The Freedom Trail: Every Step Tells a Story

Granary Burying Ground

Some of America's most notable citizens rest here. An elaborately embellished obelisk marks the site of John Hancock's tomb. Other Revolutionary heroes buried here include Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, James Otis, all five of the Boston Massacre victims, Benjamin Franklin's parents and Peter Faneuil.

There is discrepancy in the number of headstones and the number of people buried in the Granary. Although the Granary contains only 2,300 markers, it is estimated that more than 5,000 people are buried here. Each tomb contained on average about 20 bodies. The Infant Tomb alone might contain 400 babies. Since headstones were expensive it was common to put several bodies of one family under one headstone with one name on it. There may be several possible explanations as grounds keepers arranged the stones in neat rows to facilitate maintenance, shaped the grounds more into a mold of the new "trendy" garden-style cemetery, or wanted to encourage people to stroll in the site instead of having sheep grazing on the "unorganized," old looking burying ground.

Granary Burying Ground - Tremont Street

Open daily, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Old North Church

Immortalized in Longfellow's poem Paul Revere's Ride, the Old North is the oldest church building in Boston and the city's most visited historic site. On the evening of April 18, 1775, the Old North sexton, Robert Newman, climbed the steeple and held high two lanterns as a signal from Paul Revere that the British were marching to Lexington and Concord to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock and to seize the Colonial store of ammunition. This fateful event ignited the American Revolution.

Old North Church - 193 Salem Street

January - February, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm (closed Mondays); March - June, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm; July - October, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm; November - December, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Worship services: Sundays, 9:00 am & 11:00 am; Thursdays, 6:00 pm

Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas

Old South Meeting House

A Museum and National Historic Site

No tax on Tea! This was the decision on December 16, 1773 when 5000 angry colonists gathered at the Old South Meeting House to protest a tax...and started a revolution with the Boston Tea Party. Built in 1729, as a Puritan house of worship, Old South Meeting House was the largest building in colonial Boston. From outraged protests over the Boston Massacre to the night when Samuel Adams gave the secret signal to throw 342 crates of tea into Boston Harbor, colonists assembled at Old South to challenge British rule.Old South was also the spiritual home of slave and poet Phillis Wheatley, one of the first African Americans to publish a book. Benjamin Franklin was baptized here.Slated for demolition in 1876, Old South narrowly escaped the wrecking ball, by the heroic efforts of Boston citizens to preserve such an important piece of the nation's history.Old South continues to uphold its mission as an active meeting house by hosting history-making forums and political meetings, as well as educational history programs for adults, teachers and students.

Old South Meeting House - 310 Washington Street

November - March, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm; April - October, 9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Day

Old State House Museum

Built in 1713, the Old State House served as the seat of colonial government before the Revolution. After the Revolution, it was the Commonwealth's first State House. Some of the most significant events of the Revolution took place within these walls.

Here in 1761 James Otis railed against the Writs of Assistance in a fiery speech that ignited the colonists' rebellion. "Then and there the child independence was born," John Adams declared. In 1768, in an astonishing show of defiance, colonial legislators locked themselves inside their chamber to resist royal authority and to prevent the royal governor from dissolving the assembly. And in 1776 it was from this balcony that the Declaration of Independence was first read to the people of Boston. As the exhilarated crowd tore down the golden lion and the silver unicorn, symbols of British rule, Abigail Adams reported that "three cheers rended the air...Thus ends royal authority in this state and all the people shall say, Amen."

Today, the Old State House is the oldest surviving public building in Boston and a museum of Boston history operated by The Bostonian Society.

The Old State House/The Bostonian Society - Corner of State and Washington Streets

Open daily, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; January 9:00 am - 4:00 pm; July - August, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, and for yearly maintenance every first work week in February

617-720-1713 •

Paul Revere House

Built around 1680, the Paul Revere House is the oldest remaining structure in downtown Boston and the only home on the Freedom Trail. Paul Revere purchased this former merchant's dwelling in 1770, when he was 35 years old. He and his family lived here when Revere made his famous messenger ride on the night of April 18-19, 1775. For most of the 19th century the home served as a rooming house and a tenement for some of the thousands of Irish, Jewish and Italian immigrants who lived in the neighborhood. Restored in the early 20th century and opened to the public in April 1908, the Paul Revere House today serves as a museum and historic site where visitors can learn about Paul Revere's life and times, and experience what home life was like in 17th and 18th century Boston.

Paul Revere House - 19 North Square

April 15 - October 31, 9:30 am - 5:15 p.m.; November 1 - April 14, 9:30 am - 4:15 pm

Closed: Mondays (January - March), Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day

617-523-2338 •