Freedom Trail Freedom Trail is like revisiting American history in Boston. It was decided 60 years ago that American history should be preserved for the next coming generations. That is why the authorities of that time shortlisted sixteen buildings/sites naming them to be part of Freedom Trail. The effort will serve as the backbone of the revolution that made today’s America. This American experience enables the young generation to look into history and understand what their forefathers did for building the nation.
Interestingly this is a 2.5 miles long red brick sidewalk that leads the visitor to all 16 sites in downtown of Boston, Massachusetts. These are the placed in history where history was built several years ago. The simple looking brick path is simple but aesthetically constructed with simple marks to explain places like notable church or graveyard or other items of historic significance. Most of these marked sites are free to visit asking for donations.
First building that speaks for itself is Faneuil Hall while others include Old South Meeting House, Paul Revere House and the Old State House etc. The whole project of Freedom Trail is supervised by the City of Boston’s Freedom Trail Commission together with grants coming from NGOs, NPOs and foundations as well as Boston National Historical Park. At present around 50,000 people use The Freedom Trail annually. Faneuil Hall is the place where tours are offered, tour maps are made available and books pertaining to USA and Boston history are sold.
Following the path, as the visitor walks, he immerses into history along the iconic trail taking him to several nationally sites that are historically significant and each one is an authentic treasure. It is a collection of churches, museums, meeting houses, graveyards, parks and a ship telling the history of the American Revolution and even beyond.
Visitors are professionally guided by 18th-century costumed players adding color of reality explaining and telling historical facts and tales about high treason, revolutionary actions, mob agitations and partisan fights pertaining to the American Revolution. One can choose an audio guide to move independently as well. Boston itself is the Hub of culture tradition and science as well as diversity while good thing is that everything remains within easy reach. Boston boasts about these revolutionary and historical sites while the place houses innovative research labs, art museums, fun-filled restaurants.
Best way to walk and visit and to check visit timings for each place before hand from the management office and plan the trip accordingly. Online brochure is available (http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/pdfs/Freedom%20Trail%20Foundation%20Official%20Brochu re%202015.pdf)
while it is also possible to download a smartphone app too (http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/book-tour/smart-phone.shtml)
Massachusetts State House
Charles Bulfinch had originally designed Massachusetts State House while the “new” State House could be in January, 1798. The golden dome was originally made of wood and Paul Revere finely overlaid the dome with copper. Then in 1874, the dome was covered majestically with gold leaf of 23-karat. The 6.7 acres of land of the State House was used as pasture of John Hancock’s cows too. Now the State House is among the oldest buildings at Beacon Hill. The golden dome is the place where the governor, state representatives and senators used to conduct their daily business for the Commonwealth.
Boston Common Boston Common is the oldest public park in America. People used the place for their cattle and sheep common grazing ground. It was 16th century when the land purchased by all people of the area contributing six shillings each as the area elders assessed for these 44 acres of land. It was kep. open and common for cattle grazing. To fine tune the use of land, they decided that grazing one cow will be equal to grazing four sheep. When British occupied Boston, the land was used as a training field for their militia too. The place had also seen several public oratory gatherings including speeches from Martin Luther King spoke and Pope John Paul II. Several punishments to criminals were awarded in public on the same spot. These days the place is used for several public performances and concerts.
Park Street Church
The majestic church building has a 217-foot tall steeple founded in 1809. The steeple was once a land mark for travellers visiting Boston mesmerized by its lofty architecture and grandeur was designed by Peter Banner. The church has invigorated several reforms and movements for social justice, human rights and prison reforms in past that gave birth to today’s American society. Basement of the church once housed brimstone used during the 1812 war for gun power.
With this background the place is also known as “Brimstone Corner” In 1831 famous “America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee), was first sung here on independence day. The church is also a source for founding several organizations like National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Handel and Haydn Society, Animal Rescue League of Boston and National Association of Evangelicals.
Granary Burying Ground
This is the burial place for several notables like John Hancock, parents of Benjamin Franklin and some Revolutionary heroes like Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, James Otis, Boston Massacre five victims as well as Peter Faneuil. There is mismatch of figures between the markers and the people buried here. There are 2,345 markers but history counts at least 5,000 people buried here together with 400 children laid in the Infants Tomb. Stories say that headstones were expensive and people opted to put several family members under a single headstone.
King’s Chapel and its Burying Ground
The Chapel was founded in 1688 happens to be the first non-Puritan church and that is also considered to be the first Unitarian Church in America. The church has the oldest American pulpit used continuously. The architect, Peter Harrison had designed this stone structure and completed in 1754. Its interior is magnificent and considered to be among the finest architectural examples of Georgian church in North America.
