Lexington Doors – #ThursdayDoors

The plaque says “Headquarters Lexington Minutemen 1775”

You really can’t get much more central to this country’s (US) becoming a free nation than the Common in Lexington, Massachusetts. Claimed to be the “birthplace of American liberty,” Lexington shares in the legend of firing the first shot, tallying the first wounded, winning the first battle and so on and so forth with the neighboring town of Concord. Ironically, at the time, this was all in a day’s work for the folks living around the Green. They were focused on the war at hand and the difficult task that was day-to-day living in April 1775. 100 years later, the very special planned day-to-day tasks fully overwhelmed the town.

The No Facilities research department, this time including sites other than Wikipedia, unearthed the following factoids:

There was a memorial service held in the Town Hall in the evening of April 18th, 1875.

On the 19th, following a 100-gun salute, the official ceremonies began in a tent designed to hold 7,000 people.

John Greenleaf Whittier recited the poem he wrote for occasion, “Lexington–1775” – You can find the full text of the poem here, but I chose the following excerpt to share:

No seers were they, but simple men;
Its vast results the future hid:
The meaning of the work they did
Was strange and dark and doubtful then.

After the ceremonies, there was a parade. In the reviewing stand were President Grant, Vice President Wilson, members of Cabinet, several governors of other states and many public officials from throughout the region and beyond. All in all, about 100 dignitaries.

The historic battle sites were marked, and many of the homes were decorated.

A Centennial Banquet was held in a tent, seating 3,500.

The problem was, that about 100,000 people had shown up for the festivities. The temperature is said to have been bitter cold, and the lack of food and transportation facilities caused “discomfort” which led to problems which led to the town officials having to request the Boston Police department to provide crowd control.

It’s worth noting that the town of Concord had been invited to join in the festivities, but they declined because they were planning their own celebration. To this day, the towns of Lexington and Concord both lay claim to first experiencing these remarkable events in the history of this country.

While the residents were not prepared for the onslaught of visitors, they soon realized that they had a collective landmark worth preserving, and that it should include the buildings surrounding the green. As mentioned on the plaque (shared yesterday) on the Battle Green, one house was destroyed the following year, but preservation became the goal from that point forward. The homeowners around the Common agreed in 1917 to limit their property to residential use. An historic district was formed in 1956 that includes the Common and several nearby historic sites.

Perhaps less well known was the role played in this historic preservation by the famous French conservationist Edouard Frampton. Edouard pointed out that no aspect of these historic houses was as important as the front door. He helped many of the homeowners avoid the mistake of replacing their doors with newer “prefab” versions that were often selling for less than the cost of repairing and painting the original door. Today, one of his many descendants, Norman Frampton, resides in Montreal, Canada and maintains a site dedicated to the virtual preservation of historic, and otherwise interesting doors. If you want to see the many collections of doors in his care, visit his site – check out his doors – and ask the little blue frog for instructions. Following a 100-gun salute to Norm (just kidding) the frog will lead you into the main gallery.

The local gallery features the homes surrounding the Lexington Common and several nearby buildings.


82 thoughts on “Lexington Doors – #ThursdayDoors

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  1. Amazing, Dan. Though I’ve been to Boston a number of times, I don’t think I’ve ever been to Lexington. Your photo journeys help me see the area with fresh eyes and deep respect. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Black and white seems to be the colour theme for this area and for good reason. It is very striking.

    These buildings are magnificent and I’m impressed that compared to the modest dwellings built in Canada at this time, these are quite grand. We are lucky that we have never had to experience a battle on our front doorstep.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Joanne. Can you imagine being a witness to the battle? All that separates that house from the “Battle Green” is a two-lane street with room for parking on one side – too close for me. You should see the grand houses being built in this town today. It’s amazing.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. What a collection of stately homes. A lot of flags displayed too. So much history in such a small piece of our country and it’s being preserved spectacularly in Lexington. Love the lamp, even electrified. Thanks for an interesting history lesson.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. It’s a little overwhelming to walk around and realize the way battles were fought back then and know that an entire battle could have played out on that green.

