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
Those words, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, have been memorized by countless people learning about the revolutionary era of the United States. The poem refers to hanging a lantern (or lanterns) in the belfry of the Old North Church is Boston as a signal that the British were coming, and that Paul Revere was to alert the neighboring villages.
The Old North Church still stands in Boston today, and is the city’s oldest surviving church structure, as well as a National Historic Landmark. It’s 191 foot tall steeple makes it the tallest steeple in the city, and a recognizable part of the Boston skyline (in center of photo above). The church is on the city’s Freedom Trail, a two and a half mile red-brick walking trail that leads you to 16 historic sites.
The church is more properly known as Christ Church in the City of Boston, and is associated with the Episcopalian Church. It is an active church, and services have been held there regularly since it was built in 1723, save for a brief closure during the American Revolution.
You can tour the Old North Church at its location at 193 Salem Street. It is open daily, 9 am - 6 pm (summer hours), and although there is no admission charge, voluntary donations are welcome. I took time for a walk through when I was in Boston a few days ago, and found that it filled me with a tremendous sense of history. It’s said that the box pews, the brass chandeliers, and the first clock are all original — that’s over 250 years ago!
Sunday services are held at 9 am and 11 am, and visitors are welcome to attend.
Photo credit: wikimedia (skyline) and flickr (church steeple)