Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Shot Heard Round the World

If I had to pick a favorite of the days we were in Boston, Monday would be at the top of the list. I loved Lexington and Concord.

Lexington is a lovely town. We arrived about 9:30 in the morning at the green.IMG_2069

This gentleman comes to the green and waits for people to whom he can offer to tell the story of April 19, 1775. We were the only ones there, so we had him all to ourselves. He was delightful. He’s a retired scientist who worked for MIT on something to do with starwars technology. He lives in Lexington through October and then goes to Florida for the winter months.

IMG_2073 Monument to the minutemen who died that day on Lexington Green, “the first victims to the sword of British tyranny and oppression.”

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We were told that the common is the same size now that it was then. It’s smaller than I thought it would be. This is what the Redcoats saw as they approached the green. The minutemen were standing to the right and had been given instructions not to fire. They were just supposed to make known their presence. The captain of the Redcoats had told his men not to shoot, as well. No one knows for sure what happened to start the altercation.


There was a church that stood on this site on that day. John Hancock was the grandfather of the patriot, John Hancock.



This is a Church of Christ that looks out onto the commons. I loved the architecture.


IMG_2076 I think this was a Unitarian Church – there are lots of churches in Massachusetts that started out as some other denomination, but are now Unitarian. I’ll not say anything else. This was beautiful.


This was the cemetery adjacent to the church.

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The famous Minuteman statue…


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"These men gave everything dear in life Yea and Life itself in support of the common cause."


This is Buckman Tavern where 77 minutemen were waiting for word of what was happening 13 miles away in Boston. There is an actual bullet hole in the door from the battle on the green. There are some who say that, because each man had to discharge his firearm before entering the tavern, that it could have been that sound that started the battle. Something else that was interesting is that Hancock kept a trunk with all of his letters and financial records regarding preparing for the revolution in the tavern. During the battle, someone carried the trunk through the battle to a hiding place. It was remarkable that the trunk wasn’t captured.

It was originally built for cattle drovers who were taking their herds to Boston to be sold. It was also used for churchgoers for their Sunday “nooning.” Families would go to the tavern to eat, rest, and refill their footwarmers between the Sunday morning and the Sunday afternoon services. It was surprising to me that everything was located so close together. We did take a tour of the tavern.


While we were waiting for the tour to begin, we walked down to Dunkin Donuts to get something to drink. This was the entrance to Main Street.


It’s a very pretty town. On this morning there so many people out hiking and riding bikes. There is a battle trail you can hike or bike from Lexington to Concord. It’s 5 and a half miles long and it looked like many were choosing to bike it this morning.


This is the First Baptist Church of Lexington. I loved it.

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After we had our little rest stop we headed back to Buckman Tavern.

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After we toured the tavern, we walked about 5 blocks away to the Hancock-Clarke house. This is where Sam Adams and John Hancock were staying when they were warned that they had to leave because “the Redcoats were coming!” If they had been captured, the Revolution might not have ever happened. This was actually John Hancock’s grandfather’s house, but was being used by Reverend Clarke, the patriot’s cousin-in-law. John Hancock left his Aunt Lydia and fiancee behind to watch the battle on the green. Aunt Lydia was good friends with British General Gage’s wife who was an American. Some say that Gen. Gage’s wife gave the Americans info. In fact, later on, when the general and his wife built a house, she was given a separate wing. Theirs did not end up a happy marriage. I learned all kinds of interesting facts - a person was taxed for each of their windows and closets, if they had any. You can see that this house was heavily taxed.


Other homes in the area…We thought it was interesting to see how many times that they had been added onto. We figured this one had had at least three additions.


After we toured the Hancock-Clarke house, we drove down the battle road and did walk part of the way. Because I live in Texas, it was hard for me to realize how close together everything was and how populated the area was. As the minutemen and Redcoats moved from Lexington to Concord, they passed farms and taverns. This was a tavern. I can’t remember its name.



You could visit with the colonists if you so desired.



Walking down the road to Concord.




This is the Wayside in Concord. It was once the home of Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne (from 1852-1870), and Margaret Lathrop, who was the author of The Five Little Peppers. Hawthorne gave it its name and Wayside was the only house he ever owned. The barn was where the Alcott girls staged their plays.


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This is Orchard House, the house Louisa May Alcott lived in when she wrote Little Women, one of my favorite books.IMG_2116

The barn behind the house…


I didn’t realize that Concord was the home (and burial place) of so many authors.





The battle that began at Lexington culminated here at the North Bridge in Concord. Minutemen from all the surrounding towns met the Redcoats here. Ultimately, the Redcoats retreated to Boston.

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The home that overlooked the battle, the Old Manse… It was the home of Reverend William Emerson, grandfather to Ralph Waldo. It remained in the Emerson family for 169 years.



After we left the North Bridge area we went to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.


I don’t know how the pallbearers got the caskets up to the top of the ridge. It was very steep.

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This was the Alcott’s plot.

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After our trek through Sleepy Hollow, we stopped at the Colonial Inn for a late lunch.






Because we have to cram every single thing to be seen into each trip we make, we couldn’t leave Concord without seeing Walden Pond. After all, I can remember writing a paper on transcendentalism. Their definition of pond and mine are not quite the same. It is really more like Lake Walden. It was beautiful, as you can see from the pictures. These were taken as we walked around the path that goes along the edge of the pond. There were a lot of people out for their last fling of summer…lots of college students, as well.

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The view from Thoreau’s cabin down to the pond…


Back to Boston we headed…and since we had only walked about 10 miles, we decided to walk a few more to get dessert. Did I mention Mike’s Pastry?








The Old State House at night…

IMG_2178 IMG_2179 I think this ring of stones in the middle of a traffic island represents the place where the Boston Massacre occurred.


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