Freedom Trail - Boston National Historical Park
OVERVIEW: About this audio-described brochure
Hello! Welcome to the audio-described version of Boston National Historical Park's official Freedom Trail print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that Boston National Historical Park visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit.
This audio version lasts about eighty eight minutes which we have divided into thirty four sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections one and two provide overview information of the park. Sections three through twenty one include the front of the brochure and the individual sites along the Freedom Trail. Sections twenty two through thirty four discuss the backside of the brochure and focus more on wayfinding through the city and on public transit.
The sections that discuss the individual sites of the Freedom Trail are stacked into two rows of seven images with information. Generally, visitors walk the Freedom Trail from the southern most point at the Boston Common to the northern most point at the Charlestown Navy Yard or Bunker Hill Monument. This is not required. You can start at the north and travel south. You can also start at any other point along the trail since it is not chronologically laid out.
OVERVIEW: Freedom Trail - Boston National Historical Park
The Freedom Trail is a collection of public and private sites linked together throughout Boston which work to preserve the history of sites relevant to Boston's role in America's struggle for freedom. Boston National Historical Park, established in 1974, works with these sites in order to preserve and tell these stories. The trail itself stretches from Boston Common to Charlestown Navy Yard two and a half miles for visitors from all over the world to come explore their past.
OVERVIEW: Front side of brochure
The image on the cover of the brochure spans both the front and the back of the brochure, separated by the fold on the left hand side. Upon opening the brochure lengthwise, the image on the cover becomes revealed in full, spanning the length of the brochure and taking up the entire first panel. In other words, if you open the brochure up all the way, the cover image takes up the top quarter of the brochure.
On the top third of this first panel is a black line, spanning the length of both the front and the back, holding the text indicating the titles of the brochure (Boston on the left side, Freedom Trail on the right side). The cover image takes up the bottom two thirds of the panel reveals the center third of a colored etching titled “A Southeast View of the Great Town of Boston in New England” by John Cartwitham of London, England. The portion of the etching that is shown provides a zoomed out, panoramic view of Boston as it would have looked in the 1760’s. A bustling harbor and port town capture the eye, and looking beyond the city the viewer sees rolling green hills and mountains. The sky is an angelic white to contrast with the clear blue ocean waters below.
In the foreground, the artist reveals the Boston Harbor, bustling with commercial activity. Trading ships of various shapes and sizes float across the harbor as they come in and out of port. The harbor takes up the bottom half of the image. Two wharves protrude from the bustling town and into the harbor. The first, named “Long Wharf,” begins about two-fifths of the length of the brochure from the left hand side, and extends just past the center line and all the way down to the bottom of the image, as if on a diagonal downward slope. Long wharf is the largest of the three wharves, and has a series of dock houses interspersed on its right hand side The wharf and its buildings are tan in color, and the buildings are various shades of tan.. In similar fashion, the second wharf begins about three-fifths of the way from the left hand side, and is about half the size of Long wharf. It is green in color, as though it is covered in algae, and has what appears to be a crane on the very edge of the wharf. Ships of various sizes are docked on the viewers left hand side of the wharf. About four-fifths from the left of the page there is a smaller dock, which barely protrudes into the harbor. There is a small dock house at the end of the dock.
The town and rolling hills take up the top half of the painting. When looking at the far left of the open brochure, there are many small houses resting in a valley and extending all the way up to the shoreline. A large church is on the far right hand side of this small town, with it’s steeple reaching far into the sky. Just to the right of this small town, there is a hill, taking up about half the space between the shoreline and the sky. This green hill, indicating Dorchester Heights, has seven squares marked out by split rail fences, to acknowledge what can be assumed are different property lines or divisions between crops (the type of crop is not visible). There is a house resting on top of the hill, also in a green color, and at the bottom of the hill a small beach is connected to the shoreline, located just above a wharf floating in the water, and almost blending in with the harbor as the two are the same shade of blue. Immediately to the right of the hill is the town of Boston, indicated by hundreds of small homes that are drawn very close together and span the rest of the brochure. It appears that some of these homes are even nestled behind Dorchester Heights. Scattered throughout the town are various buildings with very tall steeples bearing either weathervanes or crosses that reach into the sky, some even extending off the immediate etching and onto the black border on the very top third of the brochure. Just beyond the town are pastoral green hills, and just beyond that are even taller slate gray mountains. These mountains rest against a white sky, as if clouds are resting just beyond them.
Below this image are 14 individual photographs with text explanations about the stops along the Freedom Trail in two rows. Each of these stops are described in the audio description for this brochure individually. The site explanations begin with Boston Common and the State House which are the most southern stops along the Trail. The explanations proceed in a northernly order from left to right, top row to bottom row. The explanations end at the Charlestown Navy Yard and the USS CONSTITUTION.
IMAGE and TEXT: The Freedom Trail
The image on the cover of the brochure spans both the front and the back of the brochure. Upon opening the brochure lengthwise, the image on the cover becomes revealed in full, spanning the length of the brochure and taking up the entire first panel. When the brochure is opened up completely, the cover image takes up the top quarter of the brochure.
On the top third of this first panel is a black line, spanning the width of the brochure, holding the text indicating the titles of the brochure: (Boston on the back, Freedom Trail on the front). The cover image takes up the bottom two thirds of the panel, and reveals a colored etching titled “A Southeast View of the Great Town of Boston in New England” by John Cartwitham of London, England. The portion of the etching that is shown provides a zoomed out, panoramic view of Boston as it would have looked in the seventeen sixties. A bustling harbor and port town capture the eye, and looking beyond the city the viewer sees rolling green hills and mountains. The sky is an angelic white to contrast with the clear blue ocean waters below.
In the foreground, the artist reveals the Boston Harbor, bustling with commercial activity. Trading ships of various shapes and sizes float across the harbor as they come in and out of port. The harbor takes up the bottom half of the image. Two wharves protrude from the bustling town and into the harbor. The first, named “Long Wharf,” begins about two fifths of the width of the brochure from the left hand side, and extends diagonally downward. The end of the wharf is just past the center line and all the way down to the bottom of the image. Long wharf is the largest of the three wharves, and has a series of dock houses interspersed on its right hand side The wharf and its buildings are tan in color. In similar fashion, the second wharf begins about three fifths of the way from the left hand side, and is about half the size of Long Wharf. It is green in color, as though it is covered in algae, and has what appears to be a crane on the very edge of the wharf. Ships of various sizes are docked on the viewers left hand side of the wharf. About four fifths from the left of the page there is a smaller dock, which barely protrudes into the harbor. There is a small dock house at the end of the dock.
The town and rolling hills take up the top half of the painting. When looking at the far left of the open brochure, there are many small houses resting in a valley and extending all the way up to the shoreline. A large church is on the far right hand side of this small town, with it’s steeple reaching far into the sky. Just to the right of this small town, there is a hill, taking up about half the space between the shoreline and the sky. This green hill, indicating Dorchester Heights, has seven squares marked out by split rail fences, to acknowledge what can be assumed are different property lines or divisions between crops. The type of crop is not visible. There is a house resting on top of the hill, also in a green color, and at the bottom of the hill a small beach is connected to the shoreline, located just above a long rectangular shaped object floating in the water, and almost blending in with the harbor as the two are the same shade of blue. Immediately to the right of the hill is the town of Boston, indicated by hundreds of small homes that are drawn very close together and span the rest of the brochure. It appears that some of these homes are even nestled behind Dorchester Heights. Scattered throughout the town are various buildings with very tall steeples, bearing either weather vanes or crosses that reach into the sky, some even extending off the immediate etching and onto the black border on the very top third of the brochure. Just beyond the town are pastoral green hills, and just beyond that are even taller slate gray mountains. These mountains rest against a white sky, as if clouds are resting just beyond them.
