1. Resistance to the Stamp Act (1765)

The king imposed a stamp duty on all published materials in the colonies, including newspapers. Furious Bostonians boycotted British goods in response.

2. Boston Massacre (1770)

Angry colonists picked a fight with British troops in front of the Old State House, resulting in the deaths of five unarmed Bostonians.

3. Samuel Adams’ Tea Tax Speech (1773)

Adams’ incendiary speech during a forum at the Old South Meeting House inspired the Boston Tea Party, the most subversive action undertaken yet in the debate over colonial secession.

4. Boston Tea Party (1773)

Led by Samuel Adams, the Sons of Liberty boarded three British East India Company ships and dumped their cargo into the Boston Harbor, a watershed moment of colonial defiance.

5. Paul Revere’s Ride (1775)

Revere rode to Lexington to warn revolutionaries Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops intended to arrest them. One of the bravest acts of the war, it would be immortalized in the Longfellow poem The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.

6. Battle of Lexington (1775)

Revere’s ride was followed by the first exchange of fire between the ragtag colonist army and the British at Lexington.


The Battle of Lexington

7. Battle of Bunker Hill (1775)

The colonists’ fortification of Charlestown resulted in a full-scale British attack. Despite their defeat, the colonists’ resolve was galvanized by this battle.

8. Washington Takes Command (1776)

The Virginia gentleman farmer George Washington led the newly formed Continental Army south from Cambridge to face British troops in New York.


Bust of George Washington, Old North Church

9. Fortification of Dorchester Heights (1776)

Fortifying the mouth of Boston Harbor with captured cannon, George Washington put the Royal Navy under his guns and forced a British retreat from the city.

10. Declaration of Independence (1776)

On July 4, the colonies rejected all allegiance to the British Crown. In Boston, Independence was declared from the Royal Governor’s headquarters, the building known today as the Old State House.


Finished in 1798, the State House is Charles Bulfinch’s masterwork. With its brash design details, imposing stature, and liberal use of fine materials, it embodies the optimism of post-revolutionary America. The building is in three distinct sections: the original Bulfinch front; the marble wings constructed in 1917; and the yellow-brick 1895 addition, known as the Brigham Extension after the architect who designed it. Just below Bulfinch’s central colon-nade, statues of famous Massachusetts figures strike poses. Among them are the great orator Daniel Webster; President John F. Kennedy; and Quaker Mary Dyer, who was hanged in 1660 for challenging the authority of Boston’s religious leaders. Directly below the State House’s immense gilded dome is the Senate Chamber, site of many influential speeches and debates. After an extensive renovation, the historic chamber reopened in early 2019.


Facade of the Massachusetts State House


1. 23-carat gold dome

2. Senate Chamber

3. House of Representatives

4. “Hear Us” exhibit

5. Stained-glass windows

6. Doric Hall

7. Hall of Flags

8. Nurses Hall

9. Sacred Cod


The Sacred Cod was bestowed on the House of Representatives by Boston merchant Jonathan Rowe. This carved fish has presided over the Commonwealth’s legislature since 1784, though it vanished briefly in 1933, when Harvard’s Lampoon magazine orchestrated a dastardly “codnapping” prank.

10. State House Pine Cone

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