The Old North Church, built in 1723, is where Paul Revere instructed patriots to hang the two lanterns on April 18, 1775, that warned of the impending British occupation. The two lights signaled to Charlestown patriots that the British were taking boats across the Charles River and not coming by land as noted in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride.” Boston’s oldest church structure holds the original bells and has held many ceremonies commemorating its historic importance. — Leanne Burden Seidel and Lisa Tuite
C. A. Lawrence/ Boston Globe Archive
April 29, 1927: A view of Christ Church in the City of Boston, known to everyone as the Old North Church as seen from opposite Hull Street in the North End. Founded in 1722, the church is Boston's oldest surviving church building. It was here that two lanterns were hung in the steeple on the evening of April 18 1775 as a signal from Paul Revere that the British were marching to Lexington and Concord by sea across the Charles River and not by land.
Thomas O'Connor/Globe Staff
July 8, 1955: Blown over during Hurricane Carol on Aug. 31, 1954, the steeple on the Old North Church was repaired and restored. The bells in the tower pealed out a traditional hymn as the crane lowered the steeple into place and workmen used cable jacks to line it up atop the base plate.
Old North Church
April 18, 1962: The interior of the Old North Church as Easter Sunday neared. The high box pews were designed to retain the heat from hot coals or bricks that were placed on the floor of the pews on cold days. The Rev. Howard Pearson Kellett was vicar of the church at this time.
Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff
May 13, 1976: The moonrise over the Old North Church was seen from the Charlestown bridge and shot with a 300mm telephoto lens.
John Blanding/Globe Staff
April 15, 1979: Sandra and Barbara Thomas, fifth generation descendants of Robert Newman, the sexton at Old North Church who carried the original lanterns to the steeple, reenacted the trip in an annual ceremony held at the Old North Church.
Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff
Feb. 21, 1982: The landmark steeple of the Old North Church houses the oldest change-ringing bells in North America. Old North's ring of eight bells of different sizes and tones was cast in Gloucester, England, in 1744 by Abel Rudhall.
Mark Wilson/Globe Staff
Feb. 15, 1989: Mary Shuler, a preservationist and restorer, painted the wood trim in front of a 1720s window in the Old North Church. The window, through which sexton Robert Newman was thought to have left the church after hanging the lanterns in 1775, was believed to have been destroyed. It was instead covered over when the alcove was remodeled in 1815 to accommodate a bust of George Washington. It is said to have been the earliest bust of Washington displayed in a public place.
John Blanding/Globe Staff
Aug. 13, 1983: Riggers pushed the restored bells into the steeple of the Old North Church. On Sept. 3, 1783, the bells sounded the signing of the Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolution. Their homecoming prepared them to ring out that bicentennial in September 1983.
John Blanding/ Globe Staff
Aug. 14, 1983: Edward Zullo was Paul Revere at festivities that marked the return of restored bells to Old North Church. The oldest set of bells in America returned home after four months on display at the Museum of Science and weeks of repairs to the bell tower.