Let's join Boston Social Walkers for this fast-pace history walk.
Moderate pace means sort of a fitness walk. You are welcome to attend and drop out when you want, just let a host know so you we won't worry about you.
Also if you walk slowly and there are others who want to walk slowly too, take pictures, etc, that would work, but we can't be held up the slowest walker. Because this is a safe, marked trail, there is no danger if you get left behind (as there is with Blue Hills hikes.)
In case you decide to drop out, print out the map from the link below, so you can finish the walk by yourself or with other walkers who also enjoy a more leisurely pace.
Hosts will stop and point out interesting things along the route. Tim, from Boston Social Walkers will share his knowledge of various sites. Thank you Tim!
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long (4.0 km) red (mostly brick) path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts, that leads to 16 significant historic sites, mostly of the pre-and early-American War for Independence period. It ranges from Boston Common to the USS Constitution in Charlestown and includes Faneuil Hall and the Bunker Hill battle monument Simple ground markers explaining events, graveyards, notable churches and other building, including the Old South Meeting House, Old State House, and Paul Revere House.
We can make the route longer by including the Black Heritage Trail which winds around Beacon Hill. It passes significant schools, institutions, and houses, ranging from the small, cream clapboard residences of Smith Court to the imposing Lewis and Harriet Hayden House. We’ll also include part of the new Walk to the Sea Trail, which basically consists of sites along the Freedom Trail but includes the Custom House, Rose Kennedy Greenway and Long Wharf. It describes the impact of Boston’s topography and maritime history upon its transformation from a hilly peninsula inhabited by the hermit William Blackstone to a world-class city.
This trek should total between five and six miles, but a cold temperature may shorten it. Please note that I don’t plan on touring any of the sites where you need to pay to enter (e.g. the Paul Revere House). Allow for three hours to get to Breeds Hill and back, but remember that this is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on the group. If you need to be somewhere else later in the afternoon, don’t sign up. Please note that this walk is for intermediate level hikers and beginning hikers who keep in fit condition doing other things. You should be in good enough physical condition to keep up with the group going at a moderate pace.
Here is a map of the trail:
Print out the map if you think you can't keep up with the group but still want to start with us. There are sure to be a few others who want to walk at a slower pace and enjoy the scenery or take pictures.
Sorry, no dogs. As always, your safety and enjoyment are your own responsibility.
What we'll see:
THE 16 HISTORIC SITES
1. BOSTON COMMON
The Boston Common is America's first public park. Originally purchased in 1634 as a training field for militia and for the feeding of cattle, it is bordered by Beacon, Charles, Boylston, Tremont and Park Streets. This is the starting point of the Freedom Trail walk.
2. STATE HOUSE
Address: Beacon and Park Streets
Cross the Boston Common to the State House. The new State House, located on Beacon Hill, was designed by Charles Bulfinch. Built in 1795 on the land originally owned by John Hancock, the highly valuable majestic gold dome is 23.5 carat gold leaf, covering the original copper placed there by Paul Revere. The State House is open daily for tours to the public.
3. PARK STREET CHURCH
Address: Park and Tremont Streets
Built in 1809, this church is where the hymn 'America' was first sung on July 4th, 1831 and where William Lloyd Garrison gave the first anti-slavery speech from its balcony.
4. OLD GRANARY BURYING GROUND
Address: Tremont Street, near Park Street
Many notable Patriots are buried here including Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Robert Treat Paine as well as the five men killed in the Boston Massacre. At this site you will also see the graves of Mother Goose, Ben Franklin's parents and many other famous Bostonians.
5. KING'S CHAPEL AND BURYING GROUND
Address: Tremont and School Streets
Continue down School Street to the statue of Benjamin Franklin, which is situated in front of the Old City Hall. King's Chapel and Burying Ground are located in the right corner. This was America's first Anglican Congregation in Boston, founded in 1688. The present structure was built in 1754 during colonial times. The church became the first Unitarian church in America after the American Revolution. Next door is the burying ground where you will find the resting places of the first Governor of Massachusetts, John Winthrop and Mary Chilton, the first woman to step off of the Mayflower ship, as well as William Dawes, Jr. who finished Paul Revere's 'midnight ride'.
6. FIRST PUBLIC SCHOOL SITE
Address: Tremont and School Streets
Located on School Street and marked by a sidewalk plaque, the Latin School is an extension of the First Public School in America. It was attended by Sam Adams and Benjamin Franklin, who was born in Boston. It is also located in front of Old City Hall.
7. GLOBAL CORNER BOOKSTORE
Address: Washington and School Streets
Formerly the Old Corner Bookstore, this building is on the left corner. Originally built in 1712 for Thomas Crease, it is now a contemporary bookstore housing books, maps and globes from around the world. The Global Corner Bookstore was also a meeting place for famous writers such as Longfellow, Emerson, Hawthorne and Oliver Wendell Holmes.
