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Historic Sites and Buildings

National Historic Landmark BUCKMAN TAVERN

Location: Hancock Street, opposite east side of Lexington Green, Lexington.

Ownership and Administration (1961). Town of Lexington, administered by Lexington Historical Society.

Significance. Buckman Tavern is an integral and important part of the historical setting of the first conflict of the War for American Independence, and it appears in the background of nearly every illustration depicting the brief fight between the British light infantry and the minutemen. One of Lexington's better hostelries, it was built about 1690 by Benjamin Muzzey, who in 1693 received a license to maintain a public house. In 1775 it was owned and operated by John Buckman, a member of the Lexington Minuteman Company, and was a favorite gathering place for the citizen-soldiers on days when they trained on the Lexington Green. Captain Parker's minutemen assembled at the tavern during the night and early morning as Major Pitcairn's British regulars approached from Boston, and the building still exhibits scars left by British musket balls fired at Parker's men drawn up on the Green. Buckman Tavern housed the first village store in Lexington, and later, in 1812, the first town post office.

Buckman Tavern
Buckman Tavern, facing Lexington Green, looks here almost exactly as it did on the morning of April 19, 1775, when it was the mustering place for Lexington's company of minutemen. (National Park Service)

Present Appearance (1961). Some structural changes were made in Buckman Tavern between 1690 and 1775, but it appears today virtually the same as at the time of the battle on Lexington Green. A two-story white clapboard building, the tavern retains its 18th-century taproom with large fireplace and central chimney. Acquired by the town of Lexington in 1913, it constituted a significant extension of the triangle formed by the Battle Green. The Lexington Historical Society, already the owner of the Hancock-Clarke House and the Munroe Tavern, made a generous contribution toward the purchase and, under a 99-year lease, assumed the task of furnishing the building and showing it to the public. Buckman Tavern is now maintained by the Lexington Historical Society as a historic house museum. It also serves as headquarters for the Lexington Minute Men, Inc., an organization that perpetuates the traditions of Captain Parker's company. [16]

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Last Updated: 09-Jan-2005