In 1860, American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, penned the following lines, the opening of his most famous poem, "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere":
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."
Had Longfellow not written this poem, Boston resident Paul Revere may have faded into history. On April 18th, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren instructed Revere and William Dawes to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts to warn John Hancock and Sam Adams that British troops were coming to arrest them. He asked that a signal be given to the Charlestown militia so that they would know if the Red Coats would arrive by land or by sea. To alert the militia, one or two lanterns would be hung in the North Church belfry depending on the movement of the British army. The men hanging the lanterns were Robert Newman, the church sexton and Captain John Pulling. It is believed that a third man, Thomas Bernard, stood watch for British troops outside of the church. Find out how many lanterns were hung that night ... did the British come by land or by sea?
|The Old North Church|
The North Church, officially Christ Church, also became famous because of Longfellow's poem. Established in 1723, the church still holds services today. It is the oldest active church in Boston and the oldest standing church building in the city.
This plaque, commemorates Paul Revere's efforts to warn the militia of the arrival of the British army. In the photograph below, you can see the interior of the church. The box pews, encased in wood, have the names of the Colonial owners attached to the entry of the pews. Families would sit together in their box pew. In the bitter Boston winters, the boxes held in heat and kept parishioners warmer during the cold winter months before there was central heating.
|The interior of North Church|
|This statue of Paul Revere is located behind the North Church.|
|The Bunker Hill Memorial commemorates the battle that took place on June 17, 1775. The 221-foot obelisk reminds us of those who lost their lives early in the War for Independence.|
|The Longfellow House|
|The garden behind the Longfellow house|
|U.S.S. Constitution--"Old Ironsides"|
From Boston Harbor you can see downtown Boston in the distance.