CAPTION: Detail from A SouthWest View of the Great Town of Boston in New England in America by J. Carwitham, London, 1764.
CREDIT: Boston Society/ J. Carwitham
RELATED TEXT: To travel back to Revolutionary Boston—to understand the people, the events, and the ideals of the 1700s—is a great leap for us today. But the sites along the Freedom Trail speak eloquently of that time. Bostonians and other colonists shared a notion of liberty as something precious and worth fighting for. The Freedom Trail sites include the scenes of critical events in Boston’s and the nation’s struggle for freedom. Some visitors choose to trek the entire two and a half mile route or select an individual site to visit at length, while others experience the Freedom Trail as a cohesive story built around the following four chapters, organized along geographic and thematic lines.
TEXT: Chapter 1 — Revolution of minds and hearts
For more than a century before the first musket was fired in America’s War for Independence, Puritan bred Bostonians embraced a strong heritage of community
and a culture of freedom that was remarkable among colonial settlements. The sites here include places where townsfolk assembled to proclaim their rights, drill their militias, bury their dead, educate their young, govern their own church congregations, and protect their property from British meddling. “The Revolution was effected before the war commenced,” observed John Adams. “The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people.” Sites in this chapter include Boston Common, Massachusetts State House, Park Street Church and Granary Burying Ground, King’s Chapel and Burying Ground, and the site of the first public school.
TEXT: Chapter 2 — The people revolt
In 1760 breaking away from Great Britain was unimaginable to most Bostonians. Between 1761 and 1775, however, differing views of the rights of the colonies under British rule led to actions, reactions, and tumultuous encounters between Britain and the Boston colonists that snowballed toward war. The sites here feature places where liberty-loving men and women began to take collective action, culminating in events like the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. They include Old South Meeting House, Old Corner Bookstore, Old State House, Boston Massacre Site, and Faneuil Hall.
TEXT: Chapter 3 — Neighborhood of revolution
In the course of two pivotal days- April 18 and 19, 1775—years of growing unrest burst into insurrection. Among the families of the North End, downtown Boston’s oldest surviving residential neighborhood, were artisan Paul Revere, his second wife Rachel, and seven of his children. It was patriot Revere who planned the hanging of warning lanterns in the steeple of the Old North Church on April 18 before his famous ride. By morning, colonial militia had assembled in Lexington and Concord for what became the first military encounters of the Revolution. The North End sites in this chapter include Paul Revere House, Old North Church, and Copp’s Hill Burying Ground.
TEXT: Chapter 4 — Boston goes to war
Less than two months after Lexington and Concord, patriots and British troops engaged in one of the bloodiest encounters of the War for Independence: the Battle of Bunker Hill. Though the British won the battle, their losses were immense, inspiring patriots to continued resistance. By 1783, the United States had won its independence. To defend the young nation against pirates, the British, or any other would-be challenger, the newly formed US Navy built the seemingly invincible frigate USS Constitution. The Charlestown sites in this chapter include Bunker Hill Monument and USS Constitution, berthed in the Charlestown Navy Yard.
TEXT: Sites along the Freedom Trail
The popular sites along the Freedom Trail are described below in their own sections.
IMAGE and TEXT: Boston Common and State House
This is a photograph of the Massachusetts State House taken from across the street. This photograph reveals a red brick, federal style building with two main stories, supporting a smaller third story, which is approximately one third of the length of the bottom two stories, and rests immediately in the center of the building. This smaller third story provides a base for a brick pediment, outlined in a white trim, which provides the base for a large gold dome. On top of the dome rests a small cupola, which appears to be made of white wood and adorned with gold decoration. On the top of the cupola is a small pine cone, to represent the state symbol.
If the viewer were looking at the building from a birds eye view, it would reveal the bottom two stories are not perfectly rectangular. Rather, it would appear as if there were a larger rectangle serving as the actual building, with another rectangle protruding from the front center two thirds of the building. This additional rectangle provides a covered entryway and a balcony. On the first floor, this covered entryway is marked by brick arches, evenly spaced throughout the front, center, two thirds of the building. Each of these arches have a white adornment at the keystone, and thin, white imposts connecting them. Just above this covered archway is a balcony, where there are white columns supporting the roof. On each side, the first two series of columns are placed in pairs that are very close together. The center four columns are free standing. There are five rectangular windows visible in the center of the building, evenly spaced, and are framed on either side of this portion of the building by two white doors leading inside.
There are windows visible on the portions of the first and second stories that are excluded from the entryway. Because the photograph is taken slightly off center, there are two rectangular windows visible on the left side of the first floor, and three rectangular windows visible on the right side of the first floor. On the second floor, there are two windows in the shape of an arch on the left side, and three windows in the shape of an arch on the right side.
On the smaller third floor, there are five rectangular windows, evenly spaced, all of which are framed with adornments shaped like the columns along the entryway. They however have no structural purpose, other than decoration. There also appears to be a small white fence along the top of the building. The pediment just above these windows is constructed in plain red brick, and is framed in an ornamental molding.
The photograph was taken on a sunny day and the dome of the State House is framed by dark green leaves from a tree on the same side of the street as the photographer.
CREDIT: NPS/James Higgins
RELATED TEXT: Freedom Trail begins at Boston Common where cattle once grazed and British soldiers camped. Puritan settlers established the Common in 1634, making it the nation’s oldest public park. Charles Bulfinch designed the Massachusetts State House, which overlooks the Common. Samuel Adams and Paul Revere laid the cornerstone in 1795. The memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment, opposite the State House, marks the start of the Black Heritage Trail®, a feature of the Museum of African American History and Boston African American National Historic Site.
IMAGE and TEXT: Park Street Church
Nestled between modern buildings and across the street from the Boston Common resides the Park Street Church. It is constructed in red brick and white wood, and the shingles on the roof are a dark slate gray. It appears to be constructed similarly to many American Protestant churches from the early nineteenth century. There is a tall steeple on the front of the church, extending off of the square frame and behind the text above it. In the foreground of the photograph is the Park Street subway entrance. The subway entrance looks like a square house with an A frame roof on top of it. The bottom half of the subway entrance is made of red brick, the top with gray stone adorned with three windows evenly spaced on each side.
The nave of the church, or the extended area of the church that is most often used by the congregation, is about two stories tall and has series of windows on both stories. On the bottom floor of the nave, on the far left, a rectangular door covered with an arch is visible. Next to the door are three visible rectangular windows, all spaced evenly apart. It can be assumed the rest of the windows are being blocked by the entrance to the Park Street subway station entrance, which is blocking the view of the rest of the first floor of the church. The second floor of the nave of the church contains seven tall arch shaped windows, all spaced evenly apart and adorned with white trim. The front of the church is shaped as a semicircle. This semicircle shaped area, known as the apse of a church, connects the nave to the steeple of the church. Only one side of the apse is visible, the side closest to the photographer, as the other side of it is hidden by the steeple. The side of the apse that is visible has two stories and six windows - three on the first story and two on the second story, all spaced evenly apart. There are four white, decorative columns which separate and frame the windows length wise. Slate gray shingles are on the roof of the building. The roof of the apse is just below the roof of the nave. The steeple has two distinct parts - a red brick base and a wooden pyramid shaped top which is painted white. The red brick portion is a rectangular prism, and extends all the way to the top of the a-frame roof of the nave. The wall of the steeple is in line with the walls of the apse. On the top of the brick portion of the steeple is a black clock with golden roman numerals and golden hands. The clock has a white frame with semi-circles at each quarter of the frame. There is a white steeple that towers another three stories above the brick section of the steeple and extends into a point at the top. Each story on the steeple has an arch shaped window.
