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.

Summer or winter the men of the [British] line regiments wore the same heavy greatcoats with sleeves tight as stockings. The stock, or waistcoat, was equally tight and had a high stiff collar which forced the soldier to keep his head up, even when the sun was in his eyes. His pants were as tight as possible and the gaiters, put on wet, frequently shrank so that they hampered the circulation in his legs. From the belt around his waist hung his bayonet scabbard which knocked against his calves as he walked. On his right hip, supported by a broad, constricting belt which ran over his shoulder and across his chest, was his rectangular cartridge box, which interfered with his haversack, if, as now [Boston, 1775], he was carrying his full equipment.

Thomas Fleming
Now We Are Enemies: The Story of Bunker Hill (1960; reissued 2010)