As the earliest English settlement in North America, New England has a long and interesting history. It has been called “the birthplace of America”, and is filled with cultural attractions, fascinating cities, scenic villages, and a plethora of important historical points.
The Freedom Trail, a 4 kilometre path through downtown Boston, passes 16 of the city’s official historical points of interest. These are some of the points of living history that you can see.
Bunker Hill Monument (Monument Square)
The Battle of Bunker Hill was the “first major battle of the Revolutionary War and predicted the character and outcome of the rest of the war.” It’s recommended to read up on the history of that fascinating battle, so that you can picture the scenes as you explore the hill and the monument.
Dating back to 1634, Boston Common is America’s oldest public park. It was purchased from the first settler for just 30 pounds, and was used for grazing. Boston Common is the site of both celebrations and atrocities. It was the scene of bonfires and fireworks celebrating the repeal of the Stamp Act, as well as the end of the Revolutionary War. On the other hand, it was a site for Puritanical punishments, and hosted a whipping post and stocks. The Great Elm, which is no longer there, was used for hanging pirates and witches.
Photo credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Boston_Common_%282731419647%29.jpg
The Site of The Boston Massacre
The Boston Massacre occurred in 1770, when hostilities reached a boiling point between townsmen and Redcoat soldiers. What initially started with taunts and snowballs, led to soldiers shooting at civilians, killing five men. Paul Revere termed it “a bloody massacre”, and today, a ring of stones on the Freedom Trail marks the site.
Paul Revere House
Talking of Paul Revere, the house he bought in 1770 is now the oldest remaining structure in downtown Boston. It was built back in 1680, and still stands due to the Paul Revere Memorial Association’s efforts at restoring it. They now operate it as a museum and historic site, where visitors can experience a taste of 17th and 18th century life.
Image credit: en.wikipedia.org.
Benjamin Franklin Statue
The Benjamin Franklin statue marks the site of America’s oldest public school. The wooden building of the Boston Latin School has been gone for centuries (since 1745), but its legacy continues in the Fenway neighbourhood of Boston. Founded in 1635, it offered free education to boys, both rich and poor. As of 1972, the school admits girls as well.
The USS Constitution
“Old Ironsides” is the oldest commissioned warship, launched in 1797. During the War of 1812, she faced a barrage of cannonballs which appeared to bounce off. Her strength comes from the three layers of live oak and white oak from all around America. She is permanently berthed in the Charleston Navy Yard, and travels to Boston Harbor several times a year. Incredibly, she is still a commissioned U.S. Navy Warship!
New England is the site of much of America’s history, and the Freedom Trail is a great way to see and experience it all.
This post was brought to you by partner Steve Marks.