CREDIT: NPS/James Higgins
RELATED TEXT: The elegant spire of this church and its carillon, which sounds twice daily from its steeple, have long been landmarks for downtown shoppers. The hymn “America” was first sung here, and abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison gave his first antislavery speech here in 1829. Park Street Church has stood on this corner since 1809 as an active Congregational church, organized in reaction to Unitarians who were gaining control in many of the old Puritan churches.
IMAGE and TEXT: Granary burying ground
An aged headstone stands erect in the foreground of the image, with the rest of the burying ground standing behind it. At the back boundary of the burying ground is a large group of trees, forming a natural boundary between the living and the dead. Behind the trees, you can see the white, wooden steeple of the Park Street Church peering over the treeline. Other more modern buildings also peek over the tree line on the right half of the photograph.
The headstone is made of a gray stone, most likely slate. The base is a rectangle in shape, with a small semi-circle on top of the rectangle, about as wide as the center three-fifths of the rectangle portion of the stone. It appears to be very old, with wear and tear along the edges of the stone, and dirt and soot scattered across the stone's face. A very faint inscription is evident on the semicircle on the top of the headstone, appearing to be a skull with wings coming out of either side of it. The headstone stands in dirt, with small amounts of grass apparent in the background.
Please note that these stones should not be touched due to their fragile nature. Gravestone rubbings are illegal in the city of Boston.
CREDIT: NPS / James Higgins
RELATED TEXT: Patriots John Hancock, Paul Revere, James Otis, Samuel Adams, Robert Treat Paine; victims of the Boston Massacre; and whole families of settlers ravaged by fire and plague are interred in this cemetery next to the Park Street Church.
IMAGE and TEXT: King’s Chapel and Burying Ground
Kings Chapel is a two story, sandy colored church building made of brick and stone with two separate parts: the entryway, and the body of the church most commonly used by the congregation, also known as the nave. Both the nave and the entryway are rectangular in shape. The entry way is only slightly less wide than the body of the church, but is much more narrow. The photograph was taken across the street and to the right of the entrance of the church itself, meaning that only certain faces of the building are visible in the photograph.
The entryway itself is made up of columns supporting a balcony. There are 6 columns supporting the front of the balcony, with three additional columns supporting the right side of the balcony. Directly resting on top of the columns is a sandy colored, plainly decorated cornice, or molding, on top of which a small, stone fence marks the edge of the balcony. On top of the balcony is a brick cube with small, arch shaped windows placed in the center of each visible face. The top of the brick cube has a border that decorates it on what appears to be all four sides, which looks like crown molding could be found in a home today. The molding appears to be made of a sand colored stone.
The nave itself, or portion of the church mainly used by the congregation, is placed in the shadows of the other more modern buildings that surround Kings Chapel. It is still evident that on the front face of the nave, on the right hand side, are sculptures embedded into the fabric of the building that are made to look like an extension of the columns from the entryway. Along the side of the nave are arch shaped windows evenly spaced on each of the two stories. The second story arched windows are longer than those on the first story. There are five windows visible on each floor.
There is a metal fence framing the entryway to the church. There are bustling streets on either side of the building, with cars and pedestrians travelling by the church. A stop light is on the corner of the sidewalk just diagonal from the corner point of the entryway.
CREDIT: NPS / James Higgins
King’s Chapel, designed by Peter Harrison in 1749 for the first Anglican congregation in Boston, possesses one of the most elegant Georgian church interiors of the colonial era. The congregation was a stronghold of Loyalist opposition, and most of its members left for England and Nova Scotia in 1776. In 1787 those who remained organized the nation’s first Unitarian congregation. The burying ground next to the chapel contains the remains of John Winthrop, the colony’s first governor, as well as the gravestone that inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne to write The Scarlet Letter.
IMAGE and TEXT: Franklin Statue and First School Site
This is a vertical photograph of a statue of Benjamin Franklin. It shows Benjamin Franklin’s whole body. He is depicted as a middle aged man with no hair on the top of his head, but longer hair extended straight down from right above his ears. His expression is welcoming and his eyes are looking down towards where visitors can stand so that they can lock gazes with the statue. He is dressed in a long vest called a waistcoat that extends from his shoulders down to mid-thigh. There are buttons running down the center of the vest, ending 6 inches from the bottom of the vest. This makes the vest separate at the bottom. There are pockets on either side of the front vest flap parts that lay against his legs. Over the vest, Franklin is shown wearing an open jacket that goes from his shoulders to his knees. There are buttons on his wrists at the end of the sleeves. The edge of the jacket is decorated with a fur-like material. In Franklin’s left arm which bends at the elbow towards his stomach, he holds a tricorn hat which has three corners that are folded up towards a raised circular crown to form three sides. In Franklin’s right hand, he has a cane. He is shown as putting some weight on the cane, which is very thin and straight. He wears trousers that stop at his knee and are close to his legs. He wears colonial shoes that are low rise. His right leg is bent a little and his right foot is positioned a bit in front of his left foot. The statue is made of bronze metal and stands on a pedestal made of marble.. It is located in front of a building that is made of stone. The photograph was taken during a sunny day.
CREDIT: NPS/Jame Higgins
This statue of Benjamin Franklin overlooks the first site of the Latin School, the oldest public school in America, established by Puritan settlers in sixteen thirty five. Franklin, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock all attended. Its first schoolhouse was built here in sixteen thirty five.
IMAGE and TEXT: Old South Meeting House
DESCRIPTION: Old South Meeting House is shown in this photograph. The Meeting House is made of red brick. The main body of the Meeting House is shaped like a three story house, rectangular with a gently sloping roof. Attached to the front of this rectangle is a five story tower that is topped with a steeple.
On the first story facing Washington Street, the main rectangle has two arched windows spaced evenly on either side of the tower, though you cannot see the windows on the right side being that they are obscured by the tower. The windows have multiple panes and are edged in white wood. There is a small historic plaque made of dark metal next to the window on the left corner. The second story has the same set up as the first story. There is a horizontal line of bricks that are protruding out of the wall between the second story and third story. This line travels around the building itself and the tower. The third story has one small circular window located next to the tower. The long side of the building is obscured slightly by trees and street lights in the foreground but has the same arched windows on the first and second stories. There are at least four windows on the first story and three on the second. The roof is grey shingles and has a rail along the edge of it that is used to prevent snow from building up on the roof.
The first story of the tower of Old South Meeting House has doors on the three sides of the tower to gain entrance into the building. The double doors are brown in color and topped by an arch of window panes above them. There are signs on either side of the doors, but you cannot read the text from this distance.
The second and third stories of the tower have a small circular window located on the side of the tower and a larger arched window on the side facing the viewer. The fourth story has a black clock face with gold numbers and hands on the side. On the side facing the viewer, there is another small circular window. The fifth story of the tower has a covered over arched window on each side. This is the point where the brick ends and the white wooden steeple begins. There is a white railing on the sixth level of the tower and there are thin columns topped with arches leading up to the seventh section. The eighth story extends above the photograph and into the text of Chapter four above it. This part of the steeple is two stories high and tapers into a tall, thin point of grey wood and metal. The top of the steeple has a weather vane on it, though you cannot see its shape because of the text of Chapter Four.
CREDIT: NPS/Jame Higgins
RELATED TEXT: Built in 1729 as a Puritan house of worship, the Old South Meeting House was the largest building in colonial Boston. In the days leading to the American Revolution, citizens gathered here to challenge British rule, protesting the Boston Massacre and the tea tax. Here, at an overflow meeting on December 16, 1773, patriot Samuel Adams launched the Boston Tea Party. Saved from destruction in 1876, in the first successful historic preservation effort in New England, the building is now an active meeting place, a haven for free speech, and a museum exhibit, “Voices of Protest.”
