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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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Detwiller Surveys “Liberty Road,” 21 May

Longfellow National Historic Site in Cambridge has been celebrating the 250th anniversary of its construction with a series of lectures. I spoke in March, for example, about John Vassall, the man who commissioned that mansion and then moved out suddenly in September 1774.

On Thursday, 21 May, at 6:30 P.M., the site will host a photographic lecture by someone who really knows about the region’s Georgian architecture: Frederic C. Detwiller, architect and historic preservation planner of New England Landmarks.

Rick’s lecture will be titled “Liberty Road: Building a Revolution,” and will illustrate the literal “buildup” to the American Revolution by examining homes and landmarks erected by people on both sides of the political conflict. Among the topics he’ll build on:

  • The Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House (shown above), including its role as the first headquarters of Gen. George Washington.
  • Other homes and buildings along “Tory Row” in Cambridge and beyond.
  • The social clubs, fraternal groups, and spies whose activities reflected the differing values of the time.
  • Public architecture such as the original Faneuil Hall and Hollis Hall at Harvard.
  • Vanished landmarks like Gov. Thomas Hutchinson’s Milton mansion.
  • The revival of eighteenth-century styles in Colonial Revival architecture.
This free event honors the memory of architectural historian Margaret Henderson Floyd, a founding member of the Friends of the Longfellow House. It will be held in the Longfellow Carriage House, behind the mansion at 105 Brattle Street. To reserve a space, call Longfellow National Historic Site at 617-876-4491.

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