Freedom Trail

Boston Freedom Trail

Boston is perhaps the most important city in the story of the war for independence from the British. Here, Samual Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere and others planted the seeds of the revolution that would change the world.

Many of the original buildings that featured so prominently in the story have long gone, some have been rebuilt, but most were destroyed in a series of fires, the greatest in 1711 & 1760. Nevertheless there is still much to see here, and the Freedom Trail is an excellent way of seeing it.

So what is the Freedom Trail? It's a red line embedded in the centre of the pavement (sidewalk) that traces a route through the city passing by all the important landmarks relating to the battle for independence. (See picture above: the Freedom Trail insignia appears frequently along the route, and you can see the red bricks top and bottom). Most of the time the trail is a double row of red bricks, but in some cases it is just a painted line. It is a very clever idea though. We used it not only as a way to see all the major sights, but it was also a very convenient way of finding your way around the city, and (most importantly) back again.

The Route

The trail starts on Boston Common, right outside the visitor centre. Walk across the common to the State House with its magnificent Golden dome. Originally the dome was white shingle, then in 1802 Paul Revere had the dome re-faced in copper, but it was replaced with 24 carat gold in 1874, just in time for the 1876 one-hundred years celebration of independence. The State House was very much a symbol of the new-found independence. The old state house was abandoned as it represented the old colonial days.

Next is Park Street Church, built in 1809 as Boston started to rebuild itself. The Granary Burying Ground was the destination for many of the early casualties of the war, including the five killed in the Boston Massacre. General Joseph Warren, killed in the battle of Bunker Hill, was originally buried on the field but was moved here in 1776. King's Chapel was built by Governor Sir Edmund Andros on behalf of King James II. It was built in 1686, partly over an old burial ground.

Boston State House.

In another first, Boston founded America's first public school in 1635. The wooden building was demolished by the Governor, but in 1749 a new brick building (The Latin School) was erected. Sadly this too was demolished and since 1844 the site has been marked by a statue of Benjamin Franklin, who briefly attended the school. The Old Corner Bookstore is next, then the Old South Meeting House. It was here that many of the revolutionary meetings were held, and where on 16th December 1773 Samual Adams triggered the famous Boston Tea Party.

Old Boston House.

The Old State House looks a little out of place amongst the tall, modern buildings of Boston's financial district. It was the seat of British government from 1713 to 1776, and today retains many original features including the Royal Lion and Unicorn. Below the balcony a circle of cobbles marks the site of the Boston Massacre

Fanueil Hall is today a visitor centre and bookshop in front of Quincy Market. In 1742, Peter Faneuil, a wealthy merchant, built the two storey public market. It became a regular meeting place for the independence fighters because of its size and it thus earned the nickname 'Cradle of Liberty'.

Fanueil Hall

Paul Revere's House is one of the only original buildings standing, and dates back to 1681. It was from here that Paul Revere famously made the ride in 1775 to warn that the British were coming to capture Samual Adams and John Hancock. The Old North Church is famed for being the place where lanterns warning of the British arrival were hung, and a magnificent status of Paul Revere is in the grounds. Copp's Hill Burial Ground is the second burial ground and final resting place of many famous figures including Edmund Hartt, builder of the USS Constitution.

By now we've walked several kilometres, and the next part of the journey is rather long as we cross the river to reach the USS Constitution , the oldest warship afloat and nicknamed 'old ironsides' for her ability to resist British Cannonballs. Our final walk along the Freedom Trail takes us to CharlesTown and Bunker Hill (below centre). This monument to the Battle of the same name in 1775. Here, the British defeated the Americans, but the British loss 1,000 men killed and wounded boosted morale amongst the Americans and marked a turning point.

Our walk along the trail is now complete, and so we walk back the way we came. Pause a moment though in CharlesTown, a beautiful place with pretty gardens and buildings.


The Old Meeting House The Old State House Paul Reveres House The Old North Church Paul Reveres Statue Copps Hill Burial Ground Burial Ground Map The USS Constituition Bunker Hill The Trail Map John Adams Quincy Market

Boston Movie Tour

Movie Tour

Matt Damon fans may already know the vast numnber of his movies that have been filmed on location in Boston. Not only his of course, but many other major stars have filmed here. The tour is a great way to see the City by bus and partly on foot.

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