IMAGE and TEXT: Old Corner Bookstore
The Old Corner Bookstore is situated on the corners of School and Washington Streets. The photograph shows the red brick building from an angle so that you see two sides of it. The building has a unique roof type in Boston as it is one of the oldest buildings in the city. The roof is a gambrel roof, which means it has a symmetrical roof with two slopes on each side. The School Street side is shown in full and shows the four stories that make up the building. On the first floor of the building, there are two bay windows that extend out over the sidewalk. There are twenty four panes of glass and the framing is yellow wood. On the edges of the first floor are a set of double doors leading into the structure. There is also a historic plaque made of dark metal on the first floor on the corner of the School Street and Washington Street sides.
In between the first and second floors is a wooden sign that is centered on the building. The sign says “The Boston Globe Store” which no longer occupies the store. On the second floor are five windows spaced evenly along the floor. Each window has twenty four window panes that are edged in yellow wood. On the corner of each side of the building, there are lighter red bricks extending slightly out of the wall to give it a textured look going up one story to the bottom of the roof edge.
In between the second and third floor is a double horizontal line of red bricks that are slightly extended out of the building face. It extends across the top of the five windows of the second floor. The third floor has only three windows spaced, each with twenty four panes of glass edged in yellow wood, evenly across it due to the roof slope. In between the third and four floor is a double horizontal line of red bricks that are slightly extended out of the building face. It extends across the top of the three windows of the third floor. Located at the top center of the fourth floor is one window with twenty four window panes edged in yellow wood.
The Washington Street side of the building is shown in shadow. There are only three floors on this side. There is a historic sign on the corner of Washington Street and School Street made of dark metal. There are two bay windows with twenty four panes of yellow wood. They extend out over the sidewalk of Washington Street. There is a space between the two windows where the door is, but is covered by shadow in the photo. Above the windows and door on the first floor is a wood sign, but you cannot read the text.
The second floor has three windows spaced evenly across it with twenty four panes of glass and edged in yellow wood. The roof line is just above these windows. The roof is made of grey shingles with white wood edging it. There are two dormer windows that extend out of the roof. They are made of white wood on the extension with grey shingles. The building is surrounded by many red brick buildings and red brick sidewalk. There are people walking on School Street.
Today, the Old Corner Bookstore is no longer an active bookstore. As of 2019, it is a Chipotle Mexican Grill.
CREDIT: NPS/Jame Higgins
RELATED TEXT: Typical of the kinds of dwellings and shops that lined the streets of colonial Boston, this gambrel-roof building was saved from destruction in the nineteen sixties and restored by Historic Boston in 1970. Built as an apothecary for druggist Thomas Crease in 1718, it became a literary center in the mid-1800s. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and others brought their manuscripts here to be published by Ticknor and Fields Company.
IMAGE and TEXT: Old State House
DESCRIPTION: Shown from across the street, this photograph is of the Old State House. Made almost entirely out of red brick, the building stands five stories tall on the short side and four stories tall on the long side. This photograph does not show the entirety of the tower of the Old State House. The shape of the building is very unique. While the main part of the building is a regular long rectangle, there is a smaller rectangle at the top that has a gable roof. A gable roof slopes downward in two directions, like two right triangles joined together at the vertical line of the triangle. Where the regular corners of the building would be are two statues. These will be discussed later in the description.
The short side is facing the viewer in this photograph. The first story is cut off by some of the people in front of it, but the photo shows two rectangular windows with eight window panes edged in cream colored wood on the ends of the building. There is a decorative lintel, or horizontal line of brick, extending slightly out from the body of the building about two feet above these windows. The second story has three rectangular windows evenly spaced across the wall. The windows on the extreme left and right sides are identical and have twenty four window panes edged in cream colored wood in them. The middle windows are two skinny rectangles that each have twelve window panes edged in cream colored wood in them. There is another decorative lintel immediately above these windows.
The third story of the building has two more of the large rectangular windows with twenty four window panes edged in cream colored wood on the corners of the building. In the center of this wall is a decorative balcony extending off of the building and over the people walking below. The balcony is the same cream colored wood that is used in the windows. It has a banner on the front side of the balcony that says “Bloody” but the rest of the text is too small to read. There is a large wooden and glass door, also cream in color, that is in the center of the balcony leading into the Old State House. It is topped with a small arch at the top of which is a flagpole parallel to the ground with an American flag hanging from it.
Another decorative lintel separates the third and fourth stories. At each corner of the building, there is a small circular window. On either side there is a piece of metal shaped like a lowercase “f.” In the middle is another rectangular shaped window with twenty four panes of glass edged in cream colored wood. This window is directly above the balcony. Directly above this window is a large circular clock. The clock face is black and the hands, numbers, and a decorative circle around the edge are gold metal. Below the bottom part of the clock is a decorative, gold, branch with leaves extending from the bottom to the middle outside of the gold circle. Above this in the gable area is another decorative gold element of scrollwork. On either side of this are the statues mentioned above. When the viewer is looking at the photo, there is a gold lion with a crown on the left side of the clock. This statue represents England. On the right side of the clock is a silver unicorn. This statue represents Scotland. They are both three dimensional, shiny, and approximately five feet in height. They both face in towards the clock with their faces.
On the first floor of the long side of the building are ten rectangular windows with twenty four panes of glass edged in cream colored wood. These windows are spaced evenly through the building, five on either side of a door that is extending out of the wall. The entrance has small columns on either side that end in a triangular shaped pediment. The pediment has grey shingles on it. Because the door is recessed in the entrance, you cannot see it. This is an emergency exit for the building, the real entrance is on the other side of the building.
The second floor has eleven of the same rectangular shaped windows on it, spaced evenly from left to right. There are five dormers, or windows that project vertically from a sloping roof, spaced evenly on the roof. These are covered in grey shingles on their sides though the windows have the cream colored wood. Extending vertically from the center of the roof is a white tower made of an unknown material. The second level of the tower has a small white railing around its edges with many balusters, which is a shaft cut from a rectangle and used for decoration on railings. On each side of the next level of the tower is a large arched window. Inside the arch are two smaller arches with multiple panes of glass on each. The top space between these arches is filled with an upside down rounded triangle window to fit in that small space. The level above that has another tower has a small white railing around its edges with more balusters on it. This photograph was taken during the day and you cannot see the sky because of the more modern buildings surrounding the Old State House.
CREDIT: NPS/Jame Higgins
RELATED TEXT: Built in 1713, this historic landmark was the seat of colonial and state governments as well as a merchants’ exchange. In 1761 patriot James Otis opposed the Writs of Assistance here, inspiring John Adams to state, “then and there the child independence was born.” A cobblestone circle under its balcony marks the site of the 1770 Boston Massacre when British soldiers fired into a crowd of Bostonians. Fugitive slave Crispus Attucks was among the five victims who died that day. Today the Bostonian Society maintains the building as a museum of Boston history.
IMAGE and TEXT: Faneuil Hall
The photograph depicts Faneuil Hall. It is a three story brick building, with a triangular pediment on top of those three stories, an A-Frame roof, and a white wooden cupola on the top of the building. The floor-plan is rectangular in shape. The photographer took the photo standing diagonal from the building, on the right hand side. For this reason, two faces of the building are visible in the photograph. The front face of the building has seven arch shaped windows on each of the three floors of the building. On the right face of the building, there are also arch shaped windows spaced evenly on each floor. There are four visible on the first floor, a person in the foreground of the photograph appears to be blocking the others. There are 6 arch shaped windows visible on the second floor of the building, and 7 visible on the third floor, some of which are barely peeking through a tree branch with yellow leaves that extends across the foreground of the top of the photograph.
