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The Freedom Trail in Boston

Boston was founded in 1630. As the historical and cultural center of the United States, the first university in the United States was born here, and the American War of Independence originated from here.

“The Freedom Trail” is a four-kilometer-long red brick road that traverses downtown Boston and connects 16 historic sites scattered throughout the city. Along this freedom trail, we can learn about the history of the American Independence movement.

16 Historic Sites on the Freedom Trail:

1. Boston Common

Boston Common, located on 59 acres in downtown Boston, was built in 1634 and is the oldest urban park in the United States. It was originally just a ranch, but later it continued to be associated with major political events in the United States, such as Washington and other victory celebrations here in the War of Independence, the abolition of slavery during the Civil War, the donation of all metal fences here in World War II, and various civil rights rallies. So, in the minds of Americans or Bostonians, it’s a place of public meeting and fighting for rights.

Boston Common is not only the starting point of Boston’s Freedom Trail, but also a favorite place for citizens to relax. Besides, there are many lawns and plants in the park. People like to lie on the lawn to bathe in the sun, and many people will walk their dogs in the park. Moreover, if you come to the park early in the morning, you can have a chance encounter with the cute squirrels.

Boston Common of freedom trail

2. Massachusetts State House

 The Massachusetts State House is in the northeast corner of the Boston Common, which is one of the oldest state capitols in current use. Moreover, the Massachusetts State House is considered a masterpiece of Federal architecture and among Bulfinch’s finest works. Besides, its signature is the golden dome which is glowed in the sun and visible from a distance. In addition, if you go to visit several cities of the United States, it is not difficult to find that the United States Parliament building is basically such a dome-shaped building.

Massachusetts State House

3. Park Street Church

Park Street Church was built in 1809. The Street on the east side of Boston Common is called Park Street, and the southern corner of Park Street is the Park Street Church with the American-style red brick wall. Moreover, Wellcome Laudell Garrison delivered his first anti-slavery speech here. Besides, few Bostonians are unaware of the Park Street Church, which has stood here since 1809 as a witness to all eras of American history and is still in active use today. 

4. Old Granary Burying Ground

The Old Granary Burying Ground is located behind Park Street Church. It is said to be called Old Granary Burying Ground because the Park Street Church used to be a barn in the past. This cemetery is the resting place of many famous people in Boston, including the three signers of the Declaration of Independence, Franklin’s parents, and many heroes of the Revolutionary War.

For today’s Americans, there is a very famous saying that the most famous person buried in this cemetery is Samuel Adams. Because, nowadays, there is a famous beer brand in Boston called Samuel Adams, across the street from Adams’s gravestone in the barn cemetery, which is a tavern selling Adams beer.

Old Granary Burying Ground Boston Freedom Trail

5. King's Chapel

King’s Chapel was the first Church of England site in Boston, built in 1688. After the Revolutionary War, it became the first unitary church in the United States. Although the King’s Church is a church without a spire, its interior decoration is very solemn and historical. But if you look at churches around the world, it’s rare to see a church without a steeple. The church was originally a wooden house, and the new church was built in 1750. However, before the spire was finished, there was a financial crisis, so what we have now is actually an uncapped church.

There are some guide tour for the King’s Chapel, and we recommend the option to go up to the bell tower and down to crypt’s bell and bones, which is about an hour or so.

King ' s Chapel ​Boston

6. First Public School Site

The site of the First Public School is the original site of the Boston Latin School, located next to the King’s Chapel. Founded on April 23, 1635, it is the oldest public school in colonial Britain and the United States, and the oldest surviving school in the United States. The school measures 40 feet long and 20 feet wide and has two levels of Windows – eight on the first floor and four on the roof. The students learned reading, writing, math and Latin here. There is a Mosaic on the sidewalk with images of children playing on a school playground and the usual numbers and letters around the entire image. Nowadays, the First Public School Site is still a very imposing landmark along the Freedom Trail.

First Public School Site

7. Old South Meeting House

The Old South House is the second oldest building in the United States, completed in 1729. It is a museum on the Freedom Trail dedicated to expression of freedom. “The Boston Tea Party”, by Samuel Adams started here. After the Old South Meeting House was almost destroyed in a fire, the congregation built a new Old South Church in Copley Square.

