Monday, October 16, 2006

Hancock-Clarke House

The Lexington History Society offers tours of three local buildings all important in 1775 when fighting began between the colonists and the British regulars. The Buckman Tavern housed many men from area militias on the night of April 18th of that year. It is historically significant but few objects are original to the Tavern in 1775. There is some interesting artwork and the actual front door that was hit by a bullet from the battle the ensuing morning. But by far more interesting is the Hancock-Clarke House less than a quarter mile away. It has a small museum of objects relating to the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and a vest owned by John Hancock.

It was the parsonage of the grandfather of John Hancock and of Jonas Clarke who was the town reverend in 1775. On the evening of April 18, 1775 John Hancock and Sam Adams were hiding from the British regulars in this house. Many of the objects there now are original to the house and that period. Since the minister was the most educated man in town and one of the wealthier, the house is very nicely furnished. The house was the destination of Paul Revere and William Dawes on the midnight ride. Our guide explained it very well. She was very sweet and patient with our questions and comments. On my next trip to Lexington I would like to see the Historical Society's third property, the Munroe Tavern, as well as the The National Heritage Museum , which is owned and operated by the Free Masons.


At October 16, 2006, Blogger gus said...

Does this house have the kitchen attached or does it stand apart to prevent fire as in some of the other colonial houses?

At October 16, 2006, Blogger gus said...

Does the house have wallpaper or stencilling? Nice blog, by the way. Very informative.

At October 17, 2006, Blogger histfan said...

The kitchen is inside of the house. The original kitchen table is there and a nice collection of period kitchen implements. The floor boards are wide and creaky. It gives the tour an authentic feel.

At October 17, 2006, Blogger histfan said...

I cannot remember if there was any wallpaper. Most of the house did not have any. Perhaps one room had reproduction wallpaper.

The Gore Place in Waltham has gone to great pains and expense to make very accurate reproductions of the wallpaper original to the house.

A historic house museum in Marblehead, MA has beautiful Colonial era wallpaper. They retouched it a few years ago. The wallpaper alone is worth a visit to the North Shore of Boston.

At October 17, 2006, Blogger gus said...

Do you know anything about Fort Hill in the Roxbury area of Boston?

At October 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities provides funding to help the National Parks Service maintain some of their historic sites.

At October 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading about the Irish Potato Famine and the subsequent deluge of Irish into the Boston and New York areas. Do you know of any historical sites dating from this era? One of the books said that the Irish often lived in cellars in the most abject and filthy conditions; that they tolerated this better than did other groups because they were used to these conditions in Ireland. One source even states that a landlord of one of the tenements slaughtered a diseased pig in the kitchen of the tenement and fed it to the tenants.

At October 21, 2006, Blogger histfan said...

The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities changed its name to Historic New England. Its headquarters is at the Harrison Gray Otis house on Cambridge Street in Boston near Government Center. Tours of the House are free to residents of the City of Boston with ID.

Historic New England recently acquired the Stephen Philipps Trust House Museum in Salem, MA. Some of their docents seem less than well prepared. The Codman House near Walden Pond is very handsome.

I don't know what sort of relationship Historic New England has with the National Parks System if any at all. The website of historic New England aggressively pushes their memberships.

At October 28, 2006, Blogger histfan said...

There is a tenenment history museum in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
in the 1840s and 1850s German and Irish people lived in these delapidated residences. Since 1988 the museum's staff and budget have grown considerably.


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