Any history lovers out there? Boston is your city. It has buildings that date back to pre-revolutionary times and many of them have seen some pretty incredible moments in history. Most of these particular locations can be found on the Freedom Trail but I’ve highlighted a few in particular that are notable on their own. Boston is full of incredible history and historical sites so please do not stop at this list while you’re planning a visit. There’s so much, it’s impossible to include everything in one single post.
The Freedom Trail is a convenient group of historical sites that spans over a 2.5 mile route. It consists of sixteen sites history lovers will want to see while visiting Boston. Being a creature of convenience myself, I love the Freedom Trail because it allows you to cram a lot of sites in a morning or afternoon. It’s also flexible by allowing you to tour on your own or sign up for a walking tour. Stops on the trail include the Boston Common, Massachusetts State House, Park Street Church, Granary Burying Ground, King’s Chapel, King’s Chapel Burying Ground, Benjamin Franklin Statue & Boston Latin School, Old Corner Book Store, Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Site of Boston Massacre, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, Old North Church, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, Bunker Hill Monument and USS Constitution.
Granary Burial Ground
Part of the Freedom Trail, the Granary Burial Ground was so extraordinary to experience that I felt it necessary to share an entire feature post discussing it (coming soon). I have a penchant for visiting cemeteries when I travel. Pere Lachaise took up almost an entire day in Paris for me. It was surreal being in the presence of minds like Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Colette and Chopin. It was a similar experience visiting the Granary. It’s home to the grave of Paul Revere and although there is now a beautiful monument, you can also see his original headstone, small and insignificant at first glance but powerful and goosebump-inducing once you come to terms with exactly what is in front of you. It’s also home to Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin’s parents and other notable people who fought during Revolutionary times.
Not exactly in Boston, Longfellow House is right over the river in Cambridge. I managed to luck out and book a tour on the last day the house was open for the season. Longfellow House-Washington’s National Headquarters is a National Historic Site and for good reason. Constructed in 1759, the house has been home to many notable owners including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and George Washington. Many strategies and conversations were had in the parlor with the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and other leaders of the time. It later became the home of the poet, Longfellow, who raised his family as well as hosted visitors like Charles Dickens and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The house is gorgeous, I wish I could share photos of the inside. It’s been beautifully preserved. I recommend a tour to experience it to the fullest and learn about the history.
Nichols House Museum
The Nichols House Museum is a popular spot for visitors interested in history. I did not personally tour this home but you can expect to find a perfectly preserved rendition of life at the turn of the century. Experience what it was like to be in the American upper class circa 1890-1910. You will undoubtedly be astonished.
Old North Church
Located in the North End, the Old North Church is associated with Paul Revere’s midnight ride. It is the oldest standing church building in Boston, erected in 1723. The story of Old North Church is tied to Paul Revere. Two men in the church held lanterns to warn the patriots of approaching British troops, directions given by Revere. “One if by land, and two if by sea,” a line made famous by Longfellow in his poem “Paul Revere’s Ride.” If one lantern flashed, it warned the patriots the redcoats were coming via land - two via water.* Old North Church is another one of the 16 sites on the Freedom Trail.
Park Street Church
Park Street Church is another stop on the Freedom Trail but not associated with the Revolutionary War. Established in 1809, Park Street is known for having a large role in social justice and human rights. It has been involved in several progressive movements including prison reform, women’s suffrage, education and anti-slavery. It’s known for creating one of the first Sunday School programs which had the intention of teaching children who were not in school so they could work for their families how to read. Many speeches were made at Park Street publicly criticizing and denouncing slavery.*
Paul Revere House
Tip for the first-timer, Paul Revere House can only be toured with cash. So make sure to bring some when you visit. It’s also not particularly easy to find. Tucked away in the North End neighborhood, once you turn the appropriate corner, you’ll notice it right away since it’s old construction stands out among everything around it. The Paul Revere House is exactly what it sounds like, the home of Paul Revere during the Revolutionary era. It’s a very old colonial home preserved to represent what it would have looked like while the Revere family lived there. It’s one of Boston’s oldest buildings and only one of a few remaining 17th-century homes in an urban area. The house has been through quite a bit in the last few hundred years but in the early 20th century, Paul Revere’s great-grandson purchased it back and raised money to preserve its history which made it one of the earliest historical house museums in America.*