In 1819, the First Congregational Society of Lexington became Unitarian. The minority of Trinitarian Congregationalists attended the local Baptist church for a time, but in 1868 formed the Hancock Congregational Society. The Congregation occupied the old Lexington Academy building until 1893, when the current Hancock Congregational Church was built. The church, designed by Paine and Lewis, features both Shingle Style siding and fieldstone walls. Many additions have been made over the years, including a new stuccoed wing in 1951.
Opposite the Battle Green in Lexington is the Lexington Masonic Building. It was originally built in 1822 to house the Lexington Academy, which only lasted eleven years. From 1835 to 1837, it was used for the Lexington Manual Labor Seminary, an early trade school, and in 1839 the building was taken over by the state to become the first Normal School in America. A school for the training of teachers, it was established by Horace Mann, who chose Rev. Cyrus Pierce to run it. This educational experiment proved successful and soon moved to larger quarters, first to Newton in 1844 and then to Framingham in 1853. The building was later used for tenements and a grocery store. It served as the Hancock Congregational Church from 1868 to 1893. The former school became a Masonic Lodge in 1917.
A complex of several farm buildings once surrounded the Buckman Tavern in Lexington. The only ones to survive today are a Federal-style carriage house and the adjacent Garrity House. Built in the first half of the nineteenth century, the Garrity House is privately owned today, although the Town maintains the grounds through a land lease and preservation agreement.
Munroe Tavern, located one mile east of Lexington Common, was built around 1695. The Tavern is named for William Munroe, who was its proprietor from 1770 to 1827. Munroe was also an orderly sergeant in Captain Parker’s minuteman company in 1775. During the Battle of Lexington, on April 19, 1775, the Tavern was occupied by the British for an hour-and-a-half. The Tavern‘s dining room became a field hospital and Brigadier General Earl Percy, who arrived with British reinforcements, used it as his headquarters. George Washington dined at the Tavern during his 1789 visit to the Lexington battlefield. The Tavern is now a museum operated by the Lexington Historical Society.
Buckman Tavern, off Lexington Green, was built in 1690 by Benjamin Muzzey and by a license granted in 1693, it became the first Public House in Lexington. In the coming years it was run by Muzzey‘s son John, then by John’s granddaughter and her husband, John Buckman. By the 1770s, Buckman Tavern had become the favored gathering place for local militia men (members of the Lexington Training Band) on the days they trained on the Green. On April 19, 1775, it was here that the militia gathered before facing the British troops, when the first shot was fired which began the Revolutionary War. The Tavern continued to be Lexington’s busiest after the war and housed the towns first village store and post office. The town of Lexington acquired the Tavern in 1913 and, by a 99-year lease, the Lexington Historical Society undertook the furnishing of the building, which is open to the public as a museum.
The earliest parts of the Jonathan Harrington House, on Lexington Green, date back to 1690. The house‘s most famous historic association is with the Battle of Lexington, as the historic marker on the house explains: “House of Jonathan Harrington/
who wounded on the Common/ April 19, 1775/ dragged himself to the door/ and died at his wife’s feet.” From 1811 to 1828, the Harrington House was the home of John Augustus, a shoemaker, who in 1841 convinced a judge to allow a man convicted of drunkenness into his custody for rehabilitation, finding him a job and getting him to sign a pledge not to drink. Augustus followed this by offering assistance to other convicted criminals and he is now recognized as the Father of Probation in America. In 1909, pioneering historic preservationist William Sumner Appleton expressed his outrage at modernizations being made to the Harrington House during a refurbishment (possibly by new owner Leroy Sunderland Brown?) The house remains a private home.
On Monument street, facing Lexington Battle Green, is the Marrett and Nathan Munroe House, which was a witness to the Battle of April 19, 1775. Built in 1729, the house was owned by Marrett Munroe at the time of the Battle and Nathan Munroe was one of the minutemen who fought in the Battle. According to Lexington, A Hand-Book of its Points Of Interest, Historical and Picturesque (1891), “Towards this house Caleb Harrington was running from the meetinghouse, where he had been to get powder, when he was shot by the British soldiers. A bullet from a British musket passed through the window over the door and lodged in a bureau, where it still remains, in the possession of one of Mr. Munroe’s descendants living in Chicopee, Mass.” The house was moved slightly when it was restored in 1915.