On each floor and each face of the building, there are bricks protruding from the face of the building, on either side of the windows, to look like doric columns, and a small entablature stretching across the buildings faces as if to show a separation of the three stories.
On the pediment, there appears to be a semi-circle shaped window peeking through the aforementioned tree that is hiding it from plain sight. The semicircle is no wider than any of the other windows on the lower floors, making it appear quite small on the pediment itself. There is a white molding that seems to frame the semicircle window, separated from the window by the bricks of the pediment. There are two circular windows on either side of this framing, nestled into the corners of the pediment, sitting above the second arched window from either side on the floors below it.
The cupola is painted white and made of wood. Only some of it is visible, both because of the way the frame of the picture crops out the rest of it and because of the tree branch with yellow leaves that is in the foreground of the photograph.
There are people walking around the outside of the building and some sitting on the steps just outside the center of the building. There are street lights scattered along the courtyard.
CREDIT: NPS/Jame Higgins
This old market building, first built in 1742, sits at the site of the old town dock. Town meetings, held here between 1764 and 1774, heard Samuel Adams and others lead cries of protest against the imposition of taxes on the colonies. The building was enlarged in 1806. Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Lucy Stone brought their struggles for freedom here in the nineteenth century. Market stalls on the first floor service shoppers much as they did in Paul Revere’s day.
IMAGE and TEXT: Paul Revere House
DESCRIPTION: The Paul Revere House is shown in this photograph. The House is made of wood and it has been painted blue grey. Totalling three stories in height, the House is rather small compared to modern houses today. From the view of this photograph, you can see a small triangle of the foundation. The widest part of the foundation triangle is on the left side of the house, with the longest sides of the triangle extend from left to right. There is a gutter that extends down the left side of the house from the second story to the ground below. The first floor has three rectangular shaped windows on it beginning from left to right. Each window has multiple panes of diamond shaped glass with metal in between each pane. The windows have blue grey shutters on either side that are rectangular shaped and would cover the windows completely if they were closed. After the third window, there is a wooden blue grey colored door. The door has a metal grate in the same size that can be closed over it.
The second story hangs over the first story by about 2 feet. At each end of the overhang, there are wooden decorations that hang down in the shape of a square with an attached globe. There are three sets of windows on the second story. Each window has the multiple panes of diamond shaped glass with metal in between each pane. Each pair is set evenly across the level. There is also a singular window of diamond shaped panes of glass with metal on the far right side. It is located approximately above the door on the first floor.
The roof of the Paul Revere House is covered with different colored grey shingles. In the far right part of the roof there is a red brick tower shaped chimney. There is a second chimney that rises on the right side on the back side of the house.
There is a red brick fence against the left side of the house that extends from the house out of the photograph to the left. It is about five feet high and has multiple layers of brick. It obscured most of the first story on the short side of the building. The side of the building that can be seen above the fence is shown in shadow so details are difficult to see. There is one window in the center of the wall on the second story. The third story, which is the attic and located between the roof lines on either side, overhangs the second story by about one foot. It has a window in the center of the triangle of the roof line, but you are unable to see many details.
The Paul Revere House is surrounded by other buildings, though you can only see very small parts of them. Most of these buildings are from the 19th or 20th century. The sidewalk in front of the house is made of red brick with a granite curb. There is a street light to the left of the house made of black metal and topped by a historic glass clear globe. In front of the sidewalk is a cobblestone paved road. This area can be incredibly uneven and slippery when wet. Please exercise caution when walking on the street.
CREDIT: Paul Revere Memorial Association
RELATED TEXT: Boston’s oldest residential neighborhood, the North End, includes the Paul Revere House, downtown Boston’s oldest residence, built about Sixteen eighty. Paul Revere and his family owned and occupied it most of the time from 1770 to eighteen hundred. The Paul Revere Memorial Association now operates it, along with the neighboring Pierce-Hichborn House, as a house museum. The association restored the dwelling in 1908 after it had been used as a cigar factory and bank, and for other purposes.
IMAGE and TEXT: Old North Church
DESCRIPTION: This photograph shows the Old North Church in the background with the Paul Revere Statue in front of it. These two sites are located very closely to each other. The Old North Church steeple rises in the background of the statue and a number of green, leafed trees. Because of the statue and trees, the viewer is unable to see the majority of the Old North Church. What is visible in the photograph is the top level of the red brick tower topped by a large white, wooden steeple. The part of the red brick tower that is facing the viewer has an arched window in the center. The window has many panes of glass and is edged in white wood. Where the steeple meets the tower there is a lintel, or a horizontal support of wood across the top of a door or window. There is a lintel between each level of the steeple. As the steeple gets taller, it also gets more narrow. The next level of the steeple has two windows that take up almost the entire section that is visible. These windows have many panes of glass and are edged in white wood. There are two small, skinny triangle shaped columns on the corners made of white wood. The final section of the steeple is the spire, or a tapering conical or pyramidal structure on the top of a building, made of white wood that is topped with a weather vane that is out of the photograph.
In front of Old North and the trees is a statue of Paul Revere. The statue is life sized and stands on a pedestal made of a brown stone. The statue is made of bronze and is dark brown in color. Paul Revere is shown riding a horse towards the east upon the pedestal. The horse has its front left leg raised at the knee to show movement. Paul Revere is sitting in a saddle on the horse and is shown looking down and to the right. He wears a tricorn hat, which is a style of hat that was popular during the 18th century. Tricornes had a rather broad brim, pinned up on either side of the head and at the back, producing a triangular shape. The hat was typically worn with one point facing forward, as is Revere’s hat in this photograph. He is shown wearing a jacket and trousers, but from this distance you cannot see much detail. His right arm is swept out away from his body with the palm facing towards the viewer.
CREDIT: NPS/Jame Higgins
RELATED TEXT: Built in 1723, Christ Church is better known as Old North. Boston’s oldest church building, it remains an active Episcopal Church. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow memorialized Old North’s role at the start of the Revolutionary War in his poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”
On the night of April 18, 1775, sexton Robert Newman hung two lanterns in the steeple to warn Charlestown patriots of advancing British soldiers. The Georgian style church houses the nation’s first maiden peal of bells and the first bust of George Washington.
IMAGE and TEXT: Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
DESCRIPTION: Shown in this photograph are three of the many gravestones that are inside Copp’s Hill Burying Ground. The gravestones are photographed in a row and at an angle so that the one on the left looks smaller than the one on the far right. The stones are made of slate, a light gray colored stone. The stones are shaped like a rectangle with rounded corners and a half circle at the top middle. All of the stones have carvings on them, most of which you cannot see on the first two stones due to the sunlight. The far most right stone shows a typical 19th century carving of a willow tree bending around the circle at the top and over an urn in the middle. The branches of the willow tree have small leaves that are placed at regular intervals coming off of the main branch. The urn, which is a covered vase has a somewhat narrowed neck above a rounded body and a footed pedestal. There is text carved into the stone below the urn and willow tree, but it is not readable in the photograph. There is a green leafed tree in the background of the photograph against a clear blue sky. Please note that these stones should not be touched due to their fragile nature. Gravestone rubbings are illegal in the city of Boston.
CREDIT: NPS/Jame Higgins
RELATED TEXT: From this spot British soldiers bombarded Breed’s Hill with cannon fire on June 17, 1775. Robert Newman, black educator Prince Hall, and blacks and mulattos who worked in North End shipyards are buried in these grounds dating to sixteen sixty.
