‘One if by land, Two if by sea…’ Everyone knows the line from Longfellow’s poem, Paul Revere’s Ride. It was here, on the night of April 18, 1775, that the sexton hung two lanterns from the steeple, as a signal that the British would march on Lexington and Concord via the sea route. Also called Christ Church, this 1723 place of worship is Boston’s oldest church. Many of the tall pew boxes bear the brass nameplates of early parishioners who had to purchase their pews. The brass chandeliers used today were first lit on Christmas in 1724. Note the candles – there is no electric lighting in the church. This remains an active church; the grand organ is played at the 11am Sunday service. The 175ft steeple houses the oldest bells (1744) still rung in the US. Today’s steeple is a 1954 replica, since severe weather toppled two prior ones, but the 1740 weather vane is original. All visitors are invited to enjoy a 10-minute presentation about the history of the Old North Church. For more detailed information, a Behind the Scenes tour takes visitors up into the belfry and down into the crypt.
Behind the church, several hidden brick courtyards offer quiet respite for a moment of peaceful meditation. Heading down the hill, shady Paul Revere Mall perfectly frames the Old North Church. Often called ‘the prado’ by locals, it is a lively meeting place for North Enders of all generations.