Ephraim Wales Bull House, Concord, Mass

The house at 491 Lexington Road in Concord, around 1910-1920. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The house in 2018:

This house is famous for being the place where the Concord grape was developed in 1849, although the house itself is actually much older than that. It was built sometime in the late 17th or early 18th centuries, making it among the oldest surviving buildings in Concord. The main section of the house, in the center-left of this scene, is the oldest portion, and it was standing here by 1716, when it was the home of blacksmith Thomas Ball. For more than a century afterward, the house was occupied by a succession of blacksmiths, the last of whom was Nathaniel French, who rented the property until his death in 1834.

Two years later, another metalworker moved into this house. Ephraim Wales Bull was a goldbeater, which involved hammering gold into thin sheets of gold leaf. He was originally from Boston, but by the 1830s he had begun to experience lung problems, so his doctor recommended that he leave the polluted city and move to the countryside. Here in Concord, he continued to work as a goldbeater in a shop behind his house, but he was also an amateur horticulturalist, so he spent a significant amount of time growing plants in his garden.

One of Bull’s goals was to create a grape cultivar that would ripen early and could withstand the cold New England climate. In 1843, he found a wild grapevine—the fox grape—growing on his property, and he planted the seeds from this vine in his garden, alongside cultivated Catawba vines. The resulting hybrid seedlings grew for the next six years, and in the fall of 1849 one of the vines produced satisfactory grapes. He named this cultivar Concord, and in 1853 he exhibited it at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, where it received high praise. Concord grapes became commercially available the next year, and they have remained popular ever since.

Bull subsequently had success in state and local politics, serving in both houses of the state legislature, on the state board of agriculture, and on Concord’s board of selectmen and school committee. However, despite the widespread recognition that he received for having developed the Concord grape, he received little financial benefit from it. He earned about $3,200 from selling seedlings during the first year, but commercial nurseries subsequently began growing and selling their own plants, without paying any royalties to Bull. By the end of his long life, he was in extreme poverty and his house had become badly deteriorated, and he died in 1895 at the age of 89.

After Bull’s death, his neighbor Harriett Lothrop purchased the house. She lived a few houses down at Nathaniel Hawthorne’s former home, The Wayside, and she was a noted children’s book author, best known for her Five Little Peppers series, which were written under the pen name of Margaret Sidney. Aside from her writing, she was also interested in historic preservation, so she soon began restoring the old house. By the time the first photo was taken around the 1910s, Lothrop had named the house “Grapevine Cottage,” and she owned it as a rental property. The original Concord grapevine was still growing here at the time, although it is not visible in this photo.

Today, more than a century after the first photo was taken, the house is still standing. It has seen some changes, most notably the addition of an enclosed second-story porch on the right side, but otherwise it looks much the same as it did in the first photo. It has recently undergone another restoration, including remodeling the interior, and it stands as a rare surviving example of an early colonial-era house in Concord, in addition to its historical significance as the birthplace of the Concord grape.

The Wayside, Concord, Mass

The Wayside, at 455 Lexington Road in Concord, around 1890-1901. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The house in 2018:

This house is best known for having been the home of three different notable authors during the 19th century, although the house itself is actually much older than that. It has been heavily altered over the years, but it dates back to at least 1717, when owner Caleb Ball sold the property to glazier Samuel Fletcher. It changed hands several more times during the first half of the 18th century, and during this time its owners included housewright Nathaniel Coleburn, who lived here from 1723 to 1730 and 1740 to 1747, and cordwainer John Breed, who lived here from 1747 to 1769.

In 1769, Breed sold the property to Samuel Whitney. He was involved in the Patriot cause in the years leading up to to  the American Revolution, including serving as a delegate to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, which met in Concord in October 1774. He was also the muster master for the Concord minutemen, and in early 1775 he stored a cache of ammunition here on the property. The British redcoats, who had come to Concord to seize colonial military supplies on April 19, marched right past the house both before and after the Battle of Concord, although they evidently did not search Whitney’s house or outbuildings.

The Massachusetts colonial government was not the only institution that ended up in Concord because of the Revolution. From 1775 to 1776, the Continental Army laid siege to British-occupied Boston, and many of the soldiers were stationed in Cambridge. Around 1,600 were housed at Harvard, requiring the college to relocate to Concord during the 1775-1776 school year. Here in Concord, classes were held in the meetinghouse, the courthouse, and a schoolhouse, and students and faculty boarded at various locations throughout the town. This house became the residence of John Winthrop, a noted scientist who held the Hollis Chair of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Harvard from 1737 to 1779.

