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The Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail Model & Precedent - Analysis & Research in Boston - 2000 to the present

The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia is modeled after The Freedom Trail® in Boston. The Freedom Trail is located in Boston National Historical Park, which is administered by the National Park Service ("NPS"), United States Department of the Interior.

View Pictures from the Freedom Trail here »

The Constitutional is modeled after The Freedom Trail in Boston for several reasons including:

  • The commonalities between the comparable constituent groups (i.e., NPS, the historic Sites) necessary to implement The Freedom Trail in Boston and The Constitutional in Philadelphia,
  • The complementary nature of the historical significance of the walking tours from the Revolutionary Era, and
  • The need which visitors in both cities have to be provided with a free of charge and easy to follow framework for their visit, and
  • The precedent set in Boston with the implementation of the red line with paint and contrasting bricks as well as signage denoting the Trail.

"The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile walking trail through downtown Boston, the North End, and Charlestown. The Trail itself is outside and is always open for walking. Individual sites have varying operating times (listed in this booklet). Wear sneakers and comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing. Plan to spend around 4 hours on the [Freedom] Trail, depending on your itinerary and local distractions along the way. Public restrooms are available at the Information Center on Boston Common, the State Street Visitor Center, Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, the Navy Yard, and Bunker Hill. All are handicap accessible."1

"In 1958, local journalist William Schofield had the idea that Boston's sites could be more accessible to residents and visitors, and conceived of The Freedom Trail. A natural and easily-accomplished idea, the sixteen historic sites between Boston Common and The Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown were connected by a red line, and The Freedom Trail was born. In addition to the historic sites, the beauty of the sights, sounds, and neighborhoods along the way made walking The Freedom Trail an instantly popular activity."2 "In 1964, the Foundation was incorporated as a nonprofit organization. From 1958 to 1992 the entire Foundation was run, organized, and maintained by volunteer support-its early success was due solely to the spirit and leadership of the people of the City of Boston."3

As illustrated in these pictures of The Freedom Trail, The Freedom Trail is physically marked throughout Boston with a red line composed of paint and contrasting bricks on the sidewalks, streets and walkways denoting The Freedom Trail's easy to follow path for visitors as well as signage identifying the historic sites.

"Over the years the Freedom Trail has expanded and evolved. Today it is recognized as both a National Recreation Trail and a National Millennium Trail. It extends from Boston Common to the Charlestown Navy Yard and Bunker Hill is marked by a line of contrasting bricks, red paint and distinctive signage. A wide variety of private and public organizations oversee the welfare of the trail, including the city of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the National Park Service, and the Freedom Trail Foundation. Together these organizations have made the trail into an exciting, historic adventure - a vital part of Boston's and nation's heritage."4 Today, 3 (three) million visitors walk The Freedom Trail each year in Boston.5

In Boston, The Freedom Trail is very well known among both Bostonians and visitors alike. Anecdotally speaking, when someone asks a tourist about their trip to Boston, the question generally comes up, "did you do The Freedom Trail?" The Boston Freedom Trail embodies "Americana," so much so that The Freedom Trail was the "answer" to one of the questions on the television game show "Jeopardy" on December 19, 2002.

In addition to being promoted via its own direct Web site address at www.thefreedomtrail.org, The Freedom Trail is integrated and cross-promoted by various constituents in Boston including:

Boston National Historical Park is "an association of sites ranging from steepled churches, grand meeting halls, and battleground to America's oldest commissioned warship. The park is distinctive, mixing historic buildings and landscapes owned by the city, the state, the federal government, and private organizations. Only three sites are owned by the federal government - the Charlestown Navy Yard, the Bunker Hill Monument, and the Dorchester Heights Monument."6 The Freedom Trail represents a model of cooperation between various constituents including The National Park Service, The City of Boston, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, The Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.


1 The Freedom Trail Map, National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior
2 The Freedom Trail Web site, March 10, 2003, http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/home.htm#how
3 The Freedom Trail Web site, March 10, 2003, http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/home.htm#how
4 The Freedom Trail Map, National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior
5 The Freedom Trail Web site, March 10, 2003, http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/home.htm#you
6 The Freedom Trail Map, National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior
 

View Pictures from the Freedom Trail here »

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