The Buckman Tavern in Lexington, between 1890 and 1901. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.
Between 1910 and 1920. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.
This building, located just to the east of the Lexington Green, was built around 1710 by Benjamin Muzzy. His son John operated it as a tavern for many years, and the tavern was eventually acquired by John Buckman after his marriage to John’s granddaughter Ruth Stone in 1768.
It was during Buckman’s time here that the tavern gained attention as the site where many of Lexington’s militiamen gathered on the morning of April 19, 1775, just before the Battle of Lexington. This battle—really more of a small skirmish—occurred directly in front of the tavern on the Green, and it marked the start of the American Revolution. There was at least one bullet that passed through the front door of the tavern, and later in the day there were two wounded British soldiers who were brought here, and one of them died here in the tavern.
After the battle, John Buckman continued to operate this tavern until his death in 1792. Two years later, it was acquired by Rufus Merriam, who had witnessed the battle nearly 20 years earlier as a 13-year-old boy. He later became postmaster, and the town’s post office was located here starting in 1813, but the building does not appear to have been used as a tavern for much longer after that.
The property would remain in the Merriam family for many years, and it was eventually acquired by the town of Lexington in 1913. The interior was subsequently restored to its colonial-era appearance, and the old tavern is now leased by the Lexington Historical Society, which operates it as a museum.
2023 update: I have added some photos from the interior of the tavern, which were taken during a May 2023 visit: