Occasional Traveler

A collection of my thoughts and photos on travel.

The Freedom Trail

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August 1, 2009 | On the second (full) day of our Boston trip, we followed the Freedom Trail to visit some of the historic sites of the city.   We started at the first stop on the trail, the Boston Common.  I purchased the Official Guidebook published by the Freedom Trail Foundation at the visitor center and we were on our way!

Interesting Fact: Boston Common is America’s oldest public park!

We had planned on going for a Swan Boats ride in Boston Common but there was a huge line so we skipped it and moved on.  Next was the Massachusetts State House, sitting on the edge of the park.  You can’t really miss this building– the golden dome on top glistened in the sun!  We couldn’t go in so we just snapped a few shots and walked on.   (I didn’t bring my wide angle lens so my shots were a little limited! Doh.) 

Interesting Fact: The land for the building was originally used as John Hancock’s cow pasture.

We moved on to the third stop, Park Street Church.  We didn’t go in this one either though I can’t remember why.

Interesting Fact: A young William Lloyd Garrison delivered his first major public Abolition speech on July 4, 1829 at this church.

Walking down Park Street, we came upon The Granary Burying Ground, where many famous historic figures are buried, such as John Hancock, Paul Revere, James Adams, and Robert Treat Paine.

Interesting Fact: The monument seen above for Paul Revere is not from the original burial.  Click here to see the small slate marker that dates from Revere’s burial (next to the one above).

Next was another church and burying ground, King’s Chapel and Burying Ground.  The burying ground was Boston proper’s only burying place for nearly 30 years.  Its residents include John Winthrop, Massachusetts’ first Governor, the family tombstone shown below.

Interesting Fact:  In 1749 when the building was too small for the congregation, the church stone structure was built around the original wood church, which was then dissembled and thrown piece by piece out the windows of the new construction.

Our next stop was the Boston Latin School, America’s oldest public school founded on April 13, 1635.  Four signers of the declaration attended Boston Latin: Benjamin Franklin, Sameul Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine.  The school was torn down and moved in 1745.  A statue of Benjamin Franklin marks the location of the original schoolhouse.  I didn’t get very good shots of the statue but I did get some shots of the Old City Hall that sits behind the statue!

Interesting Fact: Benjamin Franklin is one of Boston Latin’s most notable high school dropouts!

Next was the Old Corner Bookstore, but it just didn’t seem as picture-worthy since it’s now a jewelry store.  It did once produce the works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, to name a few!

We moved on to the Old South Meeting House, famous for the meetings that led to the Boston Tea Party.  I bought a ticket to check out the museum inside, but photography was prohibited. =(

The Old State House was the seat of British Government before the Revolution, and afterward served as the Commonwealth’s first capital building, with the office of the state’s first governor, John Hancock.   It’s now a museum, which, honestly, was not really as interesting to me.

Interesting Fact: Just outside the doors of the Old State House, the Boston Massacre unfolded in 1770, resulting in the deaths of five men and galvanizing public opposition to British authority.

It was at Faneuil Hall in 1764 that Americans first protested against the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act, setting the doctrine that would come to be known as ‘no taxation without representation.’  The building now holds shops on the first floor along with a Post Office.

At this time, Jen and I split up, as I went to the North End for lunch and continued the Freedom Trail.

The Paul Revere House was purchased by Paul Rever in 1770 with 53 pounds, 6 shillings and 8 pence with a mortage of 160 pounds.

Interesting Fact: Revere had a total of 16 children (and 2 wives)!

Inside the courtyard of the Paul Revere House was this lady playing the glass harmonica, one of Benjamin Franklin’s inventions.  I had seen her flyers around and actually saw her performing again at Cambridge the next day!

Standing in James Rego Square (Paul Revere Mall) is a statue of Paul Revere on a horse.

Just behind (or in front of?) James Rego Square was Old North Church.  On April 18, 1775, the church sexton, Robert Newman, climbed the steeple and held high two lantern as a signal from Paul Revere that the British were marching to Lexington and Cord by sea and not by land.  Sound familiar? And this ignited the American Revolution…

Next was Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, where Robert Newman was buried, best known for placing the signal lanterns in the steeple of the “Old North” Church on the eve of the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

I made my way to…and took a boat ride to the Charleston Navy Yard and walked to USS Constitution.

It was getting close to closing time so I first made my way through the USS Constitution Museum before moving on to the ship tour.   I’ve visited the USS Texas, USS Alabama, USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri, and USS Bowfin Submarine, so I was excited to see the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world!

I made the final hike up to Bunker Hill Monument.  The monument is located on a hill and provides a nice view of the city!  A state of Colonial William Prescott stands in front of the monument.  The 221-foot granite obelisk marks the first major battle in the American Revolution, the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Interesting Fact: The monument is actually located on Breed Hill! The battle was fought on Breed Hill but many mistakenly thought it was Bunker Hill.  Bunker Hill is located to the north of Breed Hill.

All in all it was a long and tiring day.  It was also incredibly hot, haha.  While it was interesting to (re)learn history, I bet this would have been even more fascinating a decade or so ago when I actually learned about all this stuff in class!  Still, I feel like it was good to see the sites and appreciate the historical significance of it all.

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Written by Jessica

November 5, 2009 at 12:25 AM

Posted in Boston, photography, travel

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. i thought i commented on this blog post but i was mistaken!

    i wish i could find my touristy pictures from my first trip to boston when i went to a handful of these places

    and! this is the longest blog post i’ve seen you do!

    linda

    November 16, 2009 at 3:24 AM

    • haha, yes, this is the longest blog post I’ve done on this blog! that day i walked the freedom trail was a looooong day (which we ended by watching the latest Harry Potter movie, haha). i used to write long posts with pictures back in the xanga days =P

      Jessica

      November 16, 2009 at 10:48 AM


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