Thursday, January 16, 2014

What Sites Can Visitors See On Boston Freedom Trail Tours

By Marissa Velazquez

Boston Freedom Trail Tours have been part of the tourist experience in Massachusetts since the 1950s, when the trail was first established. The pedestrianised route now stretches for around two and a half miles, and passes some 16 sites of historical interest, most of them related in some way to the tumultuous days of the American Revolution. This article will run down a few of the sites which visitors can see on the route.

Boston Common, the oldest public park in the United States, is where the majority of visitors begin their walk along the route. Sometimes mistakenly called 'Commons', this park opened its gates for the first time in 1634, and now houses the Central Burying Ground. Here, visitors can see the graves of local luminaries such as poet Charles Sprague, as well as that of his father, Samuel.

The next site on the route is the Massachusetts State House, the main seat of state government in this part of the US. This building is known for its distinctive domed roof, which was coppered by the company belonging to the famous Paul Revere. A statue of Civil War General Joseph Hooker can also be seen outside of the building.

Following on from the State House, visitors can make their way past sites such as the Park Street Church and the Granary Burying Ground to the statue of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin is one of America's most famous intellectuals, a polymath who combined a career in science with a career as a politician and diplomat during the early days of the American Republic. Close to the statue is the site of America's first public school, the Boston Latin School.

The route also takes in the site of the infamous Boston Massacre, when British soldiers fired on a rioting crowd just before the American Revolution. While contemporary evidence suggests that the soldiers' behaviour was not egregious by the moral standards of the day, the incident was used as propaganda by the revolutionaries. The soldiers were placed in an invidious position, and the incident became a part of American legend.

Another place along the trail which is intimately connected with the American War of Independence is the Faneuil Hall, a site where people have gathered socially and for market since the 1740s. Samuel Adams made many speeches here, when he was a fiery advocate of the cause of independence. The hall is sometimes referred to as the 'Cradle of Liberty', due to this long political association.

Most visitors end their walk along the trail with a visit to the USS Constitution, a heavy frigate which dates back to the 1790s. She saw service against the British Royal Navy in the War of 1812, and is now the oldest naval vessel, which is still commissioned and afloat, in the whole world. Her crew conduct tours for visitors, providing insight into the history of the US Navy.

This is a very brief outline of just some of the sites which can be seen on Boston Freedom Trail Tours. All of the sites can provide great insights into American Revolutionary history. Whether it is the Franklin statue, or the USS Constitution, there is plenty to be learned.

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