This post will conclude my walking tour of Boston’s Freedom Trail. To finish I would like to return to the Boston Common and point out a couple of sites that I missed in my first post.
The Massachusetts State House
On the north side of the common, on Beacon Street stands the Massachusetts State House. Known as the new State House by the people of Boston, to separate it from the Old State House, this impressive building is the oldest building on that street. The State House was built on six acres that was formally a cow pasture that belonged to John Hancock. Both he and Paul Revere helped to lay the State House’s cornerstone, with construction being completed on January 11, 1798. What makes the State House stand out is its bright dome of gold. The dome was originally made of wood and then later covered in copper by Paul Revere. In 1874 the dome was gilded in 24 karat gold.
Monument to the Massachusetts 54th Regiment
Directly across the street from the new State House, on the Common side, is the monument to the Civil War 54th Regiment of Massachusetts, this was the first all-black regiment. This monument, as well as the 54th Regiment, was made famous in the movie “Glory”. The monument is also the starting point for the Black Heritage Trail. The first African Slaves were brought to Boston in 1638. By 1705 the city had around 400 slaves, but it also had a developing community of free blacks in its North End. The status of blacks in the colony began to turn with the beginnings of the Revolutionary War. Many blacks fought at Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill. In 1780, in the State’s first Constitution, it was adopted that all men have certain inalienable rights, and slavery was abolished. In the federal census of 1790 Massachusetts was recorded as being the only state in the Union not to have slaves.