J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Free Walking Tour: The Powder Alarm in Cambridge

As part of the Cambridge Historical Collaborative’s annual Discovery Days, Boston 1775 will offer a free historical walking tour of that city’s Brattle Street called:

“The Powder Alarm of 1774 and the End of British Government in Massachusetts”

In September 1774, Cambridge was the site of a massive confrontation between supporters and opponents of Massachusetts’s royal government. This event, since named the Powder Alarm, began when Gov. Thomas Gage seized gunpowder and cannons assigned to the provincial militia. In response, thousands of armed New England farmers marched on Boston. Massing on Cambridge Common, those crowds used their numbers to intimidate royal appointees into resigning.

Those days made clear that the governor no longer exercised any authority outside of Boston. Loyalist families left Cambridge. The British military and bands of Patriots raced to control artillery pieces, a competition that led to war seven months later at Lexington and Concord.

The walking tour will visit several sites central to the confrontation, including the homes of the province’s attorney general, the lieutenant governor, and the militia general who started it all.

The tour will take place on Saturday, 11 August, and Saturday, 18 August, rain or shine. It begins outside the Cambridge Center for Adult Education at 42 Brattle Street, shown above. I aim to start at 2:00 and end at 3:15, but that may depend on how well I can walk and talk at the same time.

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