Old North Church
193 Salem St
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Old North Church (officially, Christ Church in the City of Boston) is the location from which the famous "One if by land, and two if by sea" signal is said to have been sent. This phrase is related to Paul Revere's midnight ride, of April 18, 1775.
The church is a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. It is the oldest standing church building in Boston. Inside the church is a bust of George Washington, which the Marquis de Lafayette reportedly remarked was the best likeness of him he had ever seen.
In April 1775, Paul Revere told three Boston patriots to hang two lanterns in the steeple. These men were the church sexton Robert Newman and Captain John Pulling - the two of whom historian David Hackett Fischer suggests each carried one lantern up to the steeple - as well as Thomas Bernard, who stood watch for British troops outside the church.
The lanterns were displayed to send a warning to Charlestown patriots across the Charles River about the movements of the British Army. Revere and William Dawes would later deliver the same message to Lexington themselves, but this lantern method was a fast way to inform the back-up riders in Charlestown about the movements of the British; these back-up riders planned to deliver the warning message to Lexington and Concord in case Revere and Dawes were arrested on the way.
"One if by land, and two if by sea" is from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Paul Revere's Ride". One lantern was to notify Charlestown that the British Army would march over Boston Neck and the Great Bridge, and two were to notify them that the troops were taking boats across the Charles River to land near Phips farm.
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