It was Paul Revere who had crafted the King’sChapel bell weighing 2,347 pounds in 1816, as he proclaimed it to be the “sweetest sounding” created by him. During the American Revolution, King’s Chapel members had fled to Canada, and the church was re-named as “Stone Chapel”. In 1785, King’s Chapel turned Unitarian under James Freeman’s ministry and he was the person to revise the prayer book while the same is now in use at regular services as per Unitarian theology. This church follows its own Anglican or Unitarian hybrid liturgy as of today too
Just adjacent to the Chapel, there is Burying Ground that was Boston proper’s the burying place for almost 30 years. Famous personalities like John Winthrop who happened to be Massachusetts’ first governor, and Mary Chilton who was the first lady to step off the Mayflower are resting here.
Benjamin Franklin Statue and Boston Latin School Site
This is America’s starting public school for boys of every group-– rich or poor offered free education but some of girls used to get education privately at their homes. It was as late as 1972 when “boys-only” tradition ended and girls started attending Boston Latin. There is a beautiful mosaic reminds the place of that school. Among its famous students was Benjamin Franklin who attended classes for short period and then dropped out permanently. The school is still working within Boston’s Fenway neighborhood.
Old Corner Bookstore
The old book store and a home was built in 1718 as a medicine supply shop at the corner of Washington Streets and the School. It was American center for book publishing till mid-1800s when Boston used to center of literary activities in America. Several famous book of that time were published from this place. Including the magazine named The Atlantic Monthly. Its first floor housed several book stores operating from its first floor during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Old State House
The building remained the icon of liberty for 300 years at Boston’s historic center housing the local government dominating civic life in early days of Massachusetts. The place is witness to several important events in American Revolution. In 1761, James Otis had railed against the famous Writs of Assistance in his fiery speech igniting the colonists’ rebellion. Then in 1768, House of Representatives of the colony defied their royal governor and also refused to withdraw their call for a joint resistance to British taxes.
British officials then dissolved their legislature and also dispatched two army regiments for occupying Boston. This was the reason that not even ten years passed in 1776, the famous Declaration of Independence was read to Boston people of Boston from the balcony of this building. This made the place center for a new government belonging to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The place revives history and invigorates the sense of being a Revolutionary through special events and exhibits together with live performances and fun activities giving the visitors the unique opportunity to occupy the chair of the Royal Governor.
Boston Massacre Spot
The spot remembers March 5, 1770, when a deadly skirmish had erupted between those nine British “redcoats” and quite a large group of people from local residents of Boston. People were furious upon occupying the town by British forces. Local and lone sentry standing outside the Custom House became the target and people threw ice and shouted hard words. In response to the attack, British soldiers reached the spot to control the situation. The crowd turned into a mob, and the British soldiers started firing that resulted in killing five of the present Bostonians. This created much stir against British an dthose soldiers were tried for murdering. A young Bostonian lawyer John Adams defended the soldiers as he was loyal for providing justice as well as he was a patriot to the cause as well.
This is an icon for “Free Speech” and “the Cradle of Liberty”. It was center for several public gatherings. A wealthy merchant named Peter Faneuil had purchased the building in 1741. The place was named as Faneuil Hall serving an open forum as well as a marketplace for more than 270 years and that has continued providing a platform for debate on important issues o fthe time. Its first floor was a marketplace used by locals selling their goods. These days, Boston National Historical Park is operating the place.
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
The graveyard is the resting place for several merchants, craft people and artisans living in North End. Some of these notables buried here are among the fire-and-brimstone preachers Several of free African-Americans are also buried in potter’s field along the Charter Street side of this site. Since the place is on high altitude, British had used this vantage point for training of their cannons during the Bunker Hill Battle.
This is one of America’s ships that was launched in 1797 in Boston having a nick name as “Old Ironsides”. The nickname came during the War of 1812 while fighting against the British frigate named HMS Guerriere. People saw that cannonballs that were fired at USS Constitution looked like bouncing back. This caused the remarks that her sides are made of iron Basically the hull of USS Constitution had a three- layer wooden sandwich comprising of live oak as well as white oak. That is why, today, after 217 years have passed this US navy warship remains commissioned warship. However the ship is relocated to Dry Dock 1 situated in Charlestown Navy Yard leading to a three-year restoration period. This is the period when visitors will have the opportunity to see the entire hull of the ship out of water. This has copper plating as well as keel comprising of wood originally used for its construction from year 1795 to1797.
USS Constitution Museum
The USS Constitution Museum is very close to the USS Constitution. The museum is well equipped to let the visitors not only know more and more about history but also feel those days at sea 200 years ago. It has wonderful exhhibitions to tell how Old Ironside used to operate and how that remained undefeated since 1797. It is all a unique experience worth the time who visit Boston to know more about the American Revolution.
Bunker Hill Monument
This is the monument of the war fought on this place June 17, 1775. That is when colonial forces firmly stood against British army. This 221-foot granite obelisk denoting the war site of the American Revolution. Do not miss to cross the road to visit the exhibits at Bunker Hill Museum telling the rare stories of that battle as well as the monument.