essay in the Concord Journal about one of the town’s lesser-known historic sites:
No historic building in Concord is more important to the American Revolution than the Wright Tavern. Yet the story of the Wright Tavern is little told, under-appreciated, and largely taken for granted. Although the building is designated a National Historic Landmark, there are no visitor hours posted, no contact person, no information guides you would commonly find at major historic sites.The next meeting of the Round Table will be a forum on “The Future of Concord’s Wright Tavern.” It will feature a panel discussion with some of the town’s leading historical voices:
What makes the Wright Tavern special are two pivotal revolutionary events that took place there in 1774 and 1775. First, the new Provincial Congress of Massachusetts convened in Concord on Oct. 11, 1774 in defiance of the Crown’s authority. Key committees met at the Wright Tavern to hammer out resolutions on the military, safety, and tax collections to prepare for the looming confrontation with the British. The full assembly of the Congress, amounting to nearly 300 representatives, debated the resolutions next door at the town Meeting House.
Rev. William Emerson, the eloquent and fiery patriot minister of First Parish in Concord, grandfather of Ralph Waldo Emerson, opened the sessions with a prayer and officiated as chaplain.
The second event occurred in the wee hours of the historic morning of April 19, 1775 when Concord’s Minute Men assembled at the Wright Tavern ready to defend their town against an advancing 700-man British Expeditionary Force. By 7:30 a.m., the Minute Men had cleared out of the Tavern to join a larger patriot force and soon afterward the British troops moved in to establish their own headquarters under the command of Lt. Col. Francis Smith.
- Jayne Gordon, whose long career in public history has ranged from being a teen-aged guide at the Orchard House to directing educational programs at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
- Robert Gross, author of The Minutemen and Their World and Draper Professor of Early American History at the University of Connecticut.
- Leslie Wilson, Munroe Curator of Special Collections at the Concord Free Public Library, to be represented through a written statement since she will be traveling.