Saturday, September 10, 2011

Old North Church

Old North Church (officially, Christ Church in the City of Boston), located at 193 Salem Street, in the North End of Boston, is the location from which the famous "One if by land, and two if by sea" signal is said to have been sent by Robert Newman. This phrase is related to Paul Revere's midnight ride, of April 18, 1775, which preceded the Battles of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution.

On April 18, 1775, probably a little after 10 P.M., the 191 ft (58 m) steeple of the Church served a military purpose.

Paul Revere told three Boston patriots to hang two lanterns in the steeple. These men were the church sexton Robert Newman, and Captain John Pulling, the two of whom David Hackett Fischer suggests each carried one lantern up to the steeple, and Thomas Bernard, who stood watch for British troops outside the church. The lanterns were displayed to send a warning to Charlestown patriots across the Charles River about the movements of the British Army. Revere and William Dawes would later deliver the same message to Lexington themselves, but this lantern method was a fast way to inform the back-up riders in Charlestown about the movements of the British; these back-up riders planned to deliver the warning message to Lexington and Concord in case Revere and Dawes were arrested on the way.

The lanterns were hung for just under a minute to avoid catching the eyes of the British troops occupying Boston, but this was long enough for the message to be received in Charlestown. The militia waiting across the river had been told to look for the signal lanterns, and were prepared to act as soon as they saw them.

The belfry was awesome and you traveled there thru these very small and winding staircases. There was a short video to watch about how the bellringers learn and perform their special bell ringing skills. I stood at the window where the lanterns were hung and It was awesome.

Here we are sitting at the entrance to the underground of the church. If you can even imagine that the door to our right that sits under the church there are said to be buried 1100 people. To a genealogist this is a "dream vacation"! This is not part of the regular tour but they do charge a nominal fee to tour the crypt and the belfry.

We were like...............Are you kidding me! Sign us up!

Currently an archaeologist is examining the estimated 1100 bodies buried in 37 tombs in the basement. The crypt was in use between 1732 and 1853, and each tomb is sealed with a wooden or slate door, with many doors covered over by plaster as ordered by the city of Boston in the 1850s.

The city of Boston made several attempts to have them stop burying the folks underneath the church as it was unsanitary and the bodies that were decomposing were so close to the city's water system. Finally they court ordered them to stop this ritual.

What is interesting is that they have installed a modern small two sided area that you notice as you enter.... that they do allow cremation remains. They are individual areas that measure about 8" by 6" and I am guessing about 40 units on each side. I asked to photograph it but was denied.

Who doesn't love the hydrangea? They were everywhere in Boston but these located at the crypt area were in full bloom.

No comments: