Munroe Tavern

Lexington
MA

Munroe Tavern in Lexington

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Built in 1735, the tavern served as the British field hospital, and headquarters for Lord Hugh Percy, during the Battle of Lexington on 19-Apr-1775.

The tavern is named for William Munroe, who was the proprietor from 1770 to 1827. Munroe was a Freemason, and interestingly, President Washington, who was also a Freemason, chose to dine there when he visited the Lexington battlefield in 1789. An upstairs room contains the table at which Washington sat.

The guided tour provides perspective from the exhausted British point of view.

Associated People

The most exciting scientific find of the period was Charles Willson Peale’s exhumation in 1801 near Newburgh, New York, of the bones of the mastodon, or mammoth. Peale displayed his mammoth in his celebrated museum and in 1806 painted a marvelous picture of what was perhaps the first organized exhumation in American history. Peale’s discovery electrified the country and put the word mammoth on everybody’s lips. A Philadelphia baker advertised the sale of mammoth bread. In Washington a mammoth eater ate forty-two eggs in ten minutes. And under the leadership of the Baptist preacher John Leland, the ladies of Cheshire, Massachusetts, late in 1801 sent to President Jefferson a mammoth cheese, six feet in diameter and nearly two feet thick and weighing 1,230 pounds.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)