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Historic Sites in Massachusetts
Home to an array of impressive and noted monuments throughout the state; explore the historic sites in Massachusetts from yesterdays past. From significant homes where someone once lived, to legendary battlegrounds, check out some of New England’s most profound attractions. Over in Cambridge, pay a visit to the beloved 19th century poet’s, Henry Longfellow House, which was also Washington’s headquarters during the siege of Boston. Located in Brookline, the John F. Kennedy National Historic Site preserves the Kennedy family's first home and the birthplace of JFK. Take a tour the Louisa May Alcott Orchard House in Concord, well known for the setting of the classic novel, Little Women. Just down the road, you’ll find the Old North Bridge and the Minute Man National Historical Park. Be sure to find the Minute Man statue and the Memorial obelisk, just adjacent to the North Bridge. Honoring the legacy of America's founder of American landscape architecture and the country's most recognizable park marker, the Frederick Law Olmstead National Historic in Brookline offers ranger-guided tours of the preserved home and office, as well as the grounds' rustic barn and designed landscape.
Boston African American National Historic Site
Located on the north slope of Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood, the Boston African American National Historic Site documents the lives and struggles of the Greater Boston region's African American community during the 19th century.
As part of the Black Heritage Trail, the site offers walks through the city and the chance to visit landmark attractions like the Museum of African American History, the African Meeting House, and the Abiel Smith School.
Ranger-guided tours are readily available alongside year-long programs at the Museum of African American History.
Essex National Heritage Area
Encompassing the 34 cities and towns of Essex County, the Essex National Heritage Area is a 500 mile square mile region in northern Massachusetts, just north of the Boston region.
The area includes over 9,950 sites listed on the National Register of Historical Places, over 20 National Historic Landmarks, and over 80 historical sites and museums open to the public.
Popular sites include the House of the Seven Gables, the Cox Reservation, Salem Maritime National Historic Site, and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. The area is headquartered in Salem and is also near Haverhill.
Frederick Law Olmstead National Historic Site
Honoring the legacy of America's founder of American landscape architecture and the country's most recognizable park marker, the Frederick Law Olmstead National Historic Site is located in Brookline near Boston.
The site includes the "Fairsted" home and office of Olmstead, preserved as it once was in his time and open to ranger-guided tours. The tours also cover the grounds' rustic barn and designed landscape.
The Greater Boston attraction also features self-guided tours of changing exhibits, held throughout the year.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site
Located in Brookline just south of downtown Boston, the John F. Kennedy National Historic Site preserves the Kennedy family's first home and the birthplace of JFK.
Opened in 1966 by Rose Kennedy, the President's mother, the home is preserved as it once was during JFK's early days and offers a glimpse at the values, lessons, and expectations taught in the home.
In the summer, the site is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the winter, this Greater Boston site is closed except for private guided tours.
Longfellow House - Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site
True to its name, the Longfellow House - Washington's Headquarters National Historic site preserves the home of Henry W. Longfellow, one of the 19th century's most famous poets. The home also acted as the headquarters for General George Washington during the Siege of Boston from July 1775 to April 1776.
Today, this Cambridge and Greater Boston attraction offers ranger-guided 45-minute tours of the first and second floors of the house. Topics are varied, but generally include the influences of Longfellow's poetry, the events during Washington's residency, and comments on the preserved art and furniture of the house.
Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House
Plan out your next trip to Massachusetts and head for the Louisa May Alcott Orchard House. A popular attraction in Concord, the Louisa May Alcott Orchard House is well known as the setting for the classic novel, Little Women. Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, is said to have written the novel in the orchard house.
Your tour of Massachusetts won't be complete until you enjoy some time at the Louisa May Alcott Orchard House. Tours are guided and available almost year round – not counting Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years day. Drive in from nearby Chelmsford for an exciting day trip and tour – an ideal destination for fans of Little Women.
Mayflower Society House
Explore the Plymouth Historic District and check out the Mayflower Society House. Built in 1754 and originally known as the Edward Winslow House, the Mayflower Society House was acquired by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in 1941. Enjoy a close proximity to Plymouth Rock and enjoy touring the grounds of the Mayflower Society House on your next visit to Plymouth in eastern Massachusetts.
Tours of the Mayflower Society House begin in late May, continue through early June with a short break, starting back up again in mid June through the end of September. October dates are staggered across three weekends not including Halloween, then once more at the very end of November. Once the home of Lucia J. Brigss in 1898, the Mayflower Society House is an ideal destination on your next visit, especially when you seek historic sites.
Minute Man National Historical Park
Massachusetts and iconic cities like Concord, Boston, and Plymouth are home to an array of impressive and noted historic monuments. When you visit Concord, be sure to explore the Minute Man National Historical Park. Not far north from the Louisa May Alcott Orchard House – two more historic sites – the Minute Man National Historical Park commemorates the opening of the American Revolutionary War.
The Old North Bridge is a popular destination for American History buffs and is a part of the Minute Man National Historical Park. Be sure to find the Minute Man statue, which is adjacent to the North Bridge. Another highlight of the Minute Man National Historical Park is the Memorial obelisk, also adjacent to the North Bridge. You can also tour The Wayside, a historic house on the park grounds.
National Monument to the Forefathers
What was once known as the Pilgrim Monument today is known as the National Monument to the Forefathers. Completed in 1888 to honor the Mayflower Pilgrims, the National Monument to the Forefathers is located in Plymouth, a charming and quaint Massachusetts town. Plymouth is also home to other historic landmarks like the Plymouth Rock and Mayflower II – an near exact replica of the original Mayflower.
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in August, 1974, the National Monument to the Forefathers is made is solid granite, standing at 81 feet tall. While the National Monument to the Forefathers was completed in 1888, it was't until the following year when it was dedicated. Make your trip into Massachusetts a memorable one and visit the National Monument to the Forefathers.
New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
Established in 1996, the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park encompasses thirteen city blocks in downtown New Bedford near North Dartmouth.
Dedicated to preserving the city's whaling history during the 18th and 19th centuries, this Massachusetts park includes a series of landmark attractions, including the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Seamen's Bethel, and the schooner Ernestina.
Self-guided tours are readily available and be sure to drop by the Visitors Center for a list of ranger programs and activities.
Old North Bridge
There are many historic and iconic landmarks all across Massachusetts, each unique and impressive in their own way. When you visit Concord, be sure to check out the Old North Bridge. Found at the Concord Battleground, just north of downtown Concord, the Old North Bridge played a role in the American War of Independence.
In 1793, the bridge was dismantled. New versions of the bridge were constructed in 1875, 1889, and 1909. As it stands today, the bridge is a replica of the original built in 1956 and restored in 2005. The Old North Bridge crosses the Concord River near the confluence of the Sudbury River and the Assabet River.
Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Consisting of 12 historic structures and 1 replica tall-ship, the Salem Maritime National Historic Site is located along the waterfront of Salem Harbor in Massachusetts.
Founded in 1938, the site was the first National Historic Site established in the United States. Today, the site traces the trading and maritime history of the region, from the colonial era to post-American Revolution independence.
Notable sites include the Derby House, Derby Wharf, and the Friendship of Salem ship replica, docked off Derby Street. The sites are located north of Boston.
Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site
Known as the birthplace of the American iron and steel industry, the Saugus Iron Works is located on the banks of the Saugus River in the historical Saugus Colony near Boston.
Today, the nine-acre National Park offers a picture of what steel and iron manufacturing looked like in the 1600's. Explore and catch glimpses of working waterwheels, hot forges, and mills set alongside the Saugus River basin.
Visitors are free to take a ranger-guided tour, become a Junior Ranger, explore the Saugus Iron Works Museum, and enjoy the nature trail. This Massachusetts attraction is open from mid-April to November.
Springfield Armory National Historical Site
From 1777 to 1968, the Springfield Armory served as the primary center for the manufacturing of firearms for the U.S. Military. Today, it exists as the Springfield Armory National Historic Site near West Springfield.
Explore the area's rich history, which once served as the primary arsenal during the American Revolution and saw innovation in manufacturing, including assembly lines, interchangeable parts, and modern factory practices.
Today, Massachusetts visitors can tour the site through ranger-guided tours, self-guided tours, and walking trails. Don't miss a calendar full of special events and Junior Ranger activities.
Built in the Colonial style, The Wayside is a historic house in Concord. On your next visit to Massachusetts, plan some time to visit The Wayside and enjoy a self-guided tour. The Wayside has the distinction of housing, at separate times, Louisa May Alcott (author of Little Women) and her family, Nathaniel Hawthorne (author of The Scarlet Letter) and his family, and Margaret Sidney, noted children's book author.
Dating back to as far as 1717 when Minuteman Samuel Whitney was living in the house, the history of The Wayside is vast and rich. In 1962 it was designated as a National Historic Landmark, and in 1980 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. There's a wide breadth of historic and iconic landmarks to visit while in Concord – make sure The Wayside is one of them.
As one of the most iconic pieces of American history and lore, Plymouth Rock is found in Plymouth at the Plymouth Harbor. One of the most visited landmarks in Massachusetts, Plymouth Rock is emblazoned with "1620" as a way to mark the year in which the Mayflower Pilgrims landed and subsequently founded the Plymouth Colony. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
Currently managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Plymouth Rock is housed on the shore of Plymouth Harbor at the smallest state park in Mass. – the Pilgrim Memorial State Park. Be one of the millions who visit each year on your next tour of Plymouth – take a few pictures and enjoy a truly historical experience.
New England Aquarium
Hosting more than one million annual visitors, the New England Aquarium is a major attraction in Boston and Massachusetts. Home to more than 20,000 animals and 600 species, the 75,000-square-foot aquarium aquarium also features the seasonal Whale Watch program, and the Simons IMAX Theatre.
Established in 1962, the New England Aquarium is located on Boston's Central Wharf, found along Atlantic Avenue. Visitors of the aquarium can expect to see penguin feedings, Giant Ocean tank divers, and fur seal training sessions.