LEXINGTON, Mass. (WGGB) — Here in Western Massachusetts, there are so many great places that are just a tank of gas away. This week, we head east to the birthplace of the American Revolution: Lexington and Concord.
In these historical Middlesex County towns, visitors can step back in time and almost feel what it was like to actually be there just before the battles began.
“It was late at night. Paul Revere and William Dawes had ridden through at midnight going down to the home of our minister to warn Sam Adams and John Hancock because that’s where they were staying,” explained Jane Morse, guide with the Lexington Historical Society.
The first shot of the American Revolution was fired right here in Lexington.
It set in motion the battles of Concord and the rest of the American Revolution, but that fateful morning the Minute Men gathered here at Buckman Tavern. Those men were all under the command of Captain John Parker.
“He had his men mustering on the green, waiting for these Red Coats to come, trying to get information about where they are and when they are going to get there and so forth, wasn’t getting any information so he told his men that they could disperse but they had to stay within ear shot of the call to arms in case he needed them,” says Jane.
Buckman Tavern, which is just across the street, still has bullet holes from that morning. But perhaps the most entrancing part of Lexington is being able to follow in these men’s footsteps.
A visit to Lexington would also not be complete without a tour of the town’s monuments and buildings.
On a beautiful day, Lexington is a great place to visit because you can easily walk from one historical monument to another.
In addition to the Buckman Tavern, the Hancock-Clarke House is just up the road and was where John Hancock and Samuel Adams stayed as Paul Revere rode through with the news that the British were on their way.
Even Munroe Tavern gives some insight into the British side of the battle.
Monuments also surround the Lexington Battle Green as well. Some with obvious significance.
“The obelisk on the green where are buried the bodies of the American casualties of the Battle of Lexington, April 19th, 1775. It is thus a graveyard in that perspective,” Bill Poole, Captain of the Lexington Minute Men Company told us.
And other monuments are more subtle.
“We have a boulder over here that marks the line where the Minute Men stood, we have pretty much an idea of where they stood that day from all the testimony that was given,” said Bill.
The area also has its share of hidden treasures, one of which is the Old Burying Ground.
“Many Lexington residents don’t even know this cemetery is here,” explained Bill Scouler, member with the Lexington Historical Society.
Marked by a large granite boulder just left of the white First Parish Church, the entrance to the burying ground is easy to miss and looks more like a driveway.
Dating back to 1690, the burying ground is the final resting place for many of those who lived in Lexington during the American Revolution.
The grave markers, which are mostly slate, have stood the test of time and weathered the elements. And there are many famous names among the markers including Captain John Parker who led the Minute Men at the battle of Lexington.
But this is not the only hidden treasure here in Lexington. There’s also a belfry which was once used to call people to worship, but on April 19th, 1775 it also called the militia to the common for the start of the revolution.
“The replica of the belfry that used to be on the battle green but is now on a hill that is just on the other side of Massachusetts Avenue from the battle green,” said Bill.
It’s a winding and uneven walk up to the belfry but it provides visitors with a great picnic spot and view over the town green.
And just a few minutes away in Concord, visitors can also find a stretch of beautiful shops and restaurants along with more history about the beginning of the American Revolution.
Lexington Historical Society
Concord Chamber of Commerce
The Old Belfry
Minute Man National Park
Liberty Ride: The Unique Tour of Lexington and Concord
National Heritage Museum
Lexington Minute Men Organization
Lexington’s Old Burying Ground
Lexington Battle Green