      I do like the lamp, and the fact that these guys met in a tavern ;-)

      Like

  4. What an excellent post. I’ve only been to Massachusetts once. I actually stayed in Rhode Island (I was there for a business meeting) but my husband and I drove to Mass and spent a day exploring several sites I wanted to see. The highlight for me was standing on the bridge between Lexington and Concord. This post and your photos makes me want to go back and visit the Lexington Common. I love history!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mae. I need to take the trip to Concord the next time I’m up there. I have been there many times, but I have very little photography to show for it. It truly is amazing to stand in these places, and realize what took place there.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am not sure what part of this is more mind boggling. A tent for 7000, 10,000 showing up, or where they parked all the horses and vehicles. The Lexington Commons does not look all that big. Nice post Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ypu dropped a zero, John – 100,000 showed up. That’s like a western plains worth of horses. It’s mind boggling. I suppose that by 1875, there might have been a railroad serving the area, but I’m sure they didn’t swipe their “Charlie Card” and hop on the ‘T’ – even with stopping to take pictures, it only took 10-15 minutes to walk around the Common.

      Liked by 1 person

            1. Terrific. I noticed a USS Lexington memorial on Monday. My dad served on the CV16 USS Lexington in WWII The original Lady Lex was CV 2 and was sunk. I wonder which they are going to memorialize?

              Like

    1. I think that refers to the fact that this would have been a teachers college. Most normal schools started out as teachers colleges.

      If you didn’t know that, don’t feel bad. I learned that from comments on a port of mine from several years ago.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Like

  6. Fab share today, Dan! I loooove the lil lamp, lectricity and all!
    Lexington and Concord are not things we think about much, but remember from school. I was in Concord about…26 years ago. I like the normal school, because I went to one, and the plaques on the houses. Especially poor Jonathan, who just had to get home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I’ve been to Concord a number of times in the past 10 years, but sadly, no pictures. I need to go back one of the next times I’m up that way.

      I did think of you when I saw the plague for the Normal school. I think you explained that to me when I mentioned that in a doors post for Central CT University (which started as a normal school). Of course there was also the lamp.

      I felt bad for Jonathan :(

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jonathan’s plaque is incredibly romantic to me. One, some of us just have to die at home — I begged God not to let me die in Georgia, and two, died at his wife’s feet.
        Ball State was originally a normal school, and that is still its major course of study.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This and the Civil War are my favorite parts of our history. I’d love to tour here. I got goosebumps reading your post and the image captions!

    The black and white houses are wonderful. Their commitment to the country and flying their red, white, and blue flags of the USA really stood out against the houses, didn’t they? Perhaps, that was the point?

    Your segue to Norm was the best evah!! WOW! You have written some of the best I’ve read, and this one tops them all to date. I LOVED IT! Well done! If I ever have the need to be introduced to a group you’re the one I’m reaching out to first. You have a gift with that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Deborah. I can introduce anyone, as long as I can play fast and loose with the facts.

      I think the current owners of these houses must feel an obligation to honor the history they are surrounded by, I applaud their effort – it can’t be easy maintaining one of thses buildings.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I loved this post, Dan! Painting a picture of what is was like in 1875 was a treat to read. I hope you do a similar one on Concord. Buckman Tavern is stunning. And I’m glad you included the plaque of the man who died at his wife’s feet, because as you said so well, “freedom is never free”. The house with the skinny dormer has a very cool tiny, bay-like window just below. And is Norm really a descendent of the man who helped keep “real” doors on historical houses? That is fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jennie. Norm’s intro is fiction. Perhaps I’m better at that than I think. Your other comments are spot on. I love that little dormer. I am glad I included the plague about the man who died. We remember these places, but we forget the price that was paid and the people who made that sacrifice.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You fooled me, Dan. I hope it made Norm smile. 🙂 I’m glad you liked my comments, as your post was terrific. As the song goes, “And I won’t forget the man who died and gave his life for me.” Please do a doors post on Concord! Patriots Day isn’t too far off.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s a wonderfully appropriate song, Jennie.

          I might be back up that way before Patriots Day.

          Don’t feel bad about being fooled. It wasn’t my intention, but this intro appeared real to several people.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. I love that cock-eyed addition to the tavern. Lexington and Concord ought to have an annual throw-down for the honor of Birthplace of the American Revolution. Mud-wrassling, or a rap battle or an 18th-Century-technology cook-off. Big tourist attraction. Get all the local merchants and reenactors involved. I’ll come sell books. There’s something for you to do in your retirement: Make it so.

    Liked by 1 person

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