banner search whats new site index home

Lexington Town


Lexington Town Hall is located at 1625 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA 02420; phone: 781-862-0500.

The Town of Lexington was incorporated in 1713. Noted in history and folklore as the site of the first shot fired in the American Revolutionary War.

Beginnings [1]

There was no permanent settlement at Cambridge Farms, as Lexington was first called, until about 1642. The settlers supplied the main town of Cambridge with hay and wood, raised food for themselves, wove coarse fabrics for clothing, and erected a few rude houses. In 1691 the General Court recognized the community as a separate parish.

On April 19, 1755, local farmers gathered at Lexington Green to resist the troops of General Gage. Gage had laid plans to confiscate the stores and muskets and ammunition at nearby Concord. It was believed at the time that he was also planning to capture Revolutionary leaders, Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who had fled Lexington after receiving a report early in April that Parliament had ordered their arrest for trial in England.

Despite the care with which Gage's plans were laid, news of them leaked out, and Dr. Joseph Warren on the eve of the battle dispatched Paul Revere and William Dawes to Concord and Lexington to warn the patriot leaders of the danger. By two o'clock in the morning the Green at Lexington was swarming with Minutemen, and the roll was called by Captain John Parker, veteran of the French wars. (Battle of Lexington, 4/19/1775)

Exhaustion and unrest were the post-Revolutionary lot of Lexington, as of most communities in Massachusetts. Debts mounted as business stagnated. Despite their passion for liberty and democracy, however, Lexington farmers did not join the insurrection of embittered debtors led by Daniel Shays; on the contrary, the town sent militia to aid in putting it down.

By the end of the 18th century the town had recovered a peaceful prosperity. Its population at that time was about 1,600, most of whom were engaged in farming. The Industrial Revolution brought a spurt of manufacturing which lasted for the first quarter of the 19th century. The activity had no sound basis, however, and when neighboring towns more advantageously located for power and markets surpassed it, Lexington returned to the less eventful pursuits of agriculture. By the 1930s the town had transformed into a residential community.

  1. Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for Massachusetts, Massachusetts: A Guide to Its Places and People, American Guide Series, The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1937.
Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. • Privacy
Copyright © 1997-2016 • The Gombach Group • www.gombach.com • 11040