In 1778, Samuel Whitney sold the house to Daniel Taylor, who in turn told it to Daniel Hoar two months later. He was a farmer, and he lived here for the rest of his life, until his death in 1814. His son, Daniel Hoar Jr., then inherited the property, which remained in the Hoar family until 1827. The house subsequently went through several more owners, and in 1845 it became the home of Amos Bronson Alcott, his wife Abigail, and their four daughters: Anna, Louisa, Elizabeth, and Abigail.

Bronson Alcott, as he was generally known, was a noted writer and philosopher who was associated with the Transcendentalist movement. A few years before moving here, he had been the founder of Fruitlands, a short-lived utopian commune in the town of Harvard, Massachusetts. This effort ultimately failed after just seven months, in part because of poor agricultural practices and strict dietary rules that prohibited all animal products and even some vegetables. The Alcotts subsequently relocated to Concord in 1844, where they lived with a friend for a short time before moving into this house.

Although Bronson Alcott was a noted figure in his own right, his fame was eclipsed by that of his second daughter, Louisa May Alcott. She was 12 years old when the family moved here, and they lived here for a little over three years before moving to Boston in 1848. However, despite her relatively short stay here, these were formative years for Louisa, and many of her experiences here were later incorporated into her best-known work, Little Women, a largely autobiographical novel that was published in 1868 and 1869.

In the three years that they lived here, the Alcotts made a number of changes to the property. Bronson did extensive landscaping work, in particular the creation of terraces on the hillside behind the house. He planted these with a variety of flowers and trees, and he grew fruits, vegetables, and grains here in order to accommodate his vegan diet. The family also made changes to the house itself, which they named Hillside. This work included the addition of two new bedrooms for Louisa and her older sister Anna. During this time, the family was also involved in the Underground Railroad, and they are believed to have sheltered at least a few runaway slaves here in the house.

In 1848, the Alcotts moved to Boston, although they would eventually return to Concord in 1857. A year later they purchased Orchard House, located immediately to the west of this house on Lexington Road. It would remain in the family for more than 25 years, and Louisa lived there for most of her literary career. In the meantime, though, their former home here was sold to another prominent author, Nathaniel Hawthorne. He had previously lived in various places throughout his adult life, including several years in Concord at the Old Manse, but this was the only house that he ever owned.

Hawthorne moved into this house in 1852, along with his wife Sophia and their three children, Una, Julian, and Rose, whose ages ranged from one to eight. When he had left Concord in 1845, Hawthorne was still a relatively unknown author who struggled to make ends meet. He subsequently lived in Salem, where he worked as surveyor at the Custom House for several years, before moving to Lenox in the Berkshires. However, by the time he returned to Concord to live here in this house, he was a well-established author, thanks to the recent publications of The Scarlet Letter (1850), The House of the Seven Gables (1851), and The Blithedale Romance (1852).

Also in 1852, Hawthorne published a campaign biography of Franklin Pierce. The two men had been friends since their time at Bowdoin College, and Hawthorne helped Pierce’s presidential campaign by lending him both his name and literary talents to write the biography. It was evidently successful, because Pierce won the election and was inaugurated in 1853. Pierce then rewarded his friend by appointing him as the United States consul in Liverpool, a prestigious diplomatic post that Hawthorne held for the next four years until the end of Pierce’s presidency.

As a result of this appointment, the Hawthornes only lived here for a little over a year before moving overseas, and they would not return here until 1860, after an extended tour of Europe. Hawthorne would continue to reside here for the last four years of his life, until his death in 1864 in Plymouth, New Hampshire, while on a trip through the White Mountains with ex-President Pierce. His widow Sophia remained here in Concord until 1868, when she and her children moved to England. She ultimately sold the house in 1870, a year before her own death.

Although Hawthorne lived in this house for a relatively short period of time, he made some substantial alterations to the house. Upon returning from Europe, he added a third-story tower to the rear of the house, which became his study. Other changes included the addition of a bedroom above the wing on the left side, and a bay window where the front door had originally been. During his ownership, he also changed the name of the house, from Hillside to The Wayside.