IMAGE and TEXT: Bunker Hill Monument
This photograph shows the Bunker Hill Monument on the top of what appears to be a small grassy hill. The obelisk, a stone pillar that typically has a square shape and a pyramid top, takes up the majority of the photo frame, with the hill in a small portion of the foreground. The photograph is taken so that two faces of the obelisk are present in the frame, so as to show it's three dimensional shape The hill is framed by a small metal fence. On either side of the photo frame are trees. The deciduous trees and their full leafy branches extend into the sky, but only appear to be at most half the size of the towering monument overhead. The granite monument towers over the rest of the scene. At the very top of the monument, there are small square windows on each face of the monument in the center, just below the top of the obelisk.
CREDIT: NPS / James Higgins
RELATED TEXT: Dedicated in 1843, this 221-foot obelisk commemorates the Revolution's first major battle. Visitors may climb the monuments 294 steps. A museum across the street has exhibits about the community, monument, and battle.
IMAGE and TEXT: Charlestown Navy Yard/USS Constitution
DESCRIPTION: This photograph shows an elevated view of the USS Constitution which is berthed at the Charlestown Navy Yard. The port, or left side, of the ship is shown facing the visitor. The USS Constitution is a frigate that was built for the War of 1812. A frigate is a ship that is built for speed and maneuverability. The USS Constitution carried 54 cannon of various types for different kinds of fighting.
The USS Constitution is located in the center of this photo, floating in the Boston Harbor alongside Pier One. Where the ship meets the ocean water, there is a small glimpse of the copper sheathing around the hull, or main body of the ship. This protects it from rot and sea growth. The copper in the photo is still brown, not green. The ship itself is made of live oak, a very thick type of wood that is painted black for at least one deck. The gun deck, where the cannons of the ship are located, is painted white and has multiple openings for the cannons to fire out of. While only ten are visible, there are more on this side of the ship that are closed. The black paint is used again above these openings and up to the railing of the ship’s main deck. The main deck is difficult to see in this photograph because of the angle and the amount of items and people on it.
The USS Constitution has three masts that are located at the front, center, and back of the ship. The mast at the front of the ship is the Foremast. The second mast is the Mainmast and the third mast at the rear is the Mizzenmast. Each of these masts are painted white and are very tall. Extending at regular intervals from each of these masts are yards, which is a piece of horizontal wood from which the sails are set. Each mast has four yards, for a total of twelve on the ship. These yards begin about thirty feet off of the deck of the ship. There are lines, or rope, extending from the top of each mast down to the deck and also down to either the bow or the stern. This makes the ship look slightly like an organized, but messy knot of yarn.
The bow, or front of the ship, has a few items on it. From the water surface and up about three feet, it has white numbers painted onto it. These numbers help determine the depth of the water below the ship. Above that, extending from the hull and up the bow, there is a decorative black and white scroll. This is located in the place where a ship’s figurehead, a carved wooden decoration, would be. Above that, are the bowsprit, boom, and jib which extend about twenty feet from the main ship’s body at a forty five degree angle. These items are thinner than the masts but are what a number of the lines from the Foremast are attached to.
There is a small pier that is coming off of the port side near the rear of the ship which is the exit for visitors from the USS Constitution. The photograph shows many people walking along this wooden pier and down the gangway which has USS Constitution written on it. Behind the USS Constitution is Pier One and some of the buildings of the Charlestown Navy Yard. Pier One is made of grey concrete and is a wide open area in this photograph. The buildings are mostly obscured by the ship. In the distance are other buildings that are made of red brick and metal. The Boston Harbor is also shown in this photo and is a dark blue color. This photograph was taken on a sunny day with a few clouds in the sky.
CREDIT: NPS/Jame Higgins
RELATED TEXT:After the Revolution, citizens proved their willingness to defend their newfound freedom and economic independence by developing and supporting a navy. From eighteen hundred to 1974, Charlestown Navy Yard built, repaired, and outfitted US naval vessels. Today the yard is home to the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world, and the USS Constitution Museum. The USS Cassin Young, refitted and modernized in the yard’s drydock, represents the type of ship built here during World War Two.
OVERVIEW: Back side of brochure
The back of the brochure includes background information about the history of Boston and two maps for wayfinding on the subway and through the streets of Boston. There are no images associated with the historical background information. The maps for the subway and Boston are both in color.
The historical information takes up the top fold of the brochure. Most of the space of the front side of the brochure is given to the map of Boston and location of the Freedom Trail sites along the two and a half mile trail. To the left of the Boston map is general information on getting around the city. When in doubt, please call the Visitor Center for more information at six one seven two four two five six zero one. On the lower left side of the brochure is the subway map. While this map is useful for general planning, it does not include all the stops along the subway.
The front side of the brochure explains each of these sites in depth and also has more information on the history of Boston.
TEXT: Exploring Historic Boston
Exploring Historic Boston
In the 1870s, imbued with the spirit of the nation’s centennial, Bostonians began saving colonial and Revolutionary era buildings that were critical in the struggle against British rule. A century later, in 1974, Congress ensured the continuity of this effort and the preservation of important parts of America’s heritage by creating Boston National Historical Park.
Today the park is an association of sites ranging from steepled churches, grand meeting halls, and battlegrounds to America’s oldest commissioned warship. The park is distinctive, mixing historic buildings and landscapes owned by the city, the state, the federal government, and private organizations. Only three sites are owned by the federal government—the Charlestown Navy Yard, Bunker Hill Monument, and Dorchester Heights Monument.
Except for the Dorchester Heights Monument in South Boston, all of Boston National Historical Park’s historic sites are part of Boston’s Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a 2 and a half mile walking trail of 16 colonial, Revolutionary, and federal sites in downtown Boston and Charlestown that tells the story in four principal chapters (mentioned on the other side of this brochure) of the people, places, and events that sparked the American Revolution against England and highlights Boston’s role in laying the foundation for a new nation.
The Freedom Trail originated in 1951 when Old North Church sexton Bob Winn proposed to reporter Bill Schofield the creation of a trail to help visitors find Boston’s historic sites and to boost tourism. Schofield promoted the idea in his newspaper columns. In June 1951, with the support of Mayor John B. Hynes and the Chamber of Commerce, the city placed signs painted with a colonial rider directing visitors to 12 historic sites from the State House to Copp’s Hill Burying Ground.
Over the years the Freedom Trail has expanded and evolved. Today it is recognized as both a National Recreation Trail and a National Millennium Trail. It extends from Boston Common to the Charlestown Navy Yard and Bunker Hill and is marked by a line of contrasting bricks, red paint, and distinctive signage. A wide variety of private and public organizations oversee the welfare of the trail, including the city of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the National Park Service, and the Freedom Trail Foundation. Together these organizations have made the trail into an exciting, historical adventure and a vital part of Boston’s and the nation’s heritage. More than 1.5 million people walk the trail every year, discovering the Revolutionary past embedded in a major modern urban environment.
TEXT: Getting around
Boston is best seen on foot. Downtown traffic is usually heavy, and the street system is difficult for newcomers to negotiate. Park your car in a commercial parking garage downtown or at the Charlestown Navy Yard. Walk wherever possible or for longer distances, depend on the Rapid Transit System.
IMAGE and TEXT: Rapid transit system
DESCRIPTION: This map is a general wayfinding map of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. While it shows many of the stops along the routes, it does not include all stops along every line. Better known as the MBTA, it provides subway service throughout the Boston area. The MBTA does provide discounts for low or no sight visitors. If you're visiting from out of state and can provide the appropriate documentation, we will give you a temporary MBTA pass valid for 7 days of travel on the subway, bus, Commuter Rail, or ferry. Within 7 to 10 days of your application, you will also receive a permanent Blind Access Card valid for future visits to the Greater Boston area.
