Revolutionary Knowledge

The surprising birthplace of America’s most famous inventor

benfranklinPhoto: Tracy Condidorio

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ong associated with Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin was actually born in Boston on January 17, 1706, and his birthplace, which burned down in 1810, is marked with his bust above the second-floor façade of the building that now stands in its place. Franklin was the 15th of 17 children born to Josiah Franklin, a soap- and candlemaker. He was baptized at Old South Meeting House then (and still) across the street and attended, but did not graduate from, Boston Latin School before running away to Philadelphia at 17.

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Benjamin Franklin’s parents are buried in the Old Granary Burying Ground. Their headstones were replaced in 1827 with an obelisk made of the same granite as the Bunker Hill Monument and an unsuccessful attempt was made in 1830 to change the name to Franklin Cemetery in their honor.

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