Buckman Tavern

Lexington
MA

Buckman Tavern in Lexington

QUICK FACTS
  • In 1714 Lexington Selectmen gave John Muzzey permission to keep a Publique House of Entertainment.
  • Acquired by the town of Lexington in 1913; administered by the Lexington Historical Society.
  • The Tavern appears in the background of nearly every illustration depicting the brief fight between the British light infantry and the minutemen.
  • In addition to its mission as a historic museum, Buckman Tavern also serves as headquarters for the Lexington Minute Men, Inc.
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Built about 1709, in 1775 it was owned and operated by John Buckman, a member of the Lexington Minuteman Company. It was a favorite gathering place for the citizen-soldiers on days when they trained on the Lexington Green. In the early hours of 19 April 1775, 80 militia men waited at Buckman Tavern for the arrival of the British Regulars from Boston, in the engagement that started the American Revolution.

Although best known for its role in the Battle of Lexington / Concord, Buckman Tavern is noteworthy for being one of the busiest 18th-century taverns in the town of Lexington. With its central location, it was convenient for both churchgoers during their Sunday nooning by a warm fire (church was not heated) and for drovers bringing their herds to market.

A two-story clapboard building with a taproom and large fireplace, the Tavern is virtually the same as at the time of the battle. Open for guided tours.

Washington was imperfect. In strictly military terms, he does not merit comparisons that have sometimes been made between him and generals like Marlborough, Frederick the Great, Napoleon, or Robert E. Lee. Yet he remains a remarkable man, one of those Tolstoyan figures whose acts determine the course of history. James Thomas Flexner has called him the indispensable man. Nobody — not Nathanael Green or Henry Knox, and certainly not Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, or John Adams — united the military, political, and personal skills that made Washington unique ... without George Washington there could have been no victory in the Revolutionary War, no United States. As a soldier he was erratic but competent. As a man he was impulsive, vindictive, brave, hardworking, intelligent, and virtuous. And as a leader he was great. Those who mourned Washington’s passing in 1799 were right to regard him, for all his flaws, as the savior of his country.

Edward G. Lengel
General George Washington: A Military Life (2005)