Day 56, Sunday, September 9, 2018
Boston Freedom Trail, Boston, Massachusetts
Stop 9: Old State House
The Old State House was built in Boston in 1713 to house the colony’s government. It was also at the center of many of the pivotal moments leading up to the American Revolution.
In 1761, James Otis gave a speech against the Writs of Assistance, which allowed Royal customs officials to search for smuggled goods without cause. In 1768 the colony’s House of Representatives defied England by refusing to rescind their call for united resistance to taxes enacted by the British. That lead to the occupation of Boston.
In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read from the balcony of the Old State House, and the building became home to the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The lion and the unicorn atop the facade are reproductions. The original lion and unicorn, which are symbols of royal authority, were removed and burned after the Declaration of Independence was read here.
Today the building houses a Revolutionary Museum (that I would love to go back and visit).
Stop 10: Boston Massacre Site
The British occupation of Boston began in 1768. By 1770, tensions were high, and fist fights and other altercations occurred with some regularity. On March 5, 1770, Private White, struck Edward Garrick in the face with the butt of his musket for insulting Private White’s superior officer.
That lead to a mob throwing snowballs and yelling. A regiment of Redcoats arrived to get White out of there, and they had to force their way through a group of several hundred angry colonists. According to witness accounts, a colonist threw a club, which hit Private Montgomery. Montgomery fired the first shot. The crowd did not disperse, and several more shots were fired. You know the rest; five men were killed.
Interestingly, John Adams was the defense attorney for the soldiers; all but two were acquitted of all charges.
Stop 11: Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall was built in 1742 as a center of commerce. It was designed with market stalls on the first floor and a meeting hall on the second floor, and remains this way today.
In 1764 American’s first protested against the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act, which set the stage for what we now call, “no taxation without representation.” The funeral for the victims of the Boston Massacre was held here.
Our walking tour ended here, right at lunchtime, so Clara and I checked out the meeting hall upstairs. Then we decided to get lunch in one of the market stalls in the Quincy Market next door; they had excellent lobster rolls. They were so delicious!
We also did a bit of shopping in the stalls, and spent some time outside watching a busker who was an escape artist. It was fun to watch him!
Stop 12: Paul Revere House
Paul Revere purchased this home in 1770 when he was 35 years old. By that time the home was already about 90 years old, because it was built around 1680. Revere lived here when he went on his famous night ride to Lexington to warn the colonial troops that the British army was on it’s way.
Revere, a silversmith by trade, had a huge family. Revere’s first wife Sarah died giving birth to their eighth child, and his second wife Rachel had another eight children! Several of these children grew up in this home, along with Revere’s mother. The home served as a boardinghouse and tenement in the 19th century, and was saved by the Paul Revere Memorial Association in the early 1900s. It has operated as a historic house museum since 1908!
Clara and I decided to tour the home for $6, and it was fascinating to see a home built in 1680 and a place where one of our pivotal American heroes lived. Sadly, no photos are permitted inside. According to the museum website, about 90% of the home’s building materials are original, although they had to renovate to return the home to what it likely looked like when Revere lived here. There is a lot of good information on their website.
We also saw a religious parade in this Italian neighborhood. Several men had religious icons held aloft, and they were decorated with bills. There was a band playing behind them. I never did figure out what they were celebrating. I looked to see what Catholic saint’s days were September 9; Saint Peter Claver is the only one who came up, but he was a Spaniard from the region of Catalonia, so that doesn’t make a lot of sense. If you know what it was about, please let me know!