The Old State House
After you leave the Old South Meeting House backtrack down Washington Street, past the Old Books Store, on to State Street. Turn right and you’ll see the grand Old State House. This beautiful building, at nearly 300 years old, is the oldest public building left standing in the original 13 colonies. Here was the official seat of the Royal Governor of the Massachusetts Colony. This is also where the elected representative from the colony met to debate the actions of the Crown. On July 18, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was first read from its balcony. In attendance was Abigail Adams, who wrote to her husband, “Great attention was given to every word…As soon as the reading ended three cheers rended the air.” Today the building has a museum of Revolution artifacts.
Boston Massacre site marker
In front of the State House is the marker to the site of the “Boston Massacre.” In 1770 tensions were high between Bostonians and the Redcoats as new taxes were imposed. Often angry confrontations would take place. On March 5th a British sentry left his post and struck Edward Garrick with the butt of his musket. The sentry was soon surrounded by a mob that threw snowballs and rocks at him. Captain Preston arrived with eight soldiers to help. As they forced their way through the crowd, that had grown to several hundred, they were also attacked with rocks and clubs. Shots rang out and five men lay dead. Samuel Adams, one of the more vocal patriots, began a vigorous propaganda campaign making the event worse than it actually was. The Redcoats defense attorney was John Adams, co-author and signer of the Declaration of Independence, first Vice President and the second President of the United States. He gained an acquittal for all but two of the soldiers. At one time this marker was in the middle of the street. They have since extended the paver sidewalk out to reduce another Boston massacre from cars running down tourists.