Tag Archives: Boston Massacre

A Historic Start

Walking Boston’s Freedom Trail and seeing the Old State House, site of the Boston Massacre, provides some historic context for today’s innovation.
Old State House

Exploring what is required to start something with sustained impact, I have found over several months of research various examples of organizations or programs that have continued to maintain a positive impact for at least seven years or more. [1] Once identified, I reached out to a founding member to learn more about these starts, all of which were originated in California and were focused on education or civic engagement. [2]

Having recently moved to the Boston, Massachusetts area, I hope to continue my exploration of starts, now in the New England region. My focus will be on relatively recent civic entrepreneurialism for the next few months, but I wanted to also begin to understand the historical context of a place with a long history of innovation.

My study of the historic importance of the New England region includes the spark that began a revolution—a revolution which established the United States of America’s independence. The location of that spark is part of American folklore and can be found where the Boston Massacre took place, marked by a circle of cobblestones on Boston’s Freedom Trail, in front of the Old State House. The Old State House is Boston’s oldest remaining public building [3] and the view seen in the above illustration comes from my standing on the marker for the Boston Massacre, which is placed in a pedestrian island (currently closed off due to construction) between the busy, three-way intersection of Devonshire, State, and Congress Streets.

Standing on the stone marker, having cars and people rush quickly past, I can imagine the chaos and disorientation of those gathered in this very spot on March 5, 1770, when British soldiers fired into the rowdily protesting crowd. This tragic occurrence took the lives of five Americans, the stories of which hardened a resolve to gain independence from British rule. [4] My mind also goes to the Deborah Nankivell’s comment (see ‘Start Thinking with the Whole Mind’) regarding historic transformations being initiated by dire circumstances, stating these changes are often “born of desperation.”

Looking up at the balcony of the Old State House under which the pages of American history have been written, my resolve to find the people developing something with impact is both renewed and amplified. I hope you will continue to join me on this journey of discovery.

Jason Freeman is the founder of Work of Start.


1. Average time in operation is approximately 15 years.
2. Five posts were focused on educational starts and one on civic entrepreneurialism.
3. Acquired from The Bostonian Society – BostonHistory.org
4. Acquired from The Bostonian Society – BostonHistory.org