Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry and Representative Niki Tsongas have announced the passage of legislation in the House of Representatives to protect Col. James Barrett’s Farm in Concord by adding it to Minute Man National Park. The farm had a central role in the first battle of the Revolutionary War in 1775. The legislation passed the Senate on March 19, and will now be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature.
Kennedy said, “Most Americans don’t know that when British soldiers marched on Concord on that famous day in 1775, their mission was to capture the weapons that our patriot ancestors had been amassing and hiding on Barrett’s Farm. Col. James Barrett, who was commander of the colonial Middlesex Militia at the time, had advance notice of the British plan, however, and successfully hid the munitions. His five-acre farm was two miles from the Old North Bridge in Concord, where the ‘embattled farmers stood and fired the shot heard round the world’ that day. The farm thus had a central role in America’s founding, but unfortunately it was left out of the 1959 legislation creating Minute Man National Park. I’m delighted that the current bill corrects that omission and will preserve the Farm for the benefit of future generations.”
“This legislation will permanently preserve Col. Barrett's farm and help future generations share in a critical moment of the American Revolution," Kerry said. "It was great working with Senator Kennedy, Congresswoman Tsongas and her predecessor Congressman Marty Meehan to help protect this historic Massachusetts treasure.”
Tsongas said, "The legislation passed today will permanently protect this historic site, so that current and future generations can learn about the important role it played in the birth of our nation. Every year, thousands visit Minute Man National Park to see first hand where the American Revolution began, and the addition of Barrett's Farm to the Park will contribute greatly to their appreciation and understanding of this historic event. I want to thank Senators Kerry and Kennedy, as well as my predecessor Marty Meehan for their hard work in protecting this important part of our rich revolutionary history."
Barrett's Farm is two miles from the famous Old North Bridge in Concord, and spans approximately five acres. The farm is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is certified as a nationally significant site.
The farm belonged to Col. James Barrett, one of the primary figures in the first battle of the American Revolution. As commander of the Middlesex Militia, he used his farm to store cannons, gunpowder and other munitions. When British forces marched on Concord in 1775, their principal purpose was to search Barrett's Farm and confiscate the colonial militia’s weapons, but Col. Barrett received advance notice of the British plan and successfully hid the weapons.
The legislation authorizes a boundary adjustment to add 67 acres to the current National Park in Concord and Lincoln. The expansion doesn’t involve a federal taking of private property. Instead, it allows the Park Service to purchase private properties from willing sellers, such as the local, non-profit organization Save Our Heritage, which now owns Barrett’s Farm.
In 2006, legislation sponsored by Kennedy and Kerry was enacted authorizing a boundary study of the park to establish the suitability and feasibility of including Barrett’s Farm. The study completed in 2007, concluded that the addition of the farm would be consistent with the park’s mission to preserve significant historic resources and it would be feasible for the Park Service to manage. In response to the study, Kennedy, Kerry and Tsongas sponsored the legislation just approved by Congress to add the farm to the park.