8. OLD SOUTH MEETING HOUSE
Address: Washington and Milk Streets
In front of the building is an excellent flower stand. Built in 1729 as a Congregational Church, it served as city's Town Meeting Hall, famous for the fiery meeting that led to the Boston Tea Party incident, which caused the port to be closed and brought the country a step closer to rebellion.
9. OLD STATE HOUSE
Address: Washington and State Streets
This is opposite the National Park Visitor Center, which has an excellent bookstore and toilet facilities. Built in 1713, this site is where you will find the landmark for the Boston Massacre, which took place on March 5th, 1770 and where five patriots were killed. A circle of cobblestones depict the original site. This was the seat of the British Parliament and later the Colonial Government.
10. BOSTON MASSACRE SITE
Address: Congress and State Street
The Boston Massacre site can be seen from the Old State House balcony where the first reading of the Declaration of Independence was given in July 1776 by John Hancock.
11. FANEUIL HALL AND QUINCY MARKET
Address: Congress Street
Faneuil Hall is on the right and just behind is Quincy Market - a perfect place to stop for lunch. Peter Faneuil dedicated this building to the City of Boston in 1742. Nicknamed the Cradle of Liberty, this building is where many town meetings took place, presidential candidates debated and is where immigrants are sworn in as American citizens. Situated on the third level is the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company Museum. Located out front on Congress Street is the famous statue of Samuel Adams.
12. PAUL REVERE HOUSE
Address: 19 North Square
Originally built around 1680, this is the oldest home remaining in the city and is where Paul Revere lived from 1770 until 1800 with his two wives and sixteen children. Its restoration was completed by the Paul Revere Memorial Association in 1908.
13. OLD NORTH (CHRIST) CHURCH
Address: 193 Salem Street
Originally built in 1723 as a house of prayer for all Bostonians, the Old North is nicknamed 'Christ Church'. In its steeple, Robert Newman hung two lanterns signaling Paul Revere's famous 'midnight ride'. A re-enactment takes place every year on April 19th. There are also excellent views from the top of Hull Street.
14. COPP'S HILL BURYING GROUND
Address: Snowhill Street, between Charter and Hull Streets
The cemetery gates are situated on the right. This cemetery was opened in the 1660s and overlooks Boston Harbor and the Charles River. It was used by the British for target practice before the revolution. From this vantage point, one can see Bunker Hill, Logan Airport and the Ship U.S.S. Constitution.
15. BUNKER HILL MONUMENT
Address: Monument Avenue and High Streets, Charlestown
Sitting at the top of Breed's Hill, the monument offers good views over the navy yard. This obelisk commemorates the first battle of the American Revolution, which was fought here on June 17th, 1775 by 2,000 British soldiers and 1,000 colonials. Take the 294 stairs to the top, ascending 67 meters / 220 feet.
16. USS CONSTITUTION
Address: Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown.
Adjacent is the Constitution Museum, the trail ends here. The U.S.S. Constitution is the oldest commissioned Navy warship in America's fleet. Each year on July 4th she is towed into the harbor for the ceremonial turning of the ship. Built in 1797, she is open to the public. Located next door is the U.S.S. Constitution Museum containing audio-visual programs, model ships, souvenirs and many items of memorabilia from that era. Having never lost a battle in her long career, in 1997 she celebrated her bicentennial.
OTHER INTERESTING TRAILS
BLACK HERITAGE TRAIL
Address: North Slope of Beacon Hill, Boston, 02108
African-Americans in 19th-century Boston is the theme of this walk, operated by the National Park Service, which encompasses many historically significant sites. Visit the Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial honoring the first black regiment to be recruited in the North. Several historic homes can be viewed from the outside. Visitors may also enter the African Meeting House where the New England Anti-Slavery Society was founded. The trail celebrates the history of the local black community between 1800 and 1900, when they settled in this part of Beacon Hill. It passes all the most interesting houses in the area and gives a glimpse of Victorian Boston. It starts at the Shaw Memorial opposite the State House in Beacon Street and ends at George Middleton House. George Middleton was a colonel in the Revolution and commanded an all-black company.
THE BOSTON WATERFRONT TRAIL
Since the founding of Boston, the waterfront has changed out of all recognition. Shipping is now reduced to ferries, sightseeing boats and pleasure craft. Landfill has created a new, modern waterfront with good restaurants, where property is among the most expensive in the city. This walk illustrates some of the changes that have evolved over the centuries. It starts at the Old State House and ends at South Station, which was the biggest railway station in the world when it was completed in 1900.