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  • Mikah Meyer

How a Few Boston Suburbs Kept Americans from Being British

Unit #50 / 413 - Minute Man National Historical Park

How often do we learn about Revolutionary War battles and the concept is difficult to comprehend compared to 21st-century tactics?

With historical sites often represented by fields of grass allowed to return to their natural state, like at Saratoga National Historical Park, it can be difficult to imagine the happenings of 18th-century America even while standing in the same spot.

However, at Minute Man National Historical Park in suburban Boston, guests can walk the same path that a day-long Revolutionary War battle took place, even entering some of the 11 original houses that witnessed the fight.

But it's not just any battle. This was the opening of the American Revolution, and a battle that stretched 16 miles.

Of particular note to that fight is the North Bridge in Concord, MA. It's the location of the first shot fired in the American Revolutionary War: "The shot heard round the world."

Not to be overshadowed, Minute Man NHP also boasts the locations of the first British and Colonial deaths in the war, and the point where Paul Revere was captured as he rode to Concord to warn of the "regulars" coming.

It's this ability to walk the exact same path as those who fought on April 19, 1775, that makes this site unique. Not only does it allow visitors the chance to descend upon the Battle Road, just as those "Minute Men" colonialists did when roused from their sleep to fight, but it also provides an easily traveled path to comprehend the war that made us, the U.S.

3 Minute Man Highlights

1. Multimedia Orientation

At the Minute Man Visitor Center, guests are treated to a 25-minute presentation of the site's history with multiple screens, light shows, and an LED map showcasing the movements of the British and Colonialists between Boston and Concord.

Going beyond the typical Visitor Center orientation film, this interweaves multiple digital techniques to share the story.

2. Hike or Bike the Battle Road Trail

Though the Battle Road Trail stretches far beyond the park grounds, the approximately 5-mile section to the west of the Minute Man Visitor Center provides a soft dirt trail connecting over 23 historical sites.

Perfect for a leisurely run, bike ride, or Ranger-led walk.

3. Listen to a Volunteer Presentation

There were multiple volunteers the day I visited Minute Man, including those dressed as British soldiers and others well-versed in describing the North Bridge's timeline of events. Volunteers are great to talk to because they are incredibly passionate about the parks, so make sure to utilize them on your visits.

Upcoming Units (COMMENT with recommendations. What should I do at each park? Local interesting detours? Food stops?)


-Salem Maritime National Historic Site

-Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site

-Adams National Historical Park

-Boston African American National Historic Site

-Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area

-Boston National Historical Park

-Cape Cod National Seashore

-Frederick Law Olmstead National Historic Site

-John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site

-Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site

-New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

-Springfield Armory National Historic Site

The journey thus far:

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