Showing posts from April, 2020

Boston: Paul Revere House

This week's stop along Boston's Freedom Trail is our first location within the downtown district.  In fact, it is now the oldest building still remaining in downtown Boston, having been built in 1680.  And because it is a home (the only one along the Freedom Trail) it gives us a unique look at life during the American Revolution - the life of a citizen, a businessman, and a patriot. The address is 19 North Square and, while the building is old, it had an interesting history prior to the construction of the current structure.  From 1670-1676 the site was home to the famous theologian Increase Mather, who was influential to the city as the minister of Second Church as well as later becoming the president of Harvard.  A fire destroyed the original house, but a new one was built by a new owner just a few years later.  Robert Howard was a wealthy merchant who purchased the land from the church and had a two-story townhouse constructed (and I will later point you to an interesting

Boston: Faneuil Hall

The 11th stop along Boston's Freedom Trail encompasses much more than a single building - Faneuil Hall is now surrounded by a number of statues and structures that help tell the story of its history and ensure its neighborhood's future.  Named for the man who funded construction and gave it to the city, merchant Peter Faneuil (pronounced FAN-yull), it originally represented something of a disputed compromise.  The plan was to create a marketplace for the town but such a "gift" was met with some resistance, perhaps because of the thought that such a commercial endeavor would primarily enrich the benefactor, or perhaps because one of his trades was slavery.  The promise of a public meeting space to occupy the second floor was, however, quite appealing and managed to carry the vote.  By the narrow margin of 367-360 the proposal was accepted and Faneuil Hall was opened in 1743 as a central market house and open forum for assembly. During Revolutionary times the town gov

Boston: The Boston Massacre Site

On March 5, 1770 the relationship between Boston and Britain changed forever.  In the shadow of the Old State House, tensions boiled over between a gathering mob of citizens and the soldiers of the 29th Regiment.  Insults were exchanged, challenges were issued, objects were thrown, and eventually shots were fired.  Three men were killed at the scene, another succumbed to his injuries the next day, and a fifth died two weeks later.  A sixth victim was seriously injured, crippled, and died ten years later in 1780, purportedly from complications of his wounds.  No British troops were killed, and the event resulted in the arrest of 13 individuals - eight soldiers, an officer, and four civilians.  Today the event is commemorated by a simple cobblestone circle along the sidewalk amidst the towering buildings of downtown Boston. The cause of the outbreak of violence seems to have been primarily centered around the presence of troops within the city.  The Massachusetts House of Represent

Boston: Old State House

We've gone through half of the sites along Boston's Freedom Trail.  Have you learned anything new?  Does anything surprise you about these historic locations?  Obviously nothing replaces seeing these places in person, but if you're too far away with no plans to travel in the near future then I hope the brief posts and links to helpful websites are at least piquing your curiosity to learn more on your own. This week we'll delve into the story of Boston's oldest public building, the Old State House.  You'll probably recall that we've already seen one location with the "State House" designation, which has housed the majority of Massachusetts government operations since 1798.  Once the center of royal authority in Massachusetts (originally known as the Town House after its construction in 1713), this week's focal point is now a museum housing such interesting pieces as the pre-Revolution Royal Governor's chair, tea from the actual Boston Tea