When you think of a national park site, you may think of an untouched wilderness in the middle of nowhere. But did you know that a national park site can be in the middle of a major city? It can! The Freedom Trail is a historic trail that runs through downtown Boston, Massachusetts, and goes by spots where important moments in history took place. You can see things from graves of famous people to a Revolutionary War battlefield!
The start of the Freedom Trail is at Boston Common. You may be wondering why a simple park is on a historic trail. But Boston Common is not any simple park, it is the nation’s oldest public park! This location was where cattle one grazed and British soldiers once camped.
Across from Boston Common is the State House. It is like a capital building but is called a state house (Boston is the capital of Massachusetts). Paul Revere and Samuel Adams laid the cornerstone of the State House in 1795.
As you keep going on the trail, you will soon pass Granary Burial Ground. Many famous patriots such as John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere are buried here. Some other people buried here are the victims of the Boston Massacre.
Further down the trail is a statue of Benjamin Franklin. This is the site of the Latin School, the first public school in America. John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Ben Franklin all went to the Latin School. It’s first schoolhouse was built in 1635.
A ways away from the First Public School Site is the Old Corner Bookstore. It was built in 1718 and was originally an apothecary. Here, authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Louisa Alcott, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Nathaniel Hawthorne brought their books to be published.
Nearby the Old Corner Bookstore is the Old South Meeting House. It was built in 1729 and was the largest building in colonial Boston. Many meetings of protest against British taxes were held here, including one in 1773 that led to the Boston Tea Party.
The Old State House was built in 1713 and was the colonial and state governments. Outside of the Old State House is the site of the Boston Massacre. In 1770, British Soldiers fired on a crowd of Bostonians; five people were killed. They are buried at Granary Burial Ground.
As you continue on the Freedom Trail, you will see a big fancy building. It is known as Faneuil Hall. It was built in 1742. Town meeting were held here between 1764 and 1774. Patriots like Samuel Adams lead cries of protest against British taxes here. The building was enlarged in 1806. Fredrick Douglass and others brought their struggles for freedom here in the 1800s as well.
A long walk away from Faneuil Hall is Boston’s oldest neighborhood, the North End, which includes the Paul Revere House, Boston’s oldest residence. It was built in 1680. Paul Revere lived here from 1770 to 1800. After that, it was a cigar factory, a bank, and many other things. It was restored in 1908 by the Paul Revere Memorial Association.
Far from the Paul Revere House is the Old North Church. Built in 1723, it is Boston’s oldest church building and is still used today! Old North Church was in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” On April 18, 1775, two lanterns were hung in the steeple to warn Charlestown patriots that British soldiers were coming.
Across the Charles River in Charlestown is Bunker Hill Monument. This 221-foot-tall obelisk marks the spot of the Battle of Bunker Hill, even though the hill is actually named Breed’s Hill. The Battle of Bunker Hill was the first major battle of the American Revolution. Even though the British won the battle, the British lost more troops and just gained two hills. You can climb up the obelisk and see a great view from the top! A museum across the street has exhibits about the monument, the community, and the battle.
The last stop on the Freedom Trail in Charlestown Navy Yard. After the American Revolution, the citizens wanted to protect their freedom and independence by forming a navy. From 1800 to 1974, Charlestown Navy Yard built, repaired, and outfitted US Navy vessels. Today, the yard houses a world landmark, the USS Constitution. The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Also in Charlestown Navy Yard is the USS Cassin Young. The USS Cassin Young is a US Naval Destroyer that fought in World War Two. It represents the type of ships built here during World War Two. Right next to the USS Constitution is the USS Constitution Museum. You can learn about the history of the history of the USS Constitution and Charlestown Navy Yard. When I went there, we got to play around with the anti-aircraft guns on the Cassin Young!
If you are trying to walk the Freedom Trail, you might think it would be hard to know where to go. Luckily, there is a solution! There is a red brick line in the sidewalk that marks the Freedom Trail and signs at all the stops.
Wherever you are in the United States, history is all around you. Even in the middle of downtown Boston, you find history. Boston is about 23 hours away from North Oaks by car but is only 2–3 hours away by plane. I suggest that you fly to Boston and make it a weekend trip. Or you could take a road trip out east and see other places! Out of all the cities in America, Boston may be the most historical of them all, and that is because of the Freedom Trail!
Source: The National Park Service