There have been a number of mild days this winter in Boston, including the snow-covered day on which I drew the historic Munroe Tavern in nearby Lexington. The old wooden building (built in 1735) played a role on the day of the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord. And, the night before the fight, Paul Revere raced down the road below to alert the community of the troubles that were to come.
The owner of the tavern was William Munroe, and he was one of the the local patriots that confronted the British army on Lexington Green in the early morning hours of April 19, 1775. The first shots of the war were fired then, and Redcoats marched confidently on to nearby Concord where their fortunes changed dramatically.
To visit the well-preserved tavern today is to learn about the British side of things. They suffered 73 deaths and many injuries that day as they fought their way back to Boston in retreat. The tavern was taken over and used as a makeshift field hospital for short period of time. Munroe’s neighbor who was watching over the tavern for him, was killed by the British. A bullet hole can still be found in the ceiling.
Years later, on November 15, 1789, George Washington visited Lexington to pay tribute to the revered battleground and he dined at the Munroe Tavern during his stay. The chair he used still sits in the second story dining room.