With the Independence Day holiday upon us, it seems fitting to highlight a church that played a significant role in the American Revolution. Officially called Christ Church, the Old North Church is the oldest church building standing in Boston and a National Historic Landmark. This site is forever immortalized by the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem “Paul Revere’s Ride.” It was from the church’s steeple that the signal lamps which represented “one if by land, and two if by sea” were held and immortalized.

Old North’s fame began on the evening of April 18, 1775, when a church official, Robert Newman, and vestryman, Captain John Pulling Jr., climbed the church’s steeple and held high two lanterns as a signal from Paul Revere that the British were approaching Lexington and Concord by sea across the Charles River, not by land. This event launched the beginning of the American Revolution.

In 1775, on the eve of the Revolution, a substantial number of congregants were loyal to the British king, and many held official positions in the royal government, including the royal governor of Massachusetts. This further demonstrated the bravery of the patriots for signaling the invasion.

Each year, the church welcomes more than 500,000 visitors to the site to experience this unique and testament to liberty. Old North Church and Historic Site is open for tourism Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Sunday from 12:30-5 p.m. Starting on July 1, Old North will also be open on Monday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission includes a self-guided tour of the church’s sanctuary with the chance to speak with onsite historians. For tickets visit www.oldnorth.com.

Also taking place through Tuesday, September 19 is Revolution’s Edge: An Original Play. This event takes place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 5 p.m. The play takes visitors back in time to the afternoon of April 18, 1775, hours before the signal lanterns would shine from Old North’s steeple. With war on the horizon, Old North’s pastor, Rev. Dr. Mather Byles Jr., is pushed to resign his post. To purchase tickets, visit www.oldnorth.com.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.