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Monument Square

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1820–1889. Monument Sq.
  • Monument Square (Concord Town Hall)

Monument Square is the historical, political, and institutional core of Concord. About a year after the 1635 incorporation of the town, under an oak tree at the northwest intersection of Monument Square and Main Street, the Reverend Peter Bulkeley and Major Simon Willard sealed the purchase of a six-mile-square plantation from local Indians. Monument Square, the northern half of the original common, became the center of political life in Concord. Named a “shire town” of Middlesex County by at least 1692, Concord built a combined courthouse and town house in 1721. That building and its replacement, which burned in 1849, were superseded by another Middlesex County Courthouse (1851, with multiple additions to the rear in the mid-twentieth century, NRD), at 30 Monument Square, a handsome Italianate clapboard building. Because the county ceased to permit the town to hold town meetings in the new courthouse, Concord had to build a new Town Hall (NRD), at 22 Monument Square, also in 1851. Architect Richard Bond, who had remodeled First Parish Church in 1841, designed the brick and brownstone Italian-ate town hall, which continues as the seat of town government. It provides the area's best surviving work by Richard Bond, whose similar Lawrence Hall (1847) and Gothic Revival Gore Hall (1838–1841), both for Harvard University, have been demolished. Across Bedford Street from the town hall stands St. Bernard's Roman Catholic Church (NRD) at 12 Monument Square, originally the home of the Universalist church when built in 1840–1842 facing Bedford Street. The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston purchased the building in 1863 for the fledgling congregation of Concord Catholics. In 1870, they enlarged the building, moving it to face Main Street; in 1889, local architect John H. Chapman added the entrance pavilion and tower and the arched windows in a Romanesque Revival style. At 58 Monument Square stands the two-story gabled brick building (NRD) constructed in 1820 for the town school (below) and the Corinthian Lodge of Freemasons (above) and moved back from the street and remodeled in 1882.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Keith N. Morgan
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Citation

Keith N. Morgan, "Monument Square", [Concord, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MA-01-CN1.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 449-450.

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