Boston National Historical Park
|Boston National Historical Park|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Former Visitor Center
|Location||Boston, Massachusetts, USA|
|Nearest city||Boston, MA|
|Area||43 acres (17 ha)|
|Established||October 1, 1974|
|Visitors||2,546,156 (in 2011)|
|Governing body||National Park Service|
The Boston National Historical Park is an association of sites that showcase Boston's role in the American Revolution. It was designated a national park on October 1, 1974. Seven of the eight sites are connected by the Freedom Trail, a walking tour of downtown Boston.
Several of the sites within the park are neither owned nor operated by the National Park Service, and operate through cooperative agreements established upon the park's creation. The park service also operates visitor centers in downtown Boston and at the Charlestown Navy Yard, as well as the Bunker Hill Museum, not far from the Bunker Hill Monument. All eight properties are National Historic Landmarks.
Bunker Hill Monument
The Bunker Hill Monument, located at the top of Breed's Hill in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston, is a granite obelisk that was constructed in the mid-19th century to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill, fought June 17, 1775. The property is owned and administered by the National Park Service. The park service also operates the nearby Bunker Hill Museum.
The Charlestown Navy Yard is located on the southern edge of Charlestown on the banks of the Charles River. Used during the American Revolutionary War as a shipyard, it continued to serve as a base of the United States Navy until 1975, when the Navy turned the property over to the National Park Service. The Yard is home to the USS Constitution (the oldest floating commissioned naval vessel in the world), and the USS Cassin Young, a destroyer from the Second World War that is now operated as a museum ship.
The park service also owns and operates Dorchester Heights, a key location that was fortified by General George Washington in March 1776, compelling the British to withdraw from Boston and ending the Siege of Boston. A monument was erected on the site in 1902. Located in South Boston, Dorchester Heights is the only site in the park that is not on the Freedom Trail.
Faneuil Hall was first constructed in the 1740s, and was the site of important pro-independence speeches. The hall is owned and operated by the city of Boston, with the park service offering tours of the facility.
Old North Church
The Old North Church, built in 1723, was the location where Paul Revere had signal lanterns lit on the night of April 18, 1775, prior to his "midnight ride" that led to the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the start of the revolutionary war. The church, the oldest operating in Boston, has an Episcopalian congregation, which owns and operates the building.
Old South Meeting House
The Old South Meeting House, built in 1729 was the site of numerous pre-revolutionary meetings, including one, attended by a crowd estimated at more than 5,000, on the evening prior to the Boston Tea Party in December 1773. It served as a church until 1877, when it became a museum operated by a nonprofit organization dedicated to its preservation.
Old State House
The Old State House is the oldest municipal building in Boston. Built in 1713, it was the seat of the colonial government, and afterward the state government, until 1798. The Boston Massacre took place just in front of the building. In 1881 it was saved from destruction by the Bostonian Society, which was formed specifically to preserve it. The society still operates the City owned building as a museum. The Boston Massacre is reenacted regularly under the society's auspices.
Paul Revere House
Now owned and operated by the Paul Revere Memorial Association, the Paul Revere House is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Boston. It was built in 1680, and was purchased by Paul Revere in 1770. It is now a museum.
Park Service activities
The National Park Service, in addition to managing its properties that are part of the park, operates visitor centers at Faneuil Hall (1st Floor) and at the Navy Yard. It offers guided tours of the Freedom Trail and the USS Cassin Young. The Navy offers tours of the USS Constitution.
- National Park Service website for the park
- National Park Service Salem, Massachusetts website
- Freedom Trail Foundation - official website of the Freedom Trail
- Paul Revere House - official website
- Bostonian Society - official website of the Old State House
- Old South Meeting House - official website
- Old North Church - official website
- Faneuil Hall - City of Boston website