One of the things we did in Boston for the day was Boston's Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is basically a line on the ground throughout Boston that runs in front of historical sites around the city. This means that if you're really into history, you basically have a map of your tour already sketched in the ground for you. All you have to do is pick it up and follow it to see all sorts of amazing sites in our nation's history.
So now that you know what the Freedom Trail is, I'm going to take you on a tour of it. I'm not going to include every stop on the trail but I will include a lot - if you want to see it all you'll have to visit!
The first stop is the Boston Common where we picked up the trail. The Boston Common is America's oldest public park. Nothing has ever been built on this area of land. It was founded around 1630 and was used as a training ground for the colonial militia in 1700s.
The next spot is the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial. Robert Gould Shaw, an abolitionist, led a regiment of black soldiers during the Civil War; the 54th regiment from Massachusetts. If you're interested in this story, check out the movie Glory.
The State House is the capitol building for the state. Paul Revere and Sam Adams laid the foundation stone of this building on our nation's birthday in 1795.
The Park Street Church is a beautiful church downtown. The steeple was said to be inspired by Christopher Wren's designs (who also designed William and Mary's Wren Building!).
The Granary Burying Ground sits right next to the Park Street Church and used to have a granary on its premises. It's now a burying ground and is where Paul Revere is buried. Part of the inscription on this sign reads, "May the youth of today when they visit this old house be inspired with the patriotism of Paul Revere." Sam Adams and John Hancock are also buried here.
King's Chapel also has a burying ground where William Dawes is buried. William Dawes rode an alternate route along with Paul Revere on the night of April 18th to warn Adams and Hancock that the British were coming. Revere was captured between Lexington and Concord, Dawes was not - however, Revere reached Lexington first to warn the two men and that's probably why he's more famous. John Winthrop, first govenor of Massachusetts, is also buried here.
The Old State House is located in the middle of a couple high rises and is the site where James Otis gave a famous speech against the Writs of Assistance. John Adams, second president of our country, was in attendance at this speech and afterwards proclaimed, "then and there the child Independence was born." The Declaration of Independence was proclaimed from the balcony of the Old State House on July 18th, 1776.
This star on the ground commemorates the site of the Boston Massacre which occured on March 5, 1770 and is considered to be the first bloodshed of the Revolution. There were five colonists killed including the most famous, Crispus Attucks.
Faneuil Hall is a market place and is also where we stopped to have lunch. It is one of the most visited tourist locations in the country.
Paul Revere's House is located a bit down the trail and is now open to the public. Revere lived in this house with his wife and children. Revere had two wives and 16 children - 8 by his first wife and 8 by his second. All 16 children did not live in this house at the same time. The second floor had only two rooms (bedrooms) and apparently more rooms were used as bedrooms in the attic.
The Old North Church was the tallest building in Boston at the time of the British invasion. Lanterns were hung here in the steeple on the night of April 18th, 1775, "One if by land, and two if by sea" to signal to Charlestown of the British troop course to Lexington in case Revere and Dawes failed in their ride ahead to warn Adams and Hancock of the approach.
Hope you enjoyed the history lesson! If you want to learn more about these sites and the others along the Freedom Trail, check out the link above - it's where I got most of the information about these locations.