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"By the rude bridge that arched the flood ... "

On the Sunday after I dropped Amanda off at Montserrat and met up with Barb and other members of her Tewksbury High School Class of 1972, I finally got to go do something I had been wanting to do for a long time - visit the area of Concord/Lexington and explore a little bit of the history of the area.  As I mentioned in my post the other day, I was able to take pictures of the homes of a few of the famous authors in the area as well as their final resting places but my main reason for going was to search out the Old North Bridge and the sight of "the shot heard 'round the world".

Old North Bridge Visitor's Center

In order to do that I first stopped at the North Bridge Visitors Center which is located in a brick mansion that was built in 1911 by descendents of Major John Buttrick, the colonial officer who first ordered his militia to fire upon British soldiers on April 17th, 1775 and thereby commit treason against the British Empire.

Chandelier at the North Bridge Visitor Center

I'm not sure if this is an original chandelier or not but I thought it was very pretty so I took a picture of it! 

Display Sign at North Bridge Visitors Center

As you can see from this map above, Minute Man National Park covers quite a bit of ground and contains a lot of historic sites.  I didn't have time to get to all of them plus it was a little too hot out to walk the six miles from one end to the other so I'm just going to have to return to cover more ground on a later date.  

The View to the Old North Bridge

Add on the fact that I've got to think that this would be one heck of a gorgeous view to the Old North Bridge when the leaves have turned their glorious colors of autumn and there's that unmistakable crispness in the air that we do so well here in New England! 

Concord Minute Man Statue

Standing at the western end of the Old North Bridge is Concord's Minute Man statue that was sculpted by Daniel Chester French, a native of Concord who won the contest to create a statue to honor the 100th anniversary of the battle in 1875.

Plaque near the Old North Bridge

A plaque nearby the Minute Man statue that was placed there to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle.

Concord Minute Man Statue at the North Bridge

The Minute Man statue is a cast bronze statue that was made from seven melted-down cannons that were used during the Civil War that were donated by Congress for the project.The statue, and the 1875 replica of the bridge, were dedicated at a centennial recognition of the original battle on April 19th, 1875.  

North Bridge, Concord

This is the newest Old North Bridge which was constructed in 2005 to replace the previous bridge that was constructed in 1956 - which was the fifth incarnation of the Old North Bridge. The bridge was rebuilt multiple times in 1875, 1889, and 1909 and for a short while, there was no bridge at the site at all. The original "Battle Bridge" where fighting took place in 1775 actually stood several hundred yards away and was dismantled by the town in 1793.

"Virtual" Paul Revere

Various tours are offered and even though I didn't get to take one myself, I listened in a bit on "Paul Revere's" talk as he explained that even though there are two statues of the Minute Men, he felt that the one here was a better depiction as it showed the farmer leaving his plow to take up arms for his country.  When he asked if anyone had any questions a young boy piped up, "Didn't Paul Revere die a long, long time ago?"  "Why yes he did," his tour guide answered.  "I'm a virtual Paul Revere!"  His young audience seemed to think that was a pretty good answer! 

The Old North Bridge, Concord

The Old North Bridge crosses over the Concord River - a name which ironically the implies peace and harmony.  To walk around the area now, one would think that was always the case but sadly, it most definitely wasn't. 

Kayaking on the Concord River

The river is apparently quite popular with boaters in kayaks and canoes alike.  While doing some research for the area I found a website for a company that rents both just up the river a little ways ... guess what I'm thinking of doing next time?  And no, there will no pictures of me in a kayak! 

The Old North Bridge & The Concord River

This picture probably looks like it was taken while I was standing in the middle of the river but I was actually on the dock of the boathouse that belongs to the Old Manse, a house I mentioned in my post the other day that Nathaniel Hawthorne lived in for a period of time.

The Boathouse of the Old Manse

A little sun flare, anyone? 

Obelisk at the Old North Bridge

This obelisk stands opposite the Minute Man statue on the eastern end of the Old North Bridge; it was erected in 1836, at a time when there was no bridge at the site, by the residents of Concord. On Independence Day, July 4th, 1837, the memorial was dedicated at an event for which Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote his "Concord Hymn". The first, and best known, of the four stanzas of this poem is:

"By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world."

Plaque on the obelisk at the Old North Bridge

The obelisk marks the spot where "the first of the Enemy fell in the War of that Revolution which gave Independence to these United States".

Grave of British Soldiers at the Old North Bridge

British military records indicate that there were three soldiers (all privates in the 4th Regiment) that were missing and presumed dead after the North Bridge fight; two of those soldiers are buried on the eastern side of the river near the obelisk and the other is buried in Concord Center. The words on the stone are from the poem "Lines" that was written by the American poet James Russell Lowell.

"They came three thousand miles and died,
to keep the past upon its throne:
Unheard, beyond the ocean tide,
their English Mother made her moan."

Guarding the Old North Bridge

I actually had the unmitigated gall to ask this fella here to pose for me by the bridge!  I even had to interrupt a conversation he was having with another visitor to do it but I figured they had been talking long enough after I had politely waited over ten minutes!

Concord Minute Man

A few more shots of the Minute Man - I had a deuce of a time with the lighting that afternoon and never did get a clear shot of his face! 

Concord Minute Man

Even though the man in the statue represents no one person in particular and could be any farmer who left his plow and picked up his musket to defend his land and liberty, when Daniel Chester French was researching the statue he made sketches of some of the descendants of Captain Isaac Davis of Acton who was marching at the head of the line and shot and killed instantly during the fighting at the bridge.

Standing Guard in Concord

This is one of my favorite pictures as it looks like he's standing guard and still protecting the area - ready to go at a moment's notice should he be needed.

Pointing the Way Back

Finally it was time to make the trek back up to the North Bridge Visitors Center and continue on my journey through history on the road to Lexington and the "other" Minute Man that Daniel Chester French sculpted.  I hope you'll return for the rest of the trip even though it may take me a few days to get it posted! 

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