Imatges de pÓgina


founded in 1630. The oldest building now standing, Massachusetts Hall,
Four others, still standing, were built before the Revolution. During
the siege of Boston the students were sent out to Concord and the buildings turned over to
the soldiers, under Washington.

Harvard College was was built in 1720.


Vol. 20.

APRIL, 1909.

On Historic Ground.

Fred W. Reynolds.

On the nineteenth of April the Boston street railway, running a suburban line from Boston through Lexington to Concord, hurries the season a little and puts on open cars. In one of these, if the day is balmy, we may ride, without discomfort, over twenty miles of one of the most interesting historical highways in America. The nineteenth of April is a Massachusetts holiday. If we wish to avoid the crowds and secure the chance as well to linger over these scenes of the beginning of the Revolution, we shall need to make the journey afoot. The twenty miles are no longer now than they were when a regiment of British soldiers marched over them, with sprightly step in the morning, in confusion and mad haste in the afternoon. Three of the twenty we may save, since we take our starting point at Cambridge, three or four miles west and south of Boston on the river Charles, and just off the route of the British regiment, which lay across the Charles nearer its mouth and thence through Somerville and inland west and north of Boston. At North Cambridge, fifteen minutes from our starting point, we intercept the route and shall follow it thence, past stone tablets which at intervals along the way record the events of that fateful nine

No. 4.

teenth of April, 1775, through quiet suburban and country landscape, to the town of Concord, as appropriately named now, especially on days other than this nineteenth of April, as in the drowsy days before the Revolution.

Paul Revere's route was not through North Cambridge, for two British officers, in an attempt to stop him in Somerville, turned him into the Medford road further east. But the British passed this way, possibly about midnight, and at Arlington, three miles further on, they found themselves in the wake of Revere, who after sounding the alarm in Medford had made a sharp angle back to this chief highway to Concord. Boston is not now the cramped, irregular peninsula of those early days. Solid streets of brick residences rise now where then were estuaries and swamps from the river and the harbor. The Back Bay, Boston's aristocratic quarter, is on made land. But the old town, built on a group of three hills, is still the most conspicuous part of the city. On the highest point shines the gilded dome of the Massachusetts State House. Well beyond, really in really in Charlestown, though, from North Cambridge one does not see that the river and the harbor cut it off from Boston, is the Bunkerhill Monument, a high

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granite obelisk, standing out plainly from a mass of roofs and towering business blocks. Near it, on the Boston side, but not distinguishable at this distance, is the old North Church, from the tower of which traditionally hung the Paul Revere signal lights. From Boston through Somerville to North Cambridge, and, indeed, beyond, through Arlington to Lexington, the historic highway is now practically a suburban street. But the houses on the two sides separate, frequently between North Cambridge and Arlington, and between Arlington and Lexington, to yield views of placid rolling fields and picturesque hill slopes. The roadway is hard and clean, street cars and automobiles, whiz along, carriages, bicycles, and pedestrians move more leisurely, flags swing from the houses, and the residents along the way manifest a mild interest in the crowds and an excusable pride in their fine old houses and in their ability to celebrate at home home the stirring events, a memory of which at least once a year turns the eyes of the nation in their direction.


The stone tablets that one first gets sight of recount details of the retreat of the British, who all along this pleasant way were hard pressed by the gathering farmers. Their ammunition was low, they were about worn out, and their progress was impeded by the large number of wounded in their wagons. But soon the tablets record the events of the early morning as well as of the late afternoon. In the Black Horse Tavern met the Committee of Safety on the evening of the eighteenth and there the three committee men who after the meeting "put up" at the tavern were aroused from their beds "to gaze on the unwonted spectacle" of a British army in the country road. On another

site a tablet relates the exploit of an old man who, lame as well as old, turned upon five soldiers who covered him as he lay under a wall firing upon the retreating column, and with his musket and an old horse pistol killed three of them before their shots tumbled him into the earth senseless. But he was only wounded and lived eighteen years to die peacefully in his bed at the ripe age of ninety-eight. Arlington was formerly called Menotomy. A tablet in the town shows where the old men, those too old to serve as minute men, "captured a convoy of eighteen soldiers with supplies, on its way to join the British at Lexington." Another inscription · marks the "site of the house of Jason Russell, where he and eleven others were captured, disarmed, and killed by the retreating British." Beyond Arlington a tablet points out "where the first armed man was taken in the Revolution," and relates that with "undaunted courage he borrowed another gun, and hastened to join his comrades at Lexington."

Still further toward Lexington is the Munroe Tavern, built in 1695, and used as headquarters and hospital by Lord Percy who with a thousand fresh troops, there met the fleeing British. Along the road in front of the tavern, within the square square formed by Lord Percy's troops, the exhausted soldiers "were obliged to lie down for rest on the ground, their tongues hanging out of their mouths like those of dogs after a chase."

Lexington is one of the loveliest of New England villages. It is level and compact, and yet has hills on almost all sides, one, a long slim ridge, separating one part of the village from another, all affording delightful views of the town and of the surrounding country. The historic green is in the very centre, and is most picturesque fully framed. Broad streets run all around it, and fair country houses face it on all sides from across this street. A quiet beauty and rich historic associations give it a dignity possessed by but few places that one can visit. Here


The Lexington Green.

The house showing plainly across the street was the home of John Harrington, who, wounded in the Lexington fight, dragged himself to his doorstep and died at his wife's feet.

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