In the 1870s, after Sophia Hawthorne sold the property, it was owned by Mary C. Pratt, who operated the Wayside School for Young Ladies out of the house. Her neighbor Bronson Alcott, who was still alive and approaching 80, was a frequent visitor here during this time. He often lectured at the school, and he also gave tours of the grounds, telling stories to visitors about Nathaniel Hawthorne.

The school ultimately closed in 1879, and that same year the house returned to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s family when it was purchased by his daughter Rose and her husband, George P. Lathrop. They resided here intermittently for the next four years, and during one of their absences Rose’s brother Julian lived here with his family. George was the editor of the Boston Courier newspaper, and he also wrote several novels, although his works never received the same attention as those of his famous father-in-law. Rose would later go on to have success in a completely different field. After George’s death in 1898, she founded a Catholic religious order, the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, and became Mother Mary Alphonsa.

In 1883, the Lathrops sold the house to Boston publisher Daniel Lothrop and his wife Harriett. As with so many of the previous residents of this house, Harriet was an accomplished writer. She was best known for The Five Little Peppers, a children’s book series that was published by her husband’s company starting in 1881, under the pen name Margaret Sidney. She eventually took over the operation of the publishing company after Daniel’s death in 1892, and she continued writing children’s books into the 1910s.

The Lothrops had one child, Margaret, who was born here at The Wayside in 1884. Both George and Harriett were interested in literature and historic preservation, and they recognized the historical significance of their house. Margaret grew up with a similar appreciation, and she eventually inherited the property after her mother’s death in 1924. At the time, she was an economics professor at Stanford University, but she arranged to have the house preserved and open to the public for tours starting in 1928. She eventually returned to Concord in 1932, residing here at The Wayside while also organizing the tours of the house during the summer months.

Margaret’s goal was to sell the house to an organization that would preserve it for the future. She even wrote a book, The Wayside: Home of Authors, about the history of the house. It was published in 1940, and she hoped that it would generate interest in the property, but no prospective buyers came forward. She ultimately lived here for the next 25 years after writing the book, and she continued to give tours and conduct research throughout this time.

In 1963, she successfully lobbied for the house to be declared a National Historic Landmark, the highest level of federal recognition for a historic site. Two years later, she finally found a buyer in the National Park Service, and in 1965 the house became part of the recently-established Minute Man National Historical Park. The house has remained a part of the park ever since, and it is still open to the public, nearly a century after Margaret Lothrop first opened her house for tours.

The first photo in this post was taken sometime around the 1890s, during George and Harriett Lothrop’s ownership. Thanks in large part to their daughter’s efforts, the exterior has remained well-preserved since then. The shutters are gone, and there have been some changes to the wing on the right side, but otherwise the house hardly looks any different from this view.

Overall, the only other significant difference between the two photos is the front lawn, which was once shaded by two large trees that probably dated back to Hawthorne’s time. Both the elm on the left and the pine tree on the right are long gone, perhaps as a result of the 1938 hurricane or, in the case of the elm, to Dutch Elm Disease. However, there is at least one tree still standing from the first photo. On the left side of the house, in front of the porch, is a hawthorn tree that was, appropriately enough, planted by Nathaniel Hawthorne during his residence here. Despite its unassuming size, it is now more than 150 years old, and it survives today as a living reminder of the home’s famous occupant.

Old Manse, Concord, Mass (2)

The view of the Old Manse facing the southeast corner of the house, around 1900-1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The house in 2018:

As discussed in more detail in the previous post, the Old Manse is an important historic landmark in Concord, with connections to the American Revolution and to two of the most important 19th century American writers. It was built in 1770 as the home of William Emerson, the pastor of the First Parish Church. Only five years later, the American Revolution started quite literally in his backyard, when the Battle of Concord was fought at Old North Bridge, which was located just 150 yards behind the house. Emerson subsequently joined the Continental Army as a chaplain, although he fell ill and died in 1776 while serving in the army. However, the house remained in his family for many years, and its later residents included his grandson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who lived here for about a year from 1834 to 1835.

In the meantime, William Emerson’s widow Phebe remarried in 1780 to Ezra Ripley, who had become the new pastor of the church after Emerson’s death. Phebe died in 1825, but Ezra lived here until his death in 1841, and his son Samuel then inherited the property. For several years, Samuel rented the house to Nathaniel Hawthorne and his newlywed wife Sophia. They lived here from 1842 to 1845, and during this time Hawthorne wrote Mosses from an Old Manse, a collection of short stories that was published in 1846 and named for this house. However, by 1845 Samuel Ripley decided to return here to live in his childhood home, and the Hawthornes subsequently relocated to Salem.

