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In the spotlight: Concord, MA
Concord, from the Latin concordia meaning agreement or harmony, was named for the harmonious relationship between settlers and local Native Americans. (It also is where the popular purple grape was propagated.).
It is difficult, if not impossible, to profile Concord and not talk about its historical significance.
Concord, settled and incorporated in 1635 was the site of the first battle of the War of Independence. On April 19, 1775, several hundred men gathered in Lexington and Concord and began a slow march toward the oncoming British redcoats. They combined with 500 Minutemen and other colonists who assembled at North Bridge to join in the skirmish, which led to a victory for the colonists.
Following the Declaration of Independence, Concord became an early voice for a democratic process that was eventually accepted throughout the country. At a meeting in Concord in October 1776, when the question of who should draft new state constitutions arose, it was decided that all policies impacting the independent colonies should be settled at a state-wide constitutional convention.
During the middle of the nineteenth century, a period aptly called “The Flowering of New England,” Concord was home to some of the greatest minds in America. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bronson Alcott, and his daughter Louisa May Alcott, lived, talked, and wrote in Concord.
Thoreau is arguably the most well known literary figure of Concord, having once lived in a small, self-made cabin on Walden Pond, which was the location and inspiration for his book Walden, originally called A Chit-Chat with Nature. Of Concord, Thoreau wrote, “I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only.” While it is clear Thoreau made the woods his home for two years, it is worth noting that he had many visitors during his time and dined in town with family and friends as well. Concord boosts two historical cemeteries: the Old Hill Burying Ground, which contains the graves of colonial families and War for Independence veterans, and Sleepy Hollow, named for a poem by William Ellery Channing.
Justly proud of its rich cultural heritage, the Concord of today continues to foster the arts with a chorus, orchestra, band, four theater companies, two art centers, museums, historic houses and a theater for the performing arts.
The Concord Museum, founded in 1886, still serves as a learning and cultural center visited by thousands of tourists each year. It features Paul Revere’s “one, if by land, and two, if by sea” lantern,” as well as a large selection of furniture and other items from Thoreau’s home on Walden Pond.
If you are a resident of Concord won’t you join your neighbors in helping your larger community?
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