For Arlington rep, site binds past, present
It provides an integrated overview of the path the British troops followed during the battles that started the American Revolution on April 19, 1775. The byway runs along 15 miles of roads in the communities of Arlington, Lexington, Lincoln and Concord, as well as the Minuteman National Historical Park.
For Paul Fennelly, Arlington byway committee rep, the site "covers a mother lode of American revolutionary history," one that includes "an overlay of so many of the historic locations from the Revolution to the present -- all of that gets me excited."
The site gives historical surfers the chance to learn that the story involving Paul Revere may have begun in Concord, but it did not end in Lexington -- it marches right through the village of Menotomy, as Fennelly learned.
Drawn to Boston for higher education -- he received a Ph.D in chemistry from Brandeis -- Fennelly stayed here, settling in Arlington, later discovering the classic Colonial architecture of the Jason Russell House. It was the site of the bloodiest day as the American Revolution got underway.
That fascination, which began with family visits long ago, led to preservation. With Fennelly on the byway committee is George Parsons of Arlington, both of whom sought funding for the Russell House. In the third year of that effort, $300,000 has been raised.
Also on the byway committee from Arlington are Clarissa Rowe, chair, and Ali Carter, the town's economic-development director.
Battle Road import
The Battle Road is significant for its role in the American Revolution, and this website provides an integrated overview of iconic sites and events. Included are:
- Paul Revere’s ride and his ultimate capture by the British;
- The battle at Lexington Common, the battle at Old North Bridge ("the shot heard 'round the world");
- The British retreat to Boston; and
- Bloody skirmishes between British troops and the Minutemen along the route, including the bloodiest battle, at the Jason Russell House, where more than 40 deaths occurred, including 13 American militia.
All of this Revolutionary War history, with associated maps and explanatory text, is captured in one easy-to-use, searchable website.
'Road to Revolution'
The byway’s theme is “"Roads to Revolution," because the Battle Road captures the legacies of other revolutions that have occurred in our history along this famous route -- revolutions in independence and interdependence, literature, environment and modern technology.
Easily available is information about people or places, such as Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walden Pond, MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories, the deCordova Museum and more than 200 other points of interest. Related topics along the byway are linked.
The website has separate pages about each of the major towns -- Arlington, Lexington, Lincoln, Concord and their respective highlights of interest.
The site also has separate sections on such topics as architecture, history, literature and nature -- all cross-linked.
There is also a section that highlights opportunities for activities, including hiking, biking, canoeing, nature exploring. Use them to plan to see various parts of the byway.
Early reviews of the site have generated positive reactions: "Such history; it’s beautiful – so many photos; easy to use with cross-link places and activities; so much to see and do who knew!"
As residents of historic greater Boston begin to anticipate the 250th anniversary of their revolutionary journey, which started on April 19, 1775, the Battle Road Byway will be a centerpiece of the celebrations.
The Battle Road Byway Committee is a joint venture by the towns of Arlington, Lexington, Lincoln and Concord as well as the National Park Service to provide stewardship to the byway’s resources. The committee partners with Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area, MassDOT and other stakeholders.
For more information, contact Rowe, clarissa.rowe at comcast.net.
This news summary was published Wednesday, June 26, 2019.
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