Boston is one of the most historical cities in the U.S. and it is packed with places to see that sparked the Revolutionary War.
Fanueil Hall is the place where disgruntled patriots, known as the Sons of Liberty, met most of the time to voice their grievances against the crown. Among the regulars were names that have become synonymous with freedom – John Hancock, Samuel and John Adams, and Paul Revere. The first tea meeting was held here on November 5, 1773, leading to the party against the “baneful weed.”
Fanueil Hall is bordered by the financial district, the waterfront, the North End, Government Center and Haymarket.
The Old State House, also known as Boston’s “Towne House”, is located nearby and dates to 1713. The center of political life and debate, it was occupied by many leaders who were loyal to the crown. It became a continuous reminder to Bostonians that Great Britain dominated the colony.
Outside the building is the spot where the Boston Massacre occurred on the snowy night of March 5, 1770. Six years later, on July 18, citizens gathered in the same street to hear the Declaration of Independence read from the building’s balcony.
The Old North Church, known as “Christ Church in the City of Boston”, is an Episcopal house of worship in the North End that was built during 1723. It is Boston’s oldest church building. From the original tower (blown down years later during a hurricane), the lanterns were lit that spurred Paul Revere to begin his ride to warn the countryside that British troops were on the march.
Revere, though, wasn’t the only rider that night who was on duty to spread the alarm. Two other riders also have been identified – Dr. Samuel Prescott and William Dawes – but many others who remain anonymous also rode that night along roads that fanned out from Boston to reach destinations in neighboring states many days later.
Anyone interested in the comprehensive story about this intriguing part of American history should read Paul Revere’s Ride by David Hackett Fischer (copyright 1994, Oxford University Press).
The church is open regularly for tours. A statue of Revere mounted on his steed commemorates the ride and is located on the grounds.
The Paul Revere House is a few streets away. Built around 1680, it was occupied by the family from 1770. Throughout the 19th century, Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants lived in the house before it was restored and converted to a museum.
Troop Movements and Battle Site
Boston Common is the oldest park in the country. British troops camped here and left from these camps to face the colonial resistance at Lexington and Concord. At the time, they had no idea that Revere and others were watching their movements so they could warn the countryside.
Boston’s major battle during the Revolution was fought at Bunker Hill. Actually, it was fought on nearby Breed’s Hill, with the colonials retreating to Bunker Hill. The battle is commemorated with a huge obelisk and a diagram of the events that occurred there on June 17, 1775. Imagination is needed to “see” the battle. The fields where the fighting occurred and that once sloped to the harbor have been consumed by a residential neighborhood.
Boston and the towns surrounding the city are filled with Revolutionary history. Future posts will provide information about some of the popular sites along with details on how to find the hidden history in the area.
[Image: Mike Virgintino]