One of the most exciting places in Boston to visit from a historical perspective is the Old State House on State Street. The Old State House was the building in which England ran its colonial government from 1713 to 1776. The Old State House building is also the site in which the Boston Massacre took place. For those not well versed in American and British history, the Boston Massacre was the historical name given to the event that took place on March 5, 1770. The incident that happened in front of the Old State building was one of the most signification events in world history that led to the American Revolution.
In a very short summation, an argument had broken out between a British soldier named Private Hugh White and a man named Edward Garrick who was an apprentice for a wigmaker. White had accused Garrick of being disrespectful to a British officer. That did not sit well with Garrick. A fight broke out between the two which started to attract a large crowd. British reinforcements were brought in and a nasty standoff ensued between the British soldiers and the town’s people.
An object was thrown from the crowd hitting a British soldier. As panic and pandemonium set in, a single shot was fired. Shortly after the single shot, without any certain order to fire, the British soldiers began firing into the crowd. Eleven men were hit and three died instantly. An investigation followed as with a trial, with the British officers being defended by the future President of the United States – John Adams. In the end, six British soldiers were acquitted while two of the officers were found guilty of manslaughter. John Adams became a polarizing figure at the time and felt the scorn of many who believed he should have not defended the British soldiers.
The story of the Boston Massacre that took place in front of the Old State House resonates deeply in United States History. The fact that the building in which all of this took place is still standing is remarkable. Understanding what happened defines the encounter of walking around the building as a more powerful experience. The spots in which the shots were fired, and the side of the building in which the Boston Massacre took place, are all clearly marked by those in charge of maintaining the building as a historical landmark.
When one takes a step back from the building and views the historic landmark in its present-day setting, one can not help but be struck by the juxtaposition in which a building that is three hundred years old stands in the center of modernity. It is a visual spectacle that has to be seen. The visuals that one gets from standing outside the Old State House and the presence that is felt from the history that was defined there close to two hundred and fifty years ago are reasons alone as to visit the Old State House when in Boston.
It’s incredible that visitors are allowed to enter the building and take either self-guided tours or pre-planned ones. From the spiral staircase to the Staterooms featuring vintage tables, chairs, and authentic tableware, this is a building that must be seen. Regardless of whether you have a yearning to experience American and British history in it’s most organic state, or simply like to see cool stuff, you will not be disappointed with a trip to Boston’s Old State House.
Boston’s Old State House Interior
Boston’s Old State House address is 206 Washington St, Boston Massachusetts, 02109, The building is located at the cross streets of Washington Street and State Street. The Old State House Museum is open seven days a week year-round. The museum opens at 9:00 and every day and closes at 5:00 pm. Boston’s Old State House is closed on Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Check their website for ticket info.
Boston’s Old State House Revolutionary Character
Updated May 30, 2022.
Don’t forget to check out our other interesting articles on the great city of Boston.
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