Like an arrow pointing back to the Old World, Long Wharf, built in 1711, dominated Boston Harbor. It reached well past approximately 80 other wharves bristling out from the Shawmut Peninsula. About a third of a mile long, it extended the town's main commercial street, King Street (now State Street), far into the harbor.
In addition to its prominent commercial role, Long Wharf witnessed the arrival of royal governors, chained pirates, British troops, and other historic spectacles. In 1774, British General Gage and his troops arrived here to quell Boston's rebellious spirit in a scene captured by Paul Revere’s engraving at right. Gage and his men fled Boston in 1776 from this same wharf.
When fugitive slave Anthony Burns was brought to the wharf in shackles in 1854, to be returned to slavery in Virginia, all of downtown Boston shut down and tens of thousands of people took to the streets in protest.