16 Stops on the Boston Freedom Trail

Boston Freedom Trail Complete Guide

At this time of year, I can’t help but think about New England and particularly Boston.  I first visited last year and spent a day discovering the city and drinking far too many vanilla lattes.  So, on my most recent trip to Boston, last summer I was keen to explore more of the city.  Especially the Freedom Trail, which I’d only walked a portion of last time, and really wanted to discover more of Boston’s rich history. The Freedom Trail is a 2 and a half mile brick path. There are 16 historic sites along the trail.

Boston Freedom Trail
Follow the Bricks of the Boston Freedom Trail

Historic sites on the Trail

My initial plan was to find the end of the Trail, on Boston Common, and then follow the 2.5 miles it weaves through the City. However, upon arrival at Boston Common a tour was just about to start, rather than do all the hard work myself I joined the tour and it turned out to be the best decision. Led by Private George Osbourne (who stayed in character for the whole tour) we spent over two hours walking the streets of Boston following the red brick trial and discovering its secrets. Here are some of the historic sites we visited:

Boston Common

Boston Common was established in 1634 when Puritan colonists purchased the 44 acres from William Blackstone, who was a settler from Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, England, and the land became common ground. In the past, it was also a burial site where some 400 people were hanged.

Boston Common
Boston Common

Boston State House

Boston State House stands dominantly looking over the Common. The First Governor, Thomas Hancock, wanted to build a state house on Boston Common, but people thought he was mad, as in 1798 the area it was in, Beacon Hill, was the worst place to live. Mind you, the rest of Boston wasn’t great either, two-thirds of the City was built on landfill.

Park Street Church

Park Street Church is one of the most historic churches in Boston having seen prison reform started in the church, women’s suffrage movement supported as well as protests again slavery. It is still a church that is used today for weekly services.

Park Street Church
Park Street Church

Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House, also known as the Massachusetts Statehouse or the “New” State House, is the state capitol and house of government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston.

Massachusetts State House
Massachusetts State House

Granary burying ground

The Granary burying ground is just up the street from Park Street Church. It is the third oldest graveyard, in Boston, and used to be part of Boston Common. It is the resting place of some of Bostons most famous people. Including John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin’s parents, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, as well as Robert Treat Paine, three of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence. There were some 8-10 thousand people buried in the graveyard and in 1850 the layout was changed and only the headstones were moved, not the tombs.

Granary Burying Ground
Granary Burying Ground

King’s Chapel and Burying Ground

King’s Chapel Burying Ground is the oldest cemetery in Boston and is the burial site to numerous Puritan graves and tombs. Puritan Governor John Winthrop, Mayflower Passenger Mary Chilton, and Patriot William Dawes are all buried here.

King's Chapel
King’s Chapel and Burying Ground

Benjamin Franklin statue & Boston Latin School

Boston’s oldest public school was founded in 1635 and a statue of Benjamin Franklin marks the spot where the original Boston Latin Schoolhouse was completed in 1645. All of the four who signed the declaration of independence, including Franklin, attended the school.

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

Old Corner Bookstore

Old Corner Bookstore is one of the oldest buildings in Boston. In 1712, the bookstore was known as the Crease House. During the time of religious freedom, a puritan religious leader named Anne Hutchinson resided here and gave daily scripture readings. The building burned in 1711 and in 1828 Timothy Carter opened the bookstore and in 1832 William Ticknor added Publishing to the site. In the mid-180ss it was the center of American publishing. Today the bookstore is a Chipotle. 🙁

Old Corner Bookstore
Old Corner Bookstore

Old South Meeting House

Since the 1773 mass protest meetings that led up to the Boston Tea Party Old South Meeting House has served as a gathering place for discussion and celebration and a haven for free speech.

Old South Meeting House
Old South Meeting House

Site of the Boston Massacre

Before the Old State House in downtown Boston, there is a large and prominent marker to commemorate the precise location where the so-called Boston Massacre took place. The wording and design of the memorial leave no doubt in the viewer’s mind: that they are standing on the very precise ground where a momentous historical event had occurred.

Site of the Boston Massacre
Site of the Boston Massacre

Old State House

The Old State House stands, today, in the shadows of sky scrappers that have been built around it. Back then it was at the center of the American Revolution. It is one of the oldest buildings still standing and it was here, in 1770, at the crossroads of two of Boston’s main streets the Boston Massacre took place.

Old State House

Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall is a marketplace and meeting hall located near the waterfront and today’s Government Center, in Boston, Massachusetts. Opened in 1743, it was the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and others encouraging independence from Great Britain. It is now part of Boston National Historical Park and a well-known stop on the Freedom Trail. It is sometimes referred to as “the Cradle of Liberty”.

Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall

Paul Revere’s house

Paul Revere’s house is very small, but then houses used to be. Built in 1680 the house is still standing today and you are able to take tours inside. Revere was a French man whose trade was a goldsmith and blacksmith, as well as being a grave master. He knew everything and also knew everyone’s business.

Paul Revere House
Paul Revere House

Old North Church

The Old North Church is really quaint and is the oldest church in Boston, having been built in 1723, and its steeple is the tallest.

Old North Church
Old North Church

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground

Copp’s Hill Burying ground is the resting place of normal Bostonian’s and its hilly vantage point was used by the British during the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. From here you walk across the bridge to Charlestown to view the Battle of Bunker Hill monument.

Copp’s Hill Burying ground
Copp’s Hill Burying ground

USS Constitution

The U.S.S. Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship and is a jaw-dropping 221 years old – and is still sailing today.

USS Constitution
USS Constitution

Bunker Hill Monument

Breed’s Hill, the site of the Battle of Bunker Hill is in Charlestown, Massachusetts. It marks the location where the first offensive military action by the Colonists took place on June 17, 1775. r. The battle is named after the adjacent Bunker Hill, which was peripherally involved in the battle and was the original objective of both colonial and British troops, and is occasionally referred to as the “Battle of Breed’s Hill.”

Bunker Hill Monument
Bunker Hill Monument

I didn’t quite manage all 16 of the historic sites on the Freedom Trail. So next time I visit Boston, as there will most definitely be one, I will need to make sure I finish seeing all the sites on the Freedom Trail. If you love a city, I always find it’s worth leaving something for a future visit, that way there is always a reason to return.

If you’ve visited Boston, did you walk the Freedom Trail?

 

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