Samuel Ripley died less than two years later in 1847, but his widow Sarah continued to live here. After her death in 1867, her daughter Sophia Thayer inherited it, and she still owned it when the first photo was taken at the turn of the 20th century. The photo shows the southeast view of the house, revealing its elegant Georgian-style architecture with its large gambrel roof. The Old North Bridge over the Concord River is located just beyond the house, although it is hidden from view by the trees in the distance.

By the early 20th century, the Old Manse was used primarily as a summer residence, and after Sophia’s death in 1914 the property went to her daughter, Sarah Ames, the wife of Boston architect John Worthington Ames. She owned it until her death in 1939, and her husband subsequently sold the house and its contents to the Trustees of Reservations. This organization, which focuses on historic preservation and land conservation, owns a number of historic properties throughout Massachusetts, although the Old Manse is perhaps one of its most important ones. More than 80 years later, the Trustees still own the house, which is open to the public for guided tours. During this time, the house has remained well-preserved, and there are few differences between these two photos aside from the large tree on the right side, which hides much of the house in the present-day view.

Old Manse, Concord, Mass (1)

The Old Manse on Monument Street in Concord, around 1890-1901. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The house in 2018:

The Old Manse is one of the most important historic buildings in Concord, with connections to the American Revolution and to two of the most important authors in 19th century America. It dates back to 1770, when it was constructed as the manse, or parsonage, for the First Parish Church. The church itself was located in downtown Concord, while the Old Manse is about three-quarters of a mile north of there, along the banks of the Concord River and adjacent to the Old North Bridge.

The first pastor to live here in this house was William Emerson, the grandfather of future Transcendentalist author Ralph Waldo Emerson. He was about 27 years old at the time, and he had served in the church since 1766. It was during his pastorate that, in October 1774, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress met in his church after the British authorities had formally disbanded the colonial legislature. The delegates, who were presided over by John Hancock, continued to meet anyway, and during their time in Concord Emerson served as the chaplain of the congress.

Within six months, Concord was again at the center of revolutionary activity when, on April 19, 1775, British forces left Boston to search for hidden caches of munitions in Concord. After a brief skirmish in nearby Lexington, which marked the beginning of the American Revolution, the British arrived in Concord, where they began searching the town. They ended up at the Old North Bridge, which was quite literally in Emerson’s backyard, just beyond the trees on the far right side of this scene, about 150 yards from the house. It was here that the redcoats engaged with the local militia forces, and where the famous “Shot heard round the world”—as Emerson’s famous grandson later termed it—was fired.

Reverend Emerson and his family witnessed the battle from the house, although he was not directly involved in the fighting. However, he subsequently joined the Continental Army as a chaplain, and he is generally considered to have been the army’s first such chaplain. He traveled north to Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York during the summer of 1776, but he subsequently fell ill and died in Rutland, Vermont on October 20, at the age of 33.

His death left his widow Phebe with five young children to care for, including a newborn daughter. She subsequently remarried in 1780 to Ezra Ripley, who had succeeded her late husband as pastor of the church. This was not an uncommon practice for young pastors to marry the widows of their predecessors, although there was a bit of an age difference here, as Ezra was ten years younger than Phebe. The couple had three more children together, and they continued to live here at the Old Manse for the rest of their lives. Phebe died in 1825 at the age of 83, and Ezra continued to serve as pastor of the church until his death in 1841 at the age of 90, for a total of 63 years in the pulpit.

In the meantime, Phebe’s eldest son, William Jr., followed his father into the ministry, graduating from Harvard in 1789 and eventually becoming pastor of the First Church in Boston. Like his father, though, he also had a short life, dying in 1811 at the age of 42. His son, Ralph Waldo Emerson, was seven years old at the time, coincidentally the same age that William had been when his father died in 1776. Ralph would continue the family tradition by attending Harvard and becoming a pastor, serving in Boston’s Second Church starting in 1829. However, his young wife Ellen died two years later from tuberculosis, causing a crisis in faith that led him to resign from his position in 1832.

