History of the Old North Church
Old North’s fame began on the evening of April 18, 1775, when the church sexton, Robert Newman, and vestryman Capt. John Pulling, Jr. climbed the steeple and held high two lanterns as a signal from Paul Revere that the British were marching to Lexington and Concord by sea across the Charles River and not by land. This momentous event ignited the American Revolution. Built in 1723, Christ Church in the City of Boston, known to all as the Old North Church, is Boston’s oldest surviving church building and most visited historical site. 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, making Robert Newman’s loyalty to the patriot cause even more extraordinary. Each year we welcome over 500,000 visitors to our site to experience this unique and stirring monument to liberty.
About Old North
The Old North Church is Boston’s oldest surviving church building and one of the Freedom Trail’s most visited historical sites, known for “One if by land, and two if by sea,” and the midnight ride of Paul Revere. The Old North Church & Historic Site also includes:
- The 1715 Clough House, one of Boston’s oldest surviving brick residences, which houses the Printing Office of Edes & Gill and Heritage Goods + Gifts.
- A chapel built in 1918 for Italian immigrants, which now serves as the Old North Gift Shop.
- Three large courtyards, two formal gardens, and a war memorial to soldiers fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Two adjoining townhouses converted into use for administrative, educational, social, civic, and parish programs.
This Old Pew
Over the course of (almost) 300 years, many fascinating people have come through the doors of Old North Church and sat in its unique box pews. Read about some of them in our continuing series, This Old Pew.
Note: The Old North Church & Historic Site is managed by Old North Illuminated, a 501(c)3 secular nonprofit. Christ Church in the City of Boston is an active Episcopal Church and partners with Old North Illuminated to support the church and campus.