Saturday, September 21, 2013

Boston's Freedom Trail




Boston Common and the Massachusetts State House are good places to begin the Freedom Trail.



Boston is a walking town and there is no better walk to begin with than the Freedom Trail.  It is promoted as "a walk through America's History" and it truly lives up to that promise.  It's not a long walk, about two and half miles, but it does take hours to do because there is much to see and absorb. 


The Freedom Trail is marked in either red brick or red paint.
Begin with a stop at the Boston Common Visitor Information Center and pick up a trail map and brochure. You won't need the map to follow the trail - it's marked by a red line from start to finish that begins just outside the visitor's center - but it will help you identify and understand the significance of the 16 sites that are some of our country's most important historical landmarks. 




While not officially on the Freedom Trail the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial is
a stop on the Black Heritage Trail.  Located at Boston Common across from the
Massachusetts State House it is a moving work worth seeing.



The Granary Burying Ground is Boston's third oldest burying ground.
John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere are but a few
of the many historic figures laid to rest here.



The King's Chapel was constructed in 1688.  Families of means purchased individual pew boxes
while slaves sat in the rear gallery and condemned prisoners sat on benches to the right for a last
sermon before hanging on Boston Common.  Next to the chapel is the oldest burying ground in
Boston where Mary Chilton, believed to be the first woman to step off of the Mayflower, rests.  



Old City Hall sits on the site of Boston's Latin School, the first
public school in America founded in 1635.
The school continues to operate but at another location.



Benjamin Franklin was a pupil at the Latin School
along with John Hancock, Samuel Adams
and Ralph Waldo Emerson.




Faneuil Hall, a gift from Boston merchant Peter Faneuil in 1742, was a meeting hall and open
air market for early Bostonians.  Patriots met here to debate and rally against the Sugar Act,
the Stamp Act and the landing of British troops. The hall became known as the
Cradle of Liberty. After the war, anti-slavery speeches, temperance rallies,
the women's right's movement were all debated at Fanueil Hall. 



Faneuil Hall surrounded by modern day Boston.



No trip to Boston would be complete without a visit to Paul Revere's
house.  Built in 1680 it is Boston's oldest surviving private building.
It was from here that Paul Revere set out for his famous
midnight ride.



The Old North Church towers above Copp's Hill burying ground and
the statue commemorating Paul Revere's ride.  It was from this steeple
that two lanterns were hung on April 18, 1775 signaling the beginning of
Revere's ride - the spark that ignited the American Revolution.




The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in
the world.  She earned her nickname "Old Ironsides" during the war of 1812
when British cannonballs bounced off of her impenetrable hull.



The last stop on the Freedom Trail is the Bunker Hill Monument erected on the
site of the first major battle between the colonists and the British on June 17, 1775.
The 221 foot granite obelisk commemorates the 1400 who died in the battle
and honors the ill-equipped but determined colonists who faced the powerful British Army.


At the end of the trail in Charlestown it is a short ride on the Inner Harbor Ferry
back to Boston Long Wharf.


For information about the Freedom Trail and visiting Boston go to TheFreedomTrail.org and
BostonUSA.com.