In 1834, when he was about 31 years old, Ralph Waldo Emerson moved into the Old Manse, where he lived for about a year with his elderly step-grandfather. Although he was not yet a published author, Emerson did some writing while he lived here, including working on his famous essay “Nature,” which was published in 1836. During this time, he also became engaged to his second wife, Lidian Jackson. They married in 1835, and they subsequently moved into their own house, which still stands at 18 Cambridge Turnpike in Concord.

After Ezra Ripley died in 1841, his son Samuel inherited the property. He was also a pastor, serving in Waltham, Massachusetts, but starting in 1842 he rented this house to newlyweds Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne. At the time, Nathaniel Hawthorne was about 38 years old, and he had enjoyed only moderate success as a writer. However, during his time here in Concord he continued to write, and in 1846 he published Mosses from an Old Manse, a collection of short stories that were, for the most part, written here in the house. The title of the book also provided the name for the house, which continues to be known as the Old Manse today.

Aside from writing a number of short stories here, Hawthorne also took inspiration from a tragedy that occurred in 1845, when 19-year-old Martha Hunt drowned herself in the Concord River near the house. He was part of the search party that recovered her body, and he later incorporated the incident into his 1852 novel The Blithedale Romance. In the book, one of the main characters, Zenobia, meets an identical fate, and Hawthorne provides a lengthy description of the search and the discovery of her body, which is described as “the marble image of a death-agony.”

In the three years that the Hawthornes lived in the Old Manse, they had several notable visitors, including future president Franklin Pierce, who came here in the spring of 1845. He and Hawthorne had been classmates at Bowdoin College, and they would remain lifelong friends. Several years later, in 1852, Hawthorne would publish a campaign biography of Pierce, using both his name recognition and literary talents to promote Pierce, who had earned the Democratic nomination for president. Pierce ended up winning the election, perhaps in part because of Hawthorne’s efforts, but his presidency ultimately failed to live up to the abilities that his friend had described in the biography.

In 1845, Samuel Ripley was looking to return to this house and live here, so by the end of the year the Hawthornes had relocated to Salem. They subsequently lived in Lenox before returning to Concord in 1852, purchasing The Wayside on Lexington Road. In the meantime, Samuel Ripley resided here at the Old Manse for only a few years before his death in 1847. However, his widow Sarah continued to live here for another 20 years. She was a noted scholar who, in the days before widespread higher education for women, had been almost entirely self-taught. She was an expert in a wide range of subjects, and over the years she tutored a number of college students, including a young Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Sarah Ripley died in 1867, but the house remained in her family for several more generations. Her daughter Sophia Thayer inherited the property, and after her death in 1914 it went to her daughter, Sarah Ames. During the early 20th century, the house was used primarily as a summer residence, and Sarah Ames owned it until her death in 1939. Her husband, architect John Worthington Ames, then sold the property to the Trustees of Reservations, a nonprofit organization that focuses on historic preservation and land conservation.

The first photo was taken sometime around the 1890s, during Sophia Thayer’s ownership. Very little has changed in more than 120 years since then, and in both photos the front view of the house is largely obscured by the trees on either side of the long driveway. Today, the Old Manse continues to be owned by the Trustees of Reservations, and it is open to the public for guided tours. Much of the surrounding area, including the battlefield site at the Old North Bridge, has also been preserved as part of the Minute Man National Historical Park, which was established in 1959 and is administered by the National Park Service.

Colonial Inn, Concord, Mass

The Colonial Inn at Monument Square in Concord, around 1908. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The scene in 2018:

The Colonial Inn has long been a fixture here at the northern end of Monument Square in downtown Concord. It is actually comprised of three different buildings, constructed over the course of more than a century, that have been united into a single structure.  The property became the Colonial Inn in 1897, shortly before the first photo was taken, and it has remained in operation for nearly 125 years, with few significant changes to the exterior of the building from this view.

The oldest portion of the building is the right side, shown here in the foreground of these two photos. It dates back to around 1716, although it has since been heavily altered, including the addition of a mansard roof in the 1860s. It was originally owned by James Minot Jr., a prominent Concord resident who served in the colonial legislature and on the Governor’s Council. He was also an officer in the colonial militia, eventually rising to the rank of colonel during the French and Indian War. He died in 1759, and his teenage son Ephraim subsequently inherited the house. He owned it for about five years before selling it to his cousin, Dr. Timothy Minot.

