Clio Logo
The Old North Church is an Episcopal church located in the North End area of Boston, Massachusetts. The church is most famous for spreading the warning of incoming British troops to Paul Revere as he made his historic "Midnight Ride" through the Massachusetts countryside, launching the beginning of the American Revolution. Guests today who visit the church will take away a sense of pride and respect towards the pioneers of patriotism who literally lit the way towards independence. The church holds an annual celebration to mark the anniversary of the Midnight Ride by reenacting the placement of the two lanterns in the church's steeple.

  • The Old North Church Exterior highlights the massive steeple and windows where the two lanterns were hung that April night.
  • Inside the Old North Church where talks of liberty and loyalty occurred in the weeks leading up to the start of the revolution.
The church was built in 1723 as Christ Church and was considered more Anglican that Congregational of the churches in the New England area. The parishioners who attended the church were split in terms of politics. A good majority of the church were loyalists who sought to keep ties with Great Britain while another majority wanted independence from the king and were willing to do anything to make that dream a reality. Robert Newman, the sexton of the church, and vestryman John Pulling concocted a plan with fellow patriot Paul Revere to aid in lighting the flames of revolution.

On the night of April 18, 1775, Newman and Pulling climbed into the scaffolding of the church to place one or two lanterns into the steeple to indicate to those outside of Boston how the British were to arrive in the area while Revere rode through the countryside to warn every nearby patriot of British movement. Seeing that the Regulars were crossing the Charles River, Newman and Pulling place two lanterns and fled to avoid arrest. By the following afternoon, skirmishes were occurring in the cities of Lexington and Concord, marking the official start of the Revolutionary War.

Garnering over half a million visitors each year, the Church has not only become a beacon of religious freedom to the Boston area, but an icon of patriotism and revolution when a country needed it most. If not for the actions of a few brave individuals that night, independence may not have been reached. The events of that night have been forever enshrined in William Wadsworth Longfellow's famous poem "Paul Revere's Ride," a poem many a student has heard or even recited in a history class. 
1. History of Old North Church. The Old North Church and Historic Site. . Accessed May 09, 2019.
2. Old North Church. National Park Service. June 07, 2018. Accessed May 09, 2019.
3. Old North Church. Boston Tea Party: A Revolutionary Experience. . Accessed May 10, 2019.