestown stonecutter. It is the marker for Joseph Tapping who died in 1678. In the middle of the burying ground, to your left, is the table tomb of John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In the exact center is the marker for Mary Chilton, who arrived on the Mayflower. Behind the Chilton marker is the tomb of William Dawes, the Son of Liberty and messenger rider who (along with Paul Revere) delivered the news of the Regulars' march to Lexington and Concord on the evening of April 18-19, 1775.

Visitor Information:
Open daily 9 AM to 5 PM
Admission is Free

Freedom Trail Tickets

Photography by: Ben Edwards

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