Freedom Trail

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Freedom Trail
Established 1951
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Designation National Millennium Trail
Trailheads Boston Common to USS Constitution in Charlestown
Use Walking, History
Hiking details
Trail difficulty easy
Sights 16 historical sites
Surface brick
Freedom Trail marker through a red brick sidewalk
Freedom Trail next to Faneuil Hall
The Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long (4.0 km) red (mostly brick) path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts, that leads to 16 significant historic sites. It ranges from Boston Common to the USS Constitution in Charlestown. Simple ground markers explaining events, graveyards, notable churches and other buildings, and a historic naval frigate, are stops along the way. Most sites are free; Old South Meeting House, Old State House, and Paul Revere House have small admission fees; still others suggest donations. The Freedom Trail is overseen by the City of Boston's "Freedom Trail Commission."[1] and supported in part by the Freedom Trail Foundation[2] and Boston National Historical Park.

The trail was originally conceived by local journalist William Schofield, who since 1951 had promoted the idea of a pedestrian trail to link together important local landmarks. John Hynes, the mayor of Boston, decided to put Schofield's idea into action. By 1953, 40,000 people annually were enjoying the sites and history on the Freedom Trail.[3]

In 1974, Boston National Historical Park was established. The National Park Service operates a Visitor Center on the first floor of Faneuil Hall, where they offer tours, give out free maps of the Freedom Trail and other historic sites, and sell books about Boston and US history. Today, people walk on the red path of the Freedom Trail to learn about important events in the American colonists' efforts to gain independence from Great Britain.

Some observers have noted the tendency of the Freedom Trail's narrative frame to omit important historical elements, such as the site of the Tea Party or the site of the Liberty Tree.[4]

Members of the Boy Scouts of America who hike or camp along the Freedom Trail may be eligible for the Historic Trails Award.[5]

Official trail sites[edit]

  1. Boston Common
  2. Massachusetts State House
  3. Park Street Church
  4. Granary Burying Ground
  5. King's Chapel
  6. King's Chapel Burying Ground
  7. Benjamin Franklin statue and former site of the first public school, Boston Latin School
  8. Old Corner Bookstore
  9. Old South Meeting House
  10. Old State House
  11. Site of the Boston Massacre
  12. Faneuil Hall
  13. Paul Revere House
  14. Old North Church
  15. Copp's Hill Burying Ground
  16. Bunker Hill Monument
  17. USS Constitution

The Black Heritage Trail crosses the Freedom Trail between Massachusetts State House and Park Street Church.


  1. ^ "Freedom Trail". City of Boston. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ The Freedom Trail Foundation website
  3. ^ O'Connor, Thomas H. (1993), Building a new Boston: politics and urban renewal, 1950-1970, Boston: Northeastern University Press, ISBN 1-55553-161-X, 155553161X 
  4. ^ Alfred F. Young (21 Mar 2004), "The Trouble with the Freedom Trail", Boston Globe 
  5. ^ "The Freedom Trail". Boston Minuteman Council. Retrieved 2010-07-04. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°21′35.85″N 71°3′24.32″W / 42.3599583°N 71.0567556°W / 42.3599583; -71.0567556