contributed by Melissa Lucas, senior staff writer
The East Coast is full of historical attractions connected to the American Revolution. Whether you’re a history buff, teaching your kids about the birth of our nation, or simply looking for a good road trip, you can’t go wrong with a visit to one or more of these American landmarks. From battlefields to assembly rooms, taverns to museums, here are seven Revolutionary War historical sites you don’t want to miss.
Perhaps the single most important event leading to the American Revolution, the Boston on Tea Party set the stage for what was to come. On December 16, 1773, members of the Sons of Liberty disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians and quietly boarded three ships carrying close to 100,000 pounds of tea from the British East India Tea Company. Over the course of three hours, they destroyed nearly 340 chests of tea and dumped the remains into the Boston Harbor.
The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum is dedicated to telling the story of this brave act, its aftermath, and the role it played in the American Revolution. Boston Tea Party museum tickets include a guided experience of one of the most famous landmarks in North America led by costumed interpreters, a tour of the restored 18th century cargo vessel, a chance to dump tea into the sea, and much more.
“The British are coming!” Paul Revere was summoned from his small Boston home on the night of April 18, 1775, to embark on what would come to be known as his Famous Midnight Ride. Little did he know that the house he left would one day become one of the best landmarks to visit in the U.S.
The silversmith was tasked with riding to Lexington, Massachusetts with news of approaching British forces. In addition to informing John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the impending crisis, he alarmed nearly all houses along his route. This advance warning is said to have played a crucial role in safeguarding the stockpile of munitions stored in the town, thus allowing for subsequent Colonial victories.
While the Paul Revere House underwent some restoration after being added to the register of historical sites in the U.S., the majority of the structure is original, as are many of the pieces on display. Visitors can peruse the kitchen, hall, best chamber, and back bedchamber of the only example of 17th century architecture that remains in downtown Boston, all while learning about the Revere family and their contributions to the American Revolution.
Located within Minute Man National Historical Park is the site of the first battle of the Revolution. After the Shot Heard Around the World was fired, the Battles of Lexington and Concord raged across a battlefield nearly 18 miles long. The Park commemorates this campaign which was the ary War.
Within the park you’ll find historic American landmarks and monuments related to the first battle of the American Revolution such as Concord’s Old North Bridge, the Battle Road Trail, and the Grave of British Soldiers. Additionally, visitors can view exhibits at the North Bridge and Minute Man Visitors Centers, stop into the Hartwell Tavern, and check out former homes of several colonists who were well-known for their contributions to the American Revolution. Keep an eye on the park’s schedule for annual events that include reenactments, reading of historic documents, festivals and more.
Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania
Washington’s plan to cross the Delaware, under cover of darkness, during the harsh Winter of 1776, was a risky one. But it paid off. Against all odds, crossing the icy river led his troops to victory in Trenton, a triumph which was credited for breathing new life into the Revolution.
Washington Crossing Historic Park is full of American history. Tourist attractions include a visitor center with several historic exhibits and educational programs, the Historic Village offering modern-day programs including reenactments of George Washington’s River Crossing, and a number of other American Revolutionary War landmarks such as the McConkey’s Ferry Inn where Washington was known to have spent time after the crossing.
Also open to visitors is the Thompson Neely house – which served as a temporary army hospital during Washington’s campaign, the memorial cemetery in which an unknown number of Continental soldiers are buried, and gardens full of vegetables and medicinal herbs which were likely to have been grown during the Revolution.
Within the Colonial National Historical Park you’ll find Yorktown Battlefield, were General Cornwallis of the British Army surrendered to George Washington and the Colonial Army, making it Yorktown the final revolutionary war battle site. Begin your visit with a film that tells the story of the Siege at Yorktown before exploring the museum’s collection of historic artifacts.
During self-guided tours of this famous U.S. landmark, you’ll learn about the creative ways Colonial and French armies planned their siege and strengthened their fortifications for battle, strategies which definitely paid off. Visitors can also enjoy tours of the Nelson House – which still bears scars from the 1781 battle, and the Moore House – the location from which Washington and Cornwallis negotiated British surrender terms.
Among the best historic places to visit in the U.S., Independence Hall is a favorite. The former Pennsylvania State House is known as the birthplace of America, as it is where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and signed. During the Revolution, the Pennsylvania legislature allowed the building’s Assembly Room to be used for meetings of the Second Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention.
In 1816, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania sold the State House to the City of Philadelphia, and the interior was restored to its original appearance in 1948. Shortly afterward, Independence National Historic Park was established. Today, visitors can tour the Assembly Room of Independence Hall, view the iconic Liberty Bell, visit the Benjamin Franklin museum and much more.
Discover compelling stories about the people and events that sparked the American Revolution. Collections, galleries, theater experiences, and interactive elements will give you a deeper appreciation of how our nation got its start. While not technically among the historical sites in America, the Museum of the American Revolution is a historical attraction full of unique objects relating to the Revolution that have been collected over the course of more than 100 years.
Within the museum walls you’ll find the original tent that served as George Washington’s command center during the Revolutionary War, the first newspaper printing of the Declaration of Independence, an American Military Drum used during the Revolution, and so much more.
If you love visiting historic places in the USA, learning about famous battlefields, or checking out other national landmarks with military significance, visit the Military History section of our Blog. We cover everything from military monuments, to historic forts, to military holidays, and more.
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