At the top of the map is the key for both this map and the main wayfinding map that is beside it. A red line on the ground indicates the Freedom Trail. A blue line on the ground marks the Black Heritage Trail. A grey filled in area indicates paid parking. Black marks in the general shape of the building or structure indicates the stops along the Freedom Trail. A blue triangle indicates places of significance for the Black Heritage Trail. The Subway is marked by a small colored rectangle in that line's color with a capital T in a white circle to mark the subway entrances' location. Each line is represented by its respective color. A question mark signifies places that you can obtain information. A sign with a simplified man and woman indicate where public restrooms are. A person in a wheelchair indicates sites that are wheelchair accessible.
The map is orientated in cardinal directions and depicts the five major lines of the subway. These lines are designated by different colors: Red, Orange, Green, Blue, and Silver. The Red Line begins in the north at Alewife station in Cambridge and travels through the following stops:
Harvard Square, location of Longfellow House Washington's Headquarters. Their site brochure is audio described. Harvard University is also located at this stop.
Park Street. The Red and Green lines cross here. This is where the Freedom Trail begins.
Downtown Crossing. The Red and Orange lines cross here.
Broadway. Dorchester Heights is located near here, but the tower is not open to the public.
JFK/UMass. The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is located near here.
After JFK/UMass, the Red line splits into the Mattapan Line with stops at Ashmont and ending at Mattapan. The other part of the Red Lind stops at Quincy Center. Adams National Historical Park is located here and then ends at Braintree in the south.
The Orange Line begins at Oak Grove in Malden and travels through the following stops:
North Station, where the Orange and Green lines cross.
State Street, where the Orange and Blue lines cross.
Downtown Crossing, where the Orange and Red lines cross.
Back Bay Station and the South End
Forest Hills. This is the terminal station for the Orange line at the south and is near the Franklin Park Zoo and the Arnold Arboretum.
The Green Line begins in Cambridge at Lechmere Station and travels through:
North Station, where the Green and Orange lines cross
Government Center, where the Green and Blue lines cross.
Park Street, where the Green and Red Lines cross. This station is at the beginning of the Freedom Trail.
The Green line splits into four different spokes: the B, C, D, and E branches.
The B branch continues to Hynes Center ICA then Kenmore by Fenway Park, Boston University, and ends at Boston College.
The C branch continues to Hynes Center ICA then Kenmore by Fenway Park, then Coolidge Corner where the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site is located, and ends at Cleveland Circle.
The D branch continues to Hynes Center ICA the Kenmore by Fenway Park, then Brookline Hills where Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site is located and ends at Riverside.
The E branch continues to Prudential towards Symphony and then to Museum of Fine Arts, where the Museum of Fine Arts is located, and ends at Heath Street.
The Blue line begins in Revere at Wonderland Station and travels through the Airport stop where Logan Airport is located then to State Street where it crosses the Orange line. It continues to Government Center where it crosses the Green line.
The Silver line begins in Roxbury at Dudley Square in the south and travels north and east through Boston with stops at Downtown Crossing, Marine Industrial Park, the Airport Terminals, and City Point.
For the most up to date maps, information about schedules, and fares, please visit w w w dot m b t a dot com.
RELATED TEXT: The “T” consists of the Red, Green, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines (see map below). Most stops within Boston proper are named for streets and squares and are marked with a sign bearing the transit logo.
Take MBTA routes 92 and 93 between Boston and Charlestown. To reach Charlestown from downtown, catch one of these buses at Haymarket station north of Faneuil Hall and get off at City Square Park (the first stop after crossing Charlestown Bridge).
It is a short walk to either the navy yard or Bunker Hill. Catch the return bus at City Square Park in front of John Harvard Mall. Exact change required. A water shuttle runs often between Pier 3 at Charlestown Navy Yard and Long Wharf in downtown Boston near the Aquarium rapid transit station.
TEXT: Other points of interest
This section briefly describes the Boston African American National Historic Site, the Black Heritage Trail®, and Dorchester Heights in the Boston area that might be of interest to park visitors.
TEXT: Boston African American National Historic Site
This site explores the history of Beacon Hill’s black community in the eighteen hundreds.
TEXT: Black Heritage Trail®
The trail begins at the Shaw Memorial opposite the State House. Black and brown signs identify sites, including the African Meeting House and the Abiel Smith School. Brochures are available at the park visitor center.
TEXT: Dorchester Heights
A marble tower in Thomas Park in South Boston commemorates the American actions that brought about the British evacuation of Boston on March 17, 1776. This bloodless triumph was the first victory for the Continental Army under George Washington.
The monument was built in colonial revival style in 1902. Designed to resemble a colonial meeting house spire, the tower offers a commanding view of Boston and its harbor. The grounds are open during daylight hours.
Dorchester Heights is two miles from downtown Boston. To reach the site by public transportation, take the subway (Red Line) to Broadway Station. Here board MBTA Bus 9 (City Point) and get off at G Street. Walk uphill to the Heights.
By car, cross into South Boston on the Congress Street Bridge. Turn right onto A Street, then left onto West Broadway. Follow Broadway to G Street and turn right. The monument is on the left.
MAP: Downtown Boston
This wayfinding map, entitled "Getting Around" provides directions along the Freedom Trail and Black Heritage Trail, two different historic trails that go through downtown Boston. The Black Heritage Trail, a 1.6 mile long trail linking sites together that discuss abolition history, is marked in blue. The Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile long trail linking sites together that discuss the American Revolution in Boston, is marked in Red. Parts of the walking route are on wide sidewalks, narrow sidewalks, flat streets, hills, and narrow sidewalks with many obstacles such as trees, baby carriages parked outside of homes, and trash on pick up day. There are also many frost heaves that can trip you. You will have to cross many busy streets - please use appropriate cross walks. Please exercise caution while walking through the neighborhood. There is no tactile map available.
To the left of the map is the legend with symbols for Wayfinding. Wayfinding symbols include the Black Heritage trail, (a blue line), specific sites for the Black Heritage Trail, (a small blue triangle), the Freedom Trail, (a red line), and the Rapid Transit stops, a bold black "T" against a white background surrounded by a black thin line circle. This symbol is seen over two different stripes of color which indicate the color of the Rapid Transit line.
The Freedom Trail begins in the Boston Common Visitor Center. The trail then goes northeast for 95 feet before turning left to continue due north on the sidewalk for 525 feet. The trail goes up a staircase and to the right, where the Robert Gould Shaw, 54th Massachusetts Regiment Memorial is located. It is at this point that two trails diverge, allowing visitors to choose whether they follow the Black Heritage Trail or continue following the Freedom Trail.
The Black Heritage Trail begins at the Robert Gould Shaw, 54th Massachusetts Regiment Memorial which is located 95 feet west of the intersection of Park Street and Beacon Street. The Trail then goes west down Beacon Street for two tenths of a mile and crosses the street at the intersection of Joy Street. The route then goes north on Joy Street for one tenth of a mile and passes Mount Vernon Street before turning left onto Pinckney Street. 50 feet from the intersection of Pinckney and Joy streets is the George Middleton House, evident as it is the wooden structure painted dark brown. The trail goes west on Pinckney Street for three tenths of a mile and passes by Anderson Street on the right, and at this intersection is the Phillips School. The trail continues along Pinckney Street, passing Louisburg Square on the left, and West Cedar Street on the left. At the intersection of West Cedar Street and Pinckney Street is the John J. Smith House. The trail continues down Pinckney street before turning left onto Cedar Lane Way. The trail travels south on Cedar Lane Way for three hundred fifty eight feet before turning to the right to face the west on Mount Vernon Street. At this intersection of Charles Street and Mount Vernon Street is the Charles Street Meeting House. The trail will then travel one hundred fifteen feet before turning right on Charles Street and travel one tenth of a mile north. The trail passes through Pinckney Street before turning right onto Revere Street. The trail travels east on Revere Street for one hundred forty feet before turning left onto West Cedar Street. It travels two hundred eight feet north before turning right onto Phillips Street for two tenths of a mile east. Along Phillips Street, the trail will Pass the Lewis and Harriet Hayden House and the John Coburn House. Turning left onto Irving Street, the trail goes three hundred feet north before turning right onto Cambridge Street for three hundred ten feet. A right hand turn onto Joy Street will bring you south three hundred seventy feet to a right onto Smith Court where a walk of seventy feet will bring you to the entrance to the Museum of African American History located at the Abiel Smith School.
