The Boston Freedom Trail
While in Boston don’t miss the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile, brick-lined route that leads you to 16 historically significant sites. Explore museums and meetinghouses, churches, and burying grounds. Learn about the brave people who shaped America. Discover the rich history of the American Revolution, as it began in Boston, where every step tells a story. View the official Freedom Trail website.
A few of the well-known stops on the Freedom Trail include:
- The Boston Common
Established in 1634, Boston Common is America’s oldest public park. Puritan colonists purchased the land rights to the Common’s 44 acres from the first settler of the area, Anglican minister William Blackstone. The price was 30 pounds, and each homeowner paid him six shillings. The pasture then became known as the Common Land and was used to graze local livestock until 1830. A town shepherd was paid two shillings and sixpence per head of cowe to tend townspeople’s livestock.
- Benjamin Franklin Statue & Boston Latin School
Boston Latin School, founded on April 13, 1635, was the first public school in Boston, and the oldest public school in the country. Until the completion of the schoolhouse, classes were held in the home of the first headmaster, Philemen Pormont. On School Street a mosaic and a statue of noted alumnus Benjamin Franklin marks the location of the original Boston Latin schoolhouse, which was completed in 1645. Four signers of the Declaration of Independence attended Boston Latin: Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine. But of the four, only three graduated. Ben Franklin, though one of America’s greatest minds, is also one of its most notable high school dropouts. Marking the association, the statue of Franklin, sculpted by Richard Saltonstall Greenough in 1856, is installed in front of the building.
- Old South Meeting House
Old South Meeting House, on the Freedom Trail, was not a church, but rather a meeting house for Puritan worship. Built in 1729 as a Puritan meeting house, Old South Meeting House was the stage for some of the most dramatic events leading up to the American Revolution. None was more important than a meeting that occurred on December 16, 1773. Over 30 tons of taxable tea sat in the holds of three ships, the Dartmouth, Eleanor, and Beaver, moored at Griffin’s Wharf. Not wanting to pay the onerous duty, thousands of Bostonians crowded into Old South Meeting House to take part in a heated discussion of what was to be done with the tea. After the failure of a final attempt to have the tea sent back to England, Samuel Adams addressed the crowd saying, “Gentlemen, this meeting can do nothing more to save the country.” These words were rumored to be a secret signal to the Sons of Liberty. Cries of Boston Harbour—a tea pot tonight were heard throughout the hall, and men disguised as mohawk Indians marched down to Griffin’s Wharf to witness the fateful destruction of 340 crates of tea. It became known as the Boston Tea Party and set that stage for American history.
View the Freedom Trail map below or download a printable map in PDF.