This 2.5-mile trail guides visitors through several of Boston’s iconic neighborhoods, providing an illustrative framework for the city's significant role in the Revolutionary War effort. Pedestrians follow a demarcated red brick line that connects all seventeen sites, including: Boston Common, Massachusetts State House, Park Street Church, Granary Burying Ground, King’s Chapel, King’s Chapel Burying Ground, Benjamin Franklin Statue and Boston Latin School, Old Corner Book Store, Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Site of the Boston Massacre, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, Old North Church, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, Bunker Hill Monument (located in Charlestown), and the USS Constitution (located in Boston Harbor).
The Freedom Trail was created in response to the loss of several historic sites due to rapid industrialization throughout the city, such as the John Hancock Mansion. Bill Schofield, a Boston Herald travel writer, and Bob Winn, a member of Old North Church, developed the initial concept of the Freedom Trail, believing that preserving and interpreting these sites would add to the personality of the city and would prove attractive to tourism. In 1951 Boston Mayor John Hynes officially dedicated the Freedom Trail. Initially, the city installed 30 signs on prominent street corners, and by 1953 the Freedom Trail was attracting over 40,000 visitors annually. Originally one mile in length, the red brick line was added in 1958, and the trail was expanded to include Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution in 1972. The White House Millennium Council designated the Freedom Trail as one of sixteen National Millennium Trails in 2000.