Old North Church - History and Facts | History Hit

Old North Church

Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Old North Church played a vital role in igniting the American Revolution and is part of the Freedom Trail.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Old North Church

Old North Church is Boston’s oldest church, having been built in 1723 in the Georgian style. Originally called Christ’s Church, Old North Church was also the tallest building in Boston at the time and thus came to serve an important role in the American Revolution.

Old North Church history

The Old North Church was built in December 1723, inspired by the works of Christopher Wren, the British architect who was responsible for rebuilding London after the Great Fire in 1666.

In the eighteenth century, the British began confiscating American weapons in fear that increasing tension relating to their rule would lead to revolution. On 18 April 1775, British soldiers planned to travel via the Charles River to surprise suspected arms hoarders and confiscate more weapons. However, discovering the plan, silversmith Paul Revere was tasked with alerting his fellow Bostonians, which he did on his famous Midnight Ride.

Before Revere left however, the caretaker of Old North Church, Robert Newman, agreed to hold lanterns up from the church steeple as a sign just in case Revere was captured before he could deliver the message. Newman held the lanterns for just a brief time, but it was enough for both the Americans and the British to see, prompting an attempt to arrest Newman. The events of that day served as the catalyst of the American Revolution.

Old North Church today

Today Old North Church is still an operating Episcopal house of worship as well as a museum where visitors can admire its architecture and see the window from which Newman fled from the British that fateful night. One can also hear the tolling of the oldest bells in America.

There are plenty of activites and tours available at Old North Church. The chapel also hosts numerous academic events including speeches and seminars from leading historians and architects.

The Church also runs a ‘Historic Chocolate Programme’, which offer visitors the opportunity to touch, taste, smell, and experience 18th-century chocolate as it was enjoyed by some of Boston’s most famous Revolutionary-era patriots.

Getting to Old North Church

Located on Salem Street, Old North Church comprises part of The Freedom Trail in Boston. Parking is extremely limited around this area.

The nearest car parks are North End Garage, LAZ Parking Garage and Lewis Wharf Parking Garage. All three garages are within a 5 minute walking distance of the Church.

If travelling by Subway, the nearest stations to Old North Church are Haymarket or North Station.


Featured In

Revolutionary War Sites

Discover a host of historical sites linked to the American Revolutionary War, from the Freedom Trail to Yorktown Battlefield and more.