The Freedom Trail continues to the Massachusetts State House, located directly across Beacon street from the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial. The trail proceeds 95 feet to the east, to the intersection of Park Street and Beacon Street, continuing another 15 feet east to first cross Park Street. Here the trail splits in two once more to provide direction to the entrance of the State House. One section continues 15 feet north to cross Beacon Street. Upon crossing Beacon Street, the trail continues straight until it reaches the Joseph Hooker Entrance to the State House. The trail also continues southeast down Park Street. The trail travels southeast along Park Street for 660 feet, until coming to the intersection of Park Street and Tremont Street. The Park Street Church is located at this intersection, directly across the street from the Boston Common. The trail crosses Park Street and continues northeast on Tremont Street for 800 feet. The trail passes the Park Street Church and Granary Burying Ground. 660 feet from the intersection of Park and Tremont is the intersection of Tremont, Beacon, and School Streets. The trail crosses Beacon Street, then turns right to cross Tremont Street. The main trail continues southeast on School Street for 660 feet. A spur turns left and continues about fifty feet along Tremont street and then turns Right into the Kings Chapel Burying Ground. Along School Street, the trail passes Kings Chapel, the first public school site and Ben Franklin statue. School street bisects Washington Street, and at this intersection is what used to be the Old Corner Book Store. The trail travels 130 feet southeast to the cross walk along Washington Street, where it turns eastward and crosses Washington Street. At this point the trail is directly in front of the Old South Meeting House. The trail continues to the left down Washington Street to the northeast, and eventually to the north as the street turns, extending itself along Washington Street for about 800 feet. This brings the trail to the Old State House. The trail turns due east for 130 feet, and then due north for 130 feet as it travels around the Old State House and across the cross walk running across State street. The trail turns once again and makes its way due east 130 feet along the crosswalk across Congress Street. Note that the intersection of Congress and State Streets is a major intersection, please proceed with caution and use the pedestrian button to notify the traffic lights that a pedestrian is waiting to cross the street. Upon crossing Congress street, the trail follows Congress Street 400 feet heading north. The trail goes around the outside of the Faneuil Hall Historic Site and Visitor Center; proceeding east for 260 feet, then north for 130 feet, and then west for 130 feet. The trail turns north for 660 feet, following Union Street and then by taking a slight right hand turn and following Marshall Street. The trail turns right to face the northeast and crosses Blackstone Street. At Surface road the trail turns left and crosses Hanover Street and then turns right to cross Surface road, entering the Rose Kennedy Greenway on a curved path north for one tenth of a mile. The trail turns right to the northeast to cross Cross Street at Salem street. The trail turns to the right and extends southeast for 130 feet to the intersection of Cross Street and Hanover Street. The trail then turns to the northeast and travels along Hanover Street for one tenth of a mile. At the intersection of Hanover Street and Richmond Street, the trail crosses Richmond then turns to the right to cross Hanover. The trail extends to the southeast and travels along Richmond Street for 260 feet. At the intersection of Richmond Street and North Street, The trail turns left onto North Street and travels northeast for 800 feet until North Street ends. At this point, to the right of the trail is Rachel Revere Park, and to the left of the trail is the Paul Revere House. When North Street ends, the trail continues on the left hand side, headed northwest along Prince Street for 130 feet. The trail turns right onto Hanover Street and continues northeast for one tenth of a mile. After one tenth of a mile, the Paul Revere Mall will be on the left hand side. The trail turns left to face the Paul Revere Mall and continues across Hanover Street and through the Paul Revere Mall headed northwest for one tenth of a mile, until it bisects Unity Street. At this bisection is the Old North Church. The trail goes around the Old North Church, by turning left and going southwest for 10 feet, turning right and continuing northwest for 130 feet, and turning right again and continuing northeast for 50 feet. The trail turns to face the northwest and travels northwest along Hull Street for two tenths of a mile. After two tenths of a mile, Hull Street bisects Commercial Street. The trail turns left onto Commercial Street, and proceeds southwest for 350 feet. The trail turns right onto North Washington street, facing northwest and crossing Commercial Street. It proceeds along North Washington for four tenths of a mile, crossing the Charles River over a bridge. After the crossing North Washington intersects with Chelsea Street.
Here, the trail splits once again. One branch of the trail continues ahead, leading visitors to Bunker Hill. The other branch splits to the right, leading visitors to the Charlestown Navy Yard. The trail that continues ahead goes through City Square Park, curving along a path that takes the trail from facing north west to northeast over a pathway that is about two tenths of a mile. After crossing through the park, the trail meets up with Main Street, and follows Main Street for 475 feet as Main Street curves from facing north to northwest. At this point, the trail turns right on Winthrop Street and continues northeast along Winthrop Street for one tenth of a mile. Training field will be on the right, and the trail detours through the field. It continues along an unnamed pathway east for about 150 feet, and then north for about 200 feet, until reaching the three way intersection of Winthrop and Adams Streets. The trail continues north along Winthrop Street for another 250 feet, until reaching Monument Square. At Monument Square the trail heads northeast and at the crossing of Monument Avenue the Bunker Hill Museum entrance is at the left. The trail turns northwest and crosses Monument Square toward the Bunker Hill Monument. The trail climbs stairs into the park. The Monument is in the center of the square park.
The trail that splits to the right follows Chelsea Street heading northeast for one tenth of a mile, and turns to the right to travel southeast down Warren Street for about 150 feet, bringing the trail to the start of Constitution Road. The trail crosses Constitution Road and turns left. It follows Constitution Road to the northeast for one tenth of a mile until the trail reaches Gate 1 of the Charlestown Navy Yard. Here the trail once again gives visitors two choices. The trail continues straight through Gate 1, leading to the Charlestown Navy Yard Visitor Center, USS Constitution, and USS Cassin Young on the right hand side, and the USS Constitution Museum straight ahead. The trail also turns to the left, following Contitution Road for about 400 feet until it bisects Chelsea Street. The trail then crosses Chelsea Street, and follows Chestnut Street on the right hand side to the north for 300 feet and then Adams Street for one tenth of a mile, until reaching the aforementioned three way intersection of Adams and Winthrop Streets. This connects you with the rest of the trail leading to Monument Square.
The sites along the Freedom Trail have varying levels of accessibility. It is best to contact each location individually to obtain the most up to date information.
For the National Park Sites, the following brochures are currently audio described:
The Freedom Trail
The Black Heritage Trail
Bunker Hill Monument
Plans are in place to audio describe the brochure for Faneuil Hall and possibly others. We will update this space as each brochure is completed.
We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information go to a visitor center, ask a ranger, call, or check our website.
OVERVIEW: More Information
Boston National Historic Park is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks and National Park Service programs in America’s communities, visit www.nps.gov.
Start your journey by getting information at Boston National Historic Park, Charlestown Navy Yard. Or contact: