Greater Boston sites of the Revolution
In addition to sites along the designated Freedom Trail, these are a collection of historic sites we covered in our publication Boston Lexington, Concord, Cambridge, and Dorchester
Long Wharf was the most bustling pier in North America’s busiest port of Boston. The “long” wharf was reduced in size when the waterfront’s face was changed in the 1800s. The wharf extended from the rear of Quincy Marketplace and was the center of commercial activity in Boston. Long Wharf was the landing point for the British Redcoats on October 1, 1768 and June 1, 1774 when they occupied Boston to intimidate and enforce submission to tyrannical designs of the British Crown and the Tories in Parliament. The incoming Governor in 1774, General Thomas Gage, was greeted at Long Wharf when he arrived. Today, the Long Wharf is a very active recreational area where boats and ferries arrive adjacent to the New England Aquarium and the beautiful Long Wharf hotel.
Griffin’s Wharf was the location of the Boston Tea Party in 1773 (cover story). A new interactive museum opened in 2012 at Griffin’s Wharf where visitors can relive one of the United States most significant events. The museum is located on the Congress St. Bridge and, not far from South Station.
The Liberty Tree stood in Hanover Square at Essex St. and Orange St., which is in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood today at Essex St. and Washington St. This great elm tree stood in a deacon’s yard and was a gathering spot for townspeople. A protest to the Stamp Act began under the branches, which marked the formation of the True Sons of Liberty. The Stamp Master of Massachusetts Bay was also forced to resign at the tree. Grand annual anniversary banquets for the Sons of Liberty were held under the branches. In 1775, a British soldier who despised the cause of Liberty chopped the tree down. Unfortunately, a park which was planned in the 1960s never came to life and a plaque on the third level is the most significant marking today. However, the importance of this tree cannot be overstated.
The Hancock-Clarke House west of Boston in Lexington was the residence Paul Revere rode to on his Midnight Ride. Adams and Hancock were residing in Lexington at the residence of Hancock’s grandfather, a reverend with the same name. When 700 British Redcoats were believed to be traveling to Concord and Lexington to search for Hancock and Adams, Paul Revere alerted the leaders that the Regulars were coming! Located at 36 Hancock St. in Lexington, the museum is open through October 31st and is open from 10- 4 with hourly tours.
The Lexington Green was the site of the first shots fired in the War of the American Revolution by British Redcoats at dawn on April 19, 1775. In the center of Lexington, on the town green, Captain John Parker and his company of Minutemen faced the Redcoats and lost 8 lives.
The Old North Bridge in Concord was the location of the “Shot Heard Round the World,” as coined in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Concord Hymm.” the British Redcoats marched from Lexington to Concord to search for supplies. At the North Bridge in Concord, Minutemen from surrounding towns retaliated from the shots in Lexington and killed three British Redcoats. A Nation Park Service visitor center is open near the bright from 9- 5 through early November at 174 Liberty St. in Concord.
The Massachusetts Provincial Congress convened for the first time at a meetinghouse in Concord with John Hancock as President in 1774. This was the first autonomous government body of the thirteen colonies. The meetinghouse was destroyed by fire around 1900. A plaque with the following memorial exists today: “The First Provincial Congress of Delegates from the Towns of Massachusetts was called by conventions of the people to meet at Concord on the 11th day of October, 1774. The Delegates assembled here in the Meeting House on that day and organized with John Hancock, as President, and Benjamin Lincoln, as Secretary. Called together to maintain the rights of the people, the Congress assumed the Government of the Province and by its measures prepared the way for the War of the Revolution.” 20 Lexington Road, Concord MA.
Cambridge Common, neighboring Harvard Square, was the location where George Washington raised his sword and assumed command of the newly formed Continental Army on July 4, 1775. A plaque exists as a memorial to the Washington Elm tree. An- other plaque marks the spot where Henry Knox arrived with cannons from Fort Ticonderoga in an epic expedition.
The Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site was the residence for George Washington, Commander-In-Chief of the Continental Army. The home was later the residence of the famed American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for almost 50 years. The house now exists as a museum located on Brattle St. less than a 10 minute walk from Harvard Square. Free tours are held Wednesday through Sunday at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00.
Dorchester Heights was fortified by the Patriots in 1776 which brought an end to the Siege of Boston and forced the Redcoats to evacuate. Today, Dorchester Heights is the central point of South Boston. It is the highest point of South Boston where a 115 foot monument stands as a memorial.Fort Independence - Castle William, located on Castle Island in South Boston, was a safe barracks for British Crown officials while Boston was in unrest from 1765 through 1776, although there was not a single person was killed by Patriots before the war officially began on April 19, 1775. Redcoats were forced to evacuate after Patriots fortified Dorchester Heights, and they set fire to Castle William. It was soon rebuilt, and is known today as Fort Independence. Free guided tours are available, and it is a great park to enjoy a nice day in Boston.
The Liberty Trail
- The Old State House
- Faneuil Hall
- The Granary Burying Ground
- Boston Common
- The Old South Meeting House
- The Paul Revere House
- The Old North Church
- The Bunker Hill Monument
- Long Wharf
- The Liberty Tree
- The Green Dragon Tavern
- Griffin’s Wharf