Freedom Trail

Freedom Trail

Special markers implanted in the sidewalk denote the stops along the Freedom Trail
Established 1951
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Designation National Millennium Trail
Trailheads Boston Common to Bunker Hill Monument 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 is a 2.5-mile-long (4.0 km) path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts that passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States. Marked largely with brick, it winds between Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. Stops along the trail include simple explanatory ground markers, graveyards, notable churches and buildings, and a historic naval frigate. While most of the sites are free or suggest donations, the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House, and the Paul Revere House charge admission. The Freedom Trail is overseen by the City of Boston's Freedom Trail Commission[1] and is supported in part by grants from various nonprofits and foundations, private philanthropy, and Boston National Historical Park.

The Freedom Trail was originally conceived by local journalist William Schofield, who in 1951 suggested building a pedestrian trail to link together important local landmarks. Boston mayor John Hynes decided to put Schofield's idea into action. By 1953, 40,000 people were walking the trail annually.[2]

The National Park Service operates a visitor's 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 United States history.

Some observers have noted the tendency of the Freedom Trail's narrative frame to omit certain historical locations, such as the sites of the Boston Tea Party and the Liberty Tree.[3]

Members of the Boy Scouts of America who hike or camp along the Freedom Trail may be eligible for the Historic Trails Award.[4]

The Freedom Trail appeared in Bethesda's Fallout 4 (2015).

Official trail sites

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

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


  1. "Freedom Trail". City of Boston. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  2. 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
  3. Alfred F. Young (21 Mar 2004), "The Trouble with the Freedom Trail", Boston Globe
  4. "The Freedom Trail". Boston Minuteman Council. Retrieved 2010-07-04.

Further reading

  • Bahne, Charles (2005). The Complete Guide to Boston's Freedom Trail (Guidebook) (3rd ed.). Cambridge, Mass: Newtowne Pub. ISBN 978-0961570521. 
  • Booth, Robert (2008). Pietrzyk, Cindi, ed. Boston's Freedom Trail, Trace the Path of American History (Guidebook). Jack Frost (8th ed.). Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot. ISBN 9780762747696. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  • MacQuarrie, Brian (January 30, 1996). "Freedom Trail is fading: Consultant says route past city's historic sites needs overhaul to draw tourists". Boston Globe. 
  • Mead, Philip (2007). "Walking the Freedom Trail: Some lessons from Iraq". Common Place. 8 (1). 
  • Schofield, William G. (1988). Freedom by the Bay: The Boston Freedom Trail. Wellesley, MA: Branden Books. ISBN 9780828319225. Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  • Young, Alfred F. (2003). "Revolution in Boston? Eight Propositions for Public History on the Freedom Trail". The Public Historian. 25 (2). 
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Coordinates: 42°21′35.85″N 71°3′24.32″W / 42.3599583°N 71.0567556°W / 42.3599583; -71.0567556

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