We had a free day to explore the region. We chose to tour Concord and Lexington. After driving to Lexington we joined a trolley ride for a 90 minute to drive along the roads between Lexington and Concord; our guide told us the history of the Battle of Concord and Lexington, the start of the War for Independence.
Our trolley tour told of the first shots fired – it was it Lexington, but no one knows who fired first. Paul Revere and William Dawes had ridden in from Boston to warn the town that the British were coming. (Although everyone here was British at the time…)
Also, because Longfellow told us, everyone knows:
Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
In 1896 Helen F. Moore, dismayed that William Dawes had been forgotten by Longfellow, penned a parody of Longfellow’s poem:
- ‘Tis all very well for the children to hear
- Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere;
- But why should my name be quite forgot,
- Who rode as boldly and well, God wot?
- Why should I ask? The reason is clear—
- My name was Dawes and his Revere.
Revere was arrested, but the word was out. The main confrontation occurred in Concord, as memorialized in the first verse of the Concord Hymn:
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
We walked along the area of the first battle, and across the bridge. (Not the original bridge…):
There are graves of British here, too:
Along the trolley tour we saw the houses of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau’s house is about 1 1/2 miles from Walden Pond, so for all those months when Thoreau was isolated and alone at the pond, he usually walked home for dinner in the evening…
We walked about to see several historic houses in Lexington; this is the house that Revere (and Dawes) were riding to:
I know it’s a really old house, but this house (especially the door…) needs some attention:
The Munroe Tavern was occupied by the British as their headquarters:
After our memories of the history of the war with the British were refreshed, we needed to be refreshed with a little French food:
We walked about the town a bit, and headed back to the truck:
I had been in this area in 2008, on a bus tour, but not to see historic sights; we were here to see architecture. I recalled a neighborhood of modernist houses, but I didn’t know where they were or whose houses they were. I did remember the bus driver pointing out Walden Pond, so I thought we should check out the area and see what we could find.
We easily found the pond. So I tried turning down some small roads to see what we could find; on my second try we found it!
This is the Walter Gropius house:
Walter Gropius founded The Bauhaus in Germany in the 1920s, revolutionizing modern architecture around the world. Apparently, the Germans were not impressed, because they closed The Bauhaus and Gropius fled Germany in the 1930s. After a time as a refugee in London, Gropius was hired to head Harvard’s Architecture Department. As his fame and influence spread, a nice lady offered Gropius $20,000 and 4 1/2 acres of land for him to build himself a house; here it is:
It is Gropius’ idea of a modern New England cottage; wood siding, but vertical, not horizontal; also, horizontal windows, not vertical. Flat roof, not pitched… Plus an angled front porch and a spiral stair just for fun.
Inside the house is wonderful; the entry hall with the traditional center stair:
The study, with an interior wall of glass block to share light with the Dining Room beyond:
The Dining Room, with the screened porch beyond:
Upstairs is a lovely deck, with one wall painted his custom-designed color, Bauhaus Pink:
And the view down from the deck towards the screened porch:
After all, what says “New England cottage” more than a screened porch?
Other views around the house:
Much of the furniture inside the house was designed by Gropius’ colleague, Marcel Breuer. Breuer was also given land next door to build his house, along with three other people this lady with the land liked… The other houses are privately owned and were not open, but back in 2008 we were permitted to walk the grounds.
Walter Gropius and his wife lived in the house until their deaths in 1969 and 1980, whereupon it was donated to the Historic Society…
We headed back to the Villa and enjoyed another GAM (Get Acquainted Meeting) with the other caravanners… Once again, an enjoyable time was had by all…