During Dr. Minot’s ownership, he constructed what is now the central portion of the Colonial Inn, located just to the left of the original house. At the time, it was only one story in height, and the second story would not be added until 1800. Soon after its completion, this wing of the house was one of the places where the colonists stored munitions in advance of the Battle of Concord on April 19, 1775. The British evidently did not uncover this cache, and after the battle the house became a temporary hospital, with Dr. Minot caring for the wounded soldiers.

In 1780, Dr. Minot began renting the wing to John White, a Revolutionary War veteran who opened a general store here. In 1789, he sold this section of the property to White, and in that same year he sold the house on the right side to his son-in-law, Ammi White, a cabinetmaker who does not appear to have been directly related to John White. Ammi was also involved in the Revolutionary War, although he had a more controversial role. During the Battle of Concord he used a hatchet to kill a wounded British soldier, an act that has been various interpreted as either a barbaric scalping or a mercy killing.

Ammi White owned the house on the right for about a decade, before selling it to John Thoreau, the grandfather of famed Transcendentalist author Henry David Thoreau. John died just two years later, but the house remained in the Thoreau family for many years. His daughters ran a boarding house here, and for a time John Thoreau Jr.—Henry’s father—worked in the White store next door. The future author also lived here for a few years as a teenager, from 1835 to 1837.

In the meantime, John White expanded his property sometime between 1812 and 1820, with the construction of a house on the left side of his store. This became his residence, but in 1821 he sold both buildings to Daniel Shattuck, who continued to run the store here. However, Shattuck was also involved a number of other business ventures, including establishing the Middlesex Mutual Fire Insurance Company, the Concord Bank, and the Middlesex Institution for Savings. In addition, he served in both houses of the state legislature, and he was a colonel in the state militia.

Shattuck eventually acquired the house on the right side from the Thoreau family in 1839, marking the first time that all three buildings were simultaneously under the same ownership. By mid-century, Shattuck had retired from the dry goods business, and the former store in the central section was converted to residential use. He continued to live in the house on the left side until his death in 1867, but a few years earlier he gave the entire property to his daughter, Frances Surette. Her husband, Louis Surette, was a dry goods merchant, and they also operated a boarding house here, which they named the Thoreau House in an apparent attempt to capitalize on the name recognition of the former owners. During this time, their son Thomas Whitney Surette grew up here, and he later went on to become a noted musician and music teacher.

In 1889, the central and right-hand buildings were sold to John Maynard Keyes, who opened a hotel here. Then, in 1897 he acquired the house on the left and combined all three into a single building, which he named the Colonial Inn. The first photo, taken about a decade later, shows the eclectic mix of architectural styles that comprise the inn, with the original 1716 house on the right, the 1775 store to the left of it, and the early 19th century house on the far left, at the corner of Lowell Road.

The Colonial Inn has been here ever since, and over the years it has had a number of notable guests, including J.P. Morgan, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sandra Day O’Connor, John Wayne, and Bruce Springsteen. Throughout this time, the inn has undergone further changes, including the addition of a large, modern wing on the rear of the building in 1960. From this view, though, the building has remained essentially unchanged since the first photo was taken, aside from the small addition on the right, and it stands as an important landmark in downtown Concord.

Wright’s Tavern, Concord, Mass (2)

Wright’s Tavern on Lexington Road in Concord, around 1900-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The scene in 2018:

As discussed in more detail in the previous post, this building was constructed in 1747 as a tavern. It was originally owned by Ephraim Jones, but it changed hands several times during the mid-18th century. By the 1770s, it was owned by Daniel Taylor but operated by Amos Wright, whose name has come to be associated with the tavern because of several important events that occurred here at the start of the American Revolution.

In October 1774, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress met in Concord in defiance of the Intolerable Acts, which had dissolved the colonial legislature. The delegates met nearby in the First Parish Church, but they held committee meetings here at the tavern, in addition to visiting here for food and drink. About six months later, on April 19, 1775, the tavern became a gathering place for minutemen prior to the Battle of Concord, and later in the day it was briefly used as the headquarters of Major John Pitcairn, while he searched the town for munitions.

After the war, the tavern became a bakery, which remained in operation until 1831. From there, it went through a series of commercial tenants over the years before eventually being acquired and restored by the neighboring First Parish Church. The first photo was taken only a couple decades later, showing the tavern as it appeared at the turn of the 20th century. Since then, the tavern has remained largely the same, and it stands as one of the most historic buildings in Concord, having been designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1961.