03 December 2007

The Freedom Trail

Since we were by ourselves over in the midwest/east for Thanksgiving we decided to visit Boston and spend the holiday in Plymouth, MA where the pilgrims first landed.

Our first day there was spent visiting the sites on National Park's the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a two and a half mile red-brick walking path through downtown Boston that leads you to 16 nationally significant historic sites, every one an authentic American treasure.

Here we are at the very beginning of the trail in Boston Common, the oldest city park in the country.

The second stop is the Massachusetts State House which is the state capitol and seat of government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The third stop was Park Street Church which was closed for cleaning or renovations. This was a historically significant church in that gunpowder was stored here during the War of 1812.

The fourth stop is the Granary Burying Ground which is the city's third-oldest cemetery and serves as the final resting place for many notable Revolutionary War-era patriots, including three signers of the Declaration of Independence and the five victims of the Boston Massacre (e.g., Sam Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, and members of Benjamin Franklin's family). The tombstones were bizzare because many of them had skull and crossbones and were thin and flimsy.

The fifth and sixth stops are King's Chapel and the associated burial ground. It is among the oldest member churches of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the first Anglican church in Boston. The burial ground is Boston's oldest burying ground. We did not get to go into the church because they were having a Thanksgiving church service or something. We did get a peek in, but it was just a church building that did not seem all that interesting.

The seventh stop is the Benjamin Franklin statue and site of the first public school, Boston Latin School. We have no pictures of this and we could not find the school.

The eighth stop is the Old Corner Bookstore which was the gathering place of famous authors of history such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. We have no pictures of this either and we did not go in.

The ninth stop is the Old South Meeting House which was the organizing point for the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773. This was the first site for which there was a fee to enter it and visit its museum. This was actually relatively dull but it was pretty cool to be in the place where many very important historical events were discussed and debated.

The tenth stop is the Old State House which is the oldest surviving public building in Boston, and the seat of the first elected legislature in the New World. The Declaration of Independence was first read to Boston citizens from the balcony of this building in 1776. The Boston Massacre occured just outside the doors of this building in 1770. This was the second place that charged a fee to see it. This one was a bit more interesting than the Old Meeting House because it actually had a museum in it. Plus you could look out and see where the Boston Massacre took place.

The eleventh stop is the site of the Boston Massacre which took place just outside of the Old State House. It consisted of a red circle on a median between a fork in the road.

The twelfth stop is Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market which has been referred to as "the Cradle of Liberty" and was the site of America's first Town Meeting. Not much to see here really.

The thirteenth stop is Paul Revere's home during the during the time of the American Revolution. This house is the oldest remaining structure in downtown Boston and the only home on the freedom Trail. This was the third and last site that charged a fee to see it.

The fourteenth stop is Old North Church which is the location from which the famous "One if by land, and two if by sea" signal is said to have been sent. This was closed because it was the day before Thanksgiving and everything was closing at 3pm. So we did not get to go into it.

The fifteenth stop is the USS Constitution (aka "Old Ironsides") which is the oldest commissioned ship afloat in the world. This was semi-interesting but was totally packed with people. Apparently when it was in service it would the crew normally consisted of about 500 souls. There was one floor totally dedicated to canons all the way around.

The sixteenth and final stop on the Freedom Trail is the Bunker Hill Monument which was erected to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill, is the first public obelisk. Unfortunately we never did go all the way to the monument since everyone was too tired.

Finally, here are some random pictures we took along the Freedom Trail of the city of Boston.

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