Old South Meeting House​ Freedom Trail

8. Global Corner Bookstore

The Global Corner Bookstore was the literary center of Boston in the mid-19th century. The owner of this land, Ann Hutchinson was excommunicated from the church and Massachusetts for believing and spreading “paganism.” In addition, the Global Corner Bookstore in the 19th century was once home to the famous American publishing house, Tinophir. Moreover, across the street from the Global Corner bookstore, there is Luke’s Lobster, which features lobster rolls and clam chowder.

Global Corner Book Store

9. Old State House

The Declaration of Independence was first read to citizens at the Old State House in 1776. Located at the corner of Washington and State Streets, it is an old red brick Georgian building built in 1712-1713. The tour inside the Old State House is self-guided. Besides, there are artifacts from the time to complement the information boards, just like other museums. Additionally, it is now a popular local wedding venue.

Freedom Trail Old State House​

10. Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall was donated to the City of Boston by Peter Faniel in 1742. Faneuil Hall is known as the “cradle of liberty”. Besides, in front of the building, there is a statue of Samuel Adams. In addition, the ground floor is divided into stalls for rent, and the second floor is the official town hall where local issues of concern to the public are discussed. Many famous people, such as Samuel Adams, gave speeches here. Also, it was the place where the sugar tax, stamp duty, and tea tax were discussed and the discussions that spread throughout the colonial region and laid the ideological foundation for the struggle for independence. Today it is still used to discuss community affairs, high school graduations, and new naturalization ceremonies. Additionally, there are many restaurants and shops in the building and also many street vendors around the building. Besides, there are also many street performers singing and playing.

11. Boston Massacre Site

The Boston Massacre was an incident on King Street in the North American colony of Boston. Though the British called it the King Street Incident, the Americans used to call it the Boston Massacre. The incident was caused by a mob and British soldiers clashed with civilians, resulting in the death of five civilians. This incident was aggravated by the revolt of the colonial people. Moreover, this incident, along with the Stamp Tax Act, the Townsend Tax Act, and the Boston Tea Party, was a series of triggers that led to the American Revolution. The Boston Massacre site is where the first victims of the Revolutionary War were buried. Besides, the site of the Boston Massacre is a round gold sign on the ground that marks the time of the event.

12. Paul Revere House

The Paul Revere House is the oldest surviving private residence in Boston, built around 1680. The famous Paul was a silversmith before joining the army. And after becoming one of the army, he fought in a series of wars. After his retirement, he continued to invest the proceeds of his business in the construction of defense facilities. Now, the Paul Revere House is a monument open to the public to help visitors better understand the story.

Paul Revere House Boston Freedom Trail

13. Old North Church

The Old North Church is a magnificent Christian church and it is where the American Revolution began. Trying to get to know Paul Revere’s midnight ride, or his “one light, two lights” signal, then this is a must-see. In addition, near the Old North Church, there is the North End, which is also called the Little Italy, where locals like to dine.

Old North Church​ freedom trail

14. Copp' s Hill Burying Ground

Copp‘s Hill Burying Ground is a public cemetery in the north of Boston, mainly for the merchants, artists, craftsmen and other people who lived here. There are so many old headstones and some you could not even read the names. During the Revolution, the British troops used these gravestones for target practice.

15. USS Constitution

Launched in 1797, the USS Constitution is the oldest surviving American warship with an iron hull. Besides, the USS Constitution is still managed by the army, beautifully preserved and has modified for tourists to visit on boats. Meanwhile, it exhibits telling visitors of the ship’s history and about life for the officers and sailors onboard during her time as an active warship. Additionally, there is also a USS Constitution Museum next to it, which can be visited together.

16. Bunker Hill Monument

Bunker Hill is a hill in the north of Boston, which was once the site of a battle during the American Revolution. Besides, there is a 67-meter-high memorial tower that commemorates the volunteers who fought against the British army at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. From a distance, it looks like the Washington Monument. Also, there is plenty of interesting information on the ground level of the monument. Meanwhile, visitors can hike all of the 294 steps to the top. Moreover, the Bunker Hill Monument is one of the earliest monuments in the United States.

Bunker Hill Monument

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FAQ

It takes about 90 minutes to complete. However, if you want to visit all the sites along the way, you will spend the whole day.

Yes. The Freedom Trail is a popular trail for road biking, running, and walking.

If you are interested in Boston study life. Please check following blogs!

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