Freedom Trail

Freedom-Trail-8The Freedom Trail is a red (mostly brick) path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts, that leads to 16 significant historic sites. It is a 2.5-mile walk from Boston Common to USS Constitution in Charlestown. Simple ground markers explaining events, graveyards, notable churches and other buildings, and a historic naval frigate are stops along the way. Most sites are free; Old South Meeting House, Old State House, and Paul Revere House have small admission fees; still others suggest donations. The Freedom Trail is a unit of Boston National Historical Park and is overseen by The Freedom Trail Foundation and the City of Boston’s “Freedom Trail Commission.”

The trail was originally conceived by local journalist William Schofield, who since 1951 had promoted the idea of a pedestrian trail to link together important local landmarks. John Hynes, the mayor of Boston, decided to put Schofield’s idea into action. By 1953, 40,000 people annually were enjoying the sites and history on the Freedom Trail.

In 1974, Boston National Historical Park was established. The National Park Service opened a Visitor Center on State Street, where they give free maps of the Freedom Trail and other historic sites, as well as sell books about Boston and US history. Today, people walk on the red path of the Freedom Trail to learn about important events as the people worked to gain independence from Great Britain.

Some observers have noted the tendency of the Freedom Trail’s narrative frame to omit important historical elements, such as the site of the Tea Party or the site of the Liberty Tree.

Official Trail Sites:

  1. Boston Common
  2. Massachusetts State House
  3. Park Street Church
  4. Granary Burying Ground
  5. King’s Chapel
  6. King’s Chapel Burying Ground
  7. Benjamin Franklin statue and former site of the first public school, Boston Latin School
  8. Old Corner Bookstore
  9. Old South Meeting House
  10. Old State House
  11. Site of the Boston Massacre
  12. Faneuil Hall
  13. Paul Revere House
  14. Old North Church
  15. Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
  16. Bunker Hill Monument
  17. USS Constitution

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