The history of the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area has been shaped by the interplay of successive generations that both lived on and shaped the land.
While the region is widely known as the birthplace of the American Revolution and the pattern of settlement and routes that early revolutionary ideas and actions traveled, its history is a complex narrative enriched by Native American culture and informed by successive waves of immigration and development.
Inspired by the genius of the place, it is within the heritage area that the Transcendental movement found a home and flourished, providing a conceptual framework for the appreciation of both the natural and cultural world and the rights of humans to live freely within it, a concept that continues to resonate throughout the world.
Community character and quality of life is closely linked to the treatment of historic building and landscape resources. Communities within Freedom’s Way convey a strong sense of historical identity. This is due in part to the central place that historic town and village centers play within the community landscape and in part to the preservation of iconic historic buildings, many dating from the Colonial era.
Within the heritage area historic resources, including buildings and landscapes, are highly valued and widely recognized. Historical societies are present in almost every town, and most communities participate in some level of historic preservation programming.
While the region is strongly identified with its Colonial era history, community character is shaped by its entire history.
CITIES & TOWNS
Cities and Towns are the principal organizing structure for governance and social organization within Freedom’s Way and are central to the region’s historical development and landscape. Much of the heritage area’s story can be conveyed through the lens of town history and town places.
The region’s heritage is represented in topography, early road alignments, historic buildings, and place names.
Woven into this pattern are communities established where water power made manufacturing economically feasible. These towns or small cities were densely developed, with urban commercial and industrial cores along rivers and neighborhoods comprised of wood framed residences. Most have struggled economically with the loss of their manufacturing base over recent decades. Larger towns have their own local suburbs extending into the rural countryside.
MINUTE MAN NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
Minute Man National Historical Park preserves approximately 1,000 acres of land associated with the events at Concord and Lexington as well as The Wayside, home to authors. The park features two visitor centers, historic sites, witness houses, and Battle Road Trail, which extends the length of the roughly five-mile-long park and includes four miles along the preserved Battle Road.
While the grounds of Minute Man National Historical Park are open from sunrise to sunset throughout the year, interpretive programs are offered seasonally, from April 1 through November 30. The Minute Man Visitor Center on North Great Road closes for the winter and the North Bridge Visitor Center closes for January and February.
While the grounds of Minute Man National Park are open from sunrise to sunset throughout the year, interpretive programs are offered seasonally, from April 1 through November 30. The Minute Man Visitor Center on North Great Road closes for the winter and the North Bridge Visitor Center closes for January and February.
Acton Historical Society
Historical Society of Amherst, New Hampshire
Arlington Historical Society
Ashburnham Historical Society
Ashby Historical Society
Bedford Historical Society
Bolton Historical Society
Boxborough Historical Society
Brookline Historical Society
Carlisle Historical Society
Clinton Historical Society
Concord Historical Society
Fitchburg Historical Society
Groton Historical Society
Harvard Historical Society
Hollis Historical Society
Leominster Historical Society
Lexington Historical Society
Lincoln Historical Society
Littleton Historical Society
Lunenburg Historical Society
Malden Historical Society
Mason Historical Society
Medford Historical Society and Museum
Milford Historical Society
Nashua Historical Society
New Ipswich Historical Society
Pepperell Historical Society
Princeton Historical Society
Shirley Historical Society
Sterling Historical Society
Stow Historical Society
Sudbury Historical Society
Townsend Historical Society
Tyngsborough-Dunstable Historical Society
Westord Museum and Historical Society
Westminster Historical Society
Winchendon History and Cultural Center
Woburn Historical Society
NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARKS
Buckman Tavern, Lexington
Converse Memorial Library, Malden
Ralph Waldo Emerson House, Concord
First Church of Christ, Lancaster, Lancaster
Gropius House, Lincoln
Hancock-Clarke House, Lexington
Lexington Green, Lexington
Old Manse, Concord
Orchard House, Concord
Isaac Royall House, Medford
Count Rumford Birthplace, Woburn
Peter Tufts House, Medford
Walden Pond, Concord
The Wayside, “Home of Authors,” Concord
Winn Memorial Library, Woburn
Wright's Tavern, Concord
National Trust for Historic Preservation
New Hampshire Preservation Alliance
Mass Historical Commission
NH Division of Historical Resources