Save Our Heritage

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the cradle of the Environmental Movement,

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Congress takes first action in effort to preserve Barrett's farm

September 20, 2005

Press Contact: Matt Vogel, 617-571-0502

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Marty Meehan (D-MA) announced today the House passage of H.R. 394, legislation he authored to begin the process of expanding Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord, Massachusetts to include Colonel James Barrett's farm.

"Barrett's Farm is a true piece of American history, and I'm pleased that the House has passed this bill to protect a landmark of the Revolutionary War," said Meehan. "Adding Barrett's Farm to Minute Man National Historical Park will ensure that this property is safe from development forever and that this important piece of our nation's history can be enjoyed by future generations."

Congressman Meehan authored the legislation, which authorizes a feasibility study for expanding the park, with the assistance of local and national conservation groups, including Save Our Heritage, located in Concord, and the Trust for Public Land, a national, nonprofit land conservation organization.

"The Trust for Public Land applauds Congressman Meehan for his leadership in advocating for the inclusion of Barrett's Farm into Minute Man National Historic Park," said Craig MacDonnell, TPL Massachusetts State Director.

"Barrett's Farm is a uniquely important historic farmstead, whose protection will enhance the park. Along with our local partners -- the Town of Concord and Save Our Heritage -- TPL looks forward to working with the Congressman, and Senators Kennedy and Kerry, to secure the protection of this special place."

"We are grateful for Congressman Meehan's wisdom and foresight in recognizing that there are very few places in America like Barrett's Farm and that this extraordinary site clearly belongs in the national park system," said Anna Winter, Executive Director of Save Our Heritage. "This 300-year-old homestead, where the weapons that sparked the American Revolution were hidden, is in urgent need of preservation, so that future generations can experience it as a direct link to the beginning of our nation. A restored Barrett's Farm within Minute Man National Historical Park will be a resource of incalculable value to all Americans, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Meehan towards that goal."

Under the legislation, the Secretary of the Interior has two years to conduct a boundary study to evaluate the significance of Barrett's Farm, as well as the suitability and feasibility of its inclusion in the National Park System as part of Minute Man National Historical Park. The study would consider the opportunities for public enjoyment, operational and management issues, and the feasibility of administration of adding Barrett's Farm to the park.

Background on Barrett's Farm:

Colonel James Barrett was the commander of the Middlesex militia during the Revolutionary war. His farm was the central depot where the early American revolutionaries stored cannons, gun powder, and other munitions. On April 19, 1775, General Thomas Gage, the commander of all British Forces in North America, ordered 700 of his troops to march to Barrett's Farm and destroy the supplies stored there. We all know the story of what happened next.

The colonists learned of the British plot ahead of time and sent a Boston silversmith, Paul Revere, into the night to call his countrymen to arms. Immediately, the citizens of Concord started hiding the town's supplies. Colonel Barrett's sons plowed his fields, and hid munitions in the furrows.  By the time the British reached the farm, the colonial militia had taken up position ready to strike at the British Army.

Ultimately, the colonials and the British came to blows at the North Bridge in Concord, where the "shot heard round the world" was fired -- launching our war for independence. The citizens of Concord knew the area, had the manpower and weapons, and sent the Redcoats running, dealing a harsh blow to the British Army.

Thirty years ago, Barrett's Farm was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Even in Massachusetts, where most places can be called historic, Barrett's Farm stands out as an icon of American history. Minute Man National Historical Park encompasses 967 acres and includes North Bridge, Lexington Green and the Battle Road trail, where the British both advanced and retreated. Including Barrett's Farm within the boundaries of Minute Man Park will add an integral part of this storied battle.  Barrett's farm was the impetus for the British advance and the vigorous work of Colonel Barrett and his militia was a key reason for the British retreat.

This battle has become iconic in American history, and every piece of that story should be preserved. By adding the farm to Minute Man National Historical Park, and placing it in the able oversight of the National Park Service, we can ensure that this important piece of our history will be enjoyed for generations to come.


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