Muddy River Press

Political Places of Boston

Downtown Walking Tour

Many of the places covered in the guidebook Political Places of Boston are located downtown or in adjacent neighborhoods. Walking is a wonderful to visit these places. The guidebook complements the other walking tours of Boston such as the popular Freedom Trail. However, if you limit yourself to the Freedom Trail, you will miss several, important, downtown political sites.

For a more in-depth tour that loops, consider the following (boldface refers to sites described in detail in the book):

  1. Start at the Government Center subway stop.

  2. While the station is redesigned, this is part of the original subway route.
  3. From the station walk down Court Street past Court Square (on right), and stop at the National Park Service visitor center (on your right at 15 State Street).

  4. Here you can pick up maps and brochures. Rest rooms available.
  5. From there, go to the Old State House.
  6. Continue down State Street, the historic business district, take a left after 84 State Street down Merchants Row, a one-block side street that cuts through to Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall.
  7. After visiting Faneuil Hall, cross Congress Street and go up the steps past City Hall. Then walk through the plaza, pass the Government Center T station and take a left at Center Plaza onto Tremont Street.

  8. Behind Center Plaza is Pemberton Square. Underneath Tremont Street is the subway route.
  9. At the Parker House, take a right onto Beacon Street, past #14, one of the homes of the Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom, until you reach the Bellevue Hotel (21 - 23 Beacon Street).
  10. Take a right onto Bowdoin Street, past the east side of the State House.
    An apartment at 122 Bowdoin Street is where John F. Kennedy and many family members had their voting address and offices.
  11. Take the first left onto Derne Street which becomes Myrtle Street.
  12. Take a right at Joy Street, and proceed down to the Abiel Smith School (46 Joy Street).

  13. Handicapped-accessible rest room available here.
  14. After visiting there, walk back up Joy Street, past two later sites of the New England Watch and Ward Society (second floor of 41 Mount Vernon Street, and 3 Joy Street).
  15. Where Joy Street ends at Boston Common, take a right onto Beacon Street.
  16. Walk down the hill to 46 Beacon Street, and past the Somerset Club at #42. Then double back until Park Street.
  17. You rejoin the Freedom Trail going down Park Street.

  18. You will pass the Union Club at 8 Park Street.
  19. At the end of Park Street (Park Street MBTA station and Brimstone Corner), take a left on Tremont Street.
  20. Proceed down Tremont Street until you reach the Parker House.
  21. Make a right down School Street where you will pass Old City Hall on the left.

  22. At the end of School Street, on the left, is the Old Corner Bookstore, the site of Anne Hutchinson house.
  23. Take a right on Washington down this part of Newspaper Row. You will immediately reach Milk Street, and the Old South Meeting House.
  24. Go a short way down Milk Street and take a right onto Devonshire and walk down one-half block to #161.

  25. On the top floor of this building, Louis D. Brandeis had his law firm, Brandeis, Dunbar, and Nutter.
  26. To see the remaining site in the Financial District, continue down Devonshire Street, take a right on Franklin Street to see the original entrance to #100, the Boston Safe Deposit Company, whose vault provided the nickname for the Boston Coordinating Committee, a powerful business group.
  27. Retrace your steps back to Washington Street, take a right and walk to the beginning of the street at the Old State House.

  28. At numbers 244 (Boston Globe), 246 (Boston Advertiser), 255 (Boston Herald later the Post), 259 (Boston Post), 262 (Boston Journal), and 264 (Boston Traveler branch office) Washington Street were the sites of other buildings from Newspaper Row.
The walking time for this tour takes about one hour. With this route, you will see a total of 26 sites, plus the key blocks of Beacon Street, and more of State and Tremont streets than you would if you took the Freedom Trail.

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