I’m glad you came back for this second part of the virtual Freedom Trail tour. If you are interested in the answer to yesterday’s trivia question – Which of the four (Franklin, Samuel Adams, Hancock, and Robert Paine) signers of the Declaration of Independence did not graduate from the Boston Latin School? – the answer is Benjamin Franklin! Amazing isn’t it? Ok, now onto the tour. Yesterday we left off at the Old Corner Bookstore, let’s pick up from there. The Old South Meeting House is a stop you won’t want to miss. Many of the early revolutionary events started here or occurred here in some capacity - most notably the precursor to the Boston Tea Party. Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and other members of the Sons of Liberty frequently met here. And did you know that the effort to preserve this landmark was one of the first historic landmark efforts in New England?
Now, we saw the New State House near the beginning of our trip, now let’s check out the Old State House. Now serving as a museum, this was once the center or political activities in Boston – from the British before the Revolution to the new government after it. Many great artifacts are currently housed in this museum – including some of Paul Revere’s silver creations. You will need a ticket to enter this museum. Outside of its doors the Boston Massacre took place – and you can visit the commemoration there too (though it doesn’t look like much). In case you didn’t know, Paul Revere engraved the famous illustration of the Boston Massacre that everyone knows about.
Now our next stop, I have actually been to…Faneuil Hall. The first floor was used for shops, and that is still what it is used for today. You can walk though the shops and score some wonderful finds. It was used to hold some heated debates prior to the Revolution. It is quite a walk before we encounter our next destination so feel free to take a look at some of the gorgeous architecture and sample some of the local treats. We have now arrived at the oldest building in Boston, and it happens to be the home of one of our great heroes…Paul Revere. Just a simple wooden house, nothing flashy, it served as the home for Revere and his large family. This is the house that Revere departed from on his famous ride and you can learn more about this historic figure inside his home – which serves as a museum.
The Old North Church is just around the corner and it too holds a special place in American History. This is the famous church of the “One if by Land, Two if by Sea” fame. Two lanterns were hung here to let the people of Charlestown know that the British were indeed advancing by sea. This church is still an active church, so keep that in mind while you are visiting.
For our final burial ground stop, we will visit the largest burying ground in Boston, one that was used for merchants and the working class. Although this is mostly a place where regular North Enders rested for eternity – in Copp's Hill Burying Ground you will find Increase and Cotton Mather – you might recognize those names from the Salem Witch Trials. This area was also very active during the Revolution, particularly the Battle of Bunker Hill – which is precisely where we will head to next – another long trek across the river. See you there!
Bunker Hill is the site of one of the first major battles in the Revolution. It was ultimately a loss for the young rebels but they proved that they were not going to just sit back and take what was being handed to them. A great obelisk is erected on the site in commemoration and was started by war hero the Marquis de Lafayette. There is also a museum at the site where you can take a look at some of the artifacts from the war.
Now we will head to our final destination on this tour as we head back to the harbor. The USS Constitution is the oldest afloat warship and it is still manned by military personnel. This ship was active during the War of 1812 and would you believe that in 1997 is got underway once more to celebrate its 200th anniversary. And wouldn’t you know it, our man Paul Revere constructed the copper fasteners that are used on this ship – he was everywhere!
I hope you all have learned a lot about the significant role that Boston played during the American Revolution and had fun along the way. I also hope you have learned a little bit about Paul Revere and stay tuned for my review of Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel L. Miller tomorrow.
*If you happen to be planning a trip to walk the Freedom Trail - please visit EveryTrail for a detailed source of information - photos, info, maps, etc*
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