Minute Man National Historical Park | NORTH BRIDGE VISITOR CENTER

North Bridge Visitor Center at Minute Man National Historical Park

North Bridge Visitor Center at Minute Man National Historical Park

GENERAL INFORMATION

The North Bridge Visitor Center at Minute Man National Historical Park is housed in the former mansion of Stedman Buttrick Sr., an heir of Major John Buttrick who led the Patriot attack on the British soldiers guarding the North Bridge on the morning of April 19, 1775. The building is located at 174 Liberty Street and has its own parking lot. You can walk to the North Bridge from the Visitor Center along a .3-mile gravel path. The terrain is hilly, but the scenery is very pretty.

Path from the North Bridge to the North Bridge Visitor Center at Minute Man National Historical Park

Path from the North Bridge to the North Bridge Visitor Center at Minute Man National Historical Park

The Buttrick Family owned the land on the hill to the north of the bridge since 1637, a few years after Concord itself was founded. Stedman Sr. had the mansion built in 1911, and it was inherited by his son Stedman Jr. in 1925. The National Park Service purchased the property in 1962 for inclusion in Minute Man National Historical Park. In addition to the building, there are gardens outside that visitors are welcome to explore.

Garden at the Buttrick mansion, Minute Man National Historical Park

Garden at the Buttrick mansion, Minute Man National Historical Park

In 1775, two members of the Buttrick Family, Ephraim and Willard, had houses near to where the mansion now stands. Only the foundations remain today. This area was occupied by a company of British soldiers who were guarding the North Bridge.

Foundations of the homes of Ephraim and Willard Buttrick next to the North Bridge Visitor Center at Minute Men National Historical Park

Foundations of the homes of Ephraim and Willard Buttrick next to the North Bridge Visitor Center at Minute Men National Historical Park

OPERATING HOURS

The North Bridge Visitor Center is typically open daily from May through October between the hours of 10 AM and 5 PM. Times can always change, so before making travel plans be sure to get the latest schedule on the National Park Service’s North Bridge Visitor Center web page for Minute Man National Historical Park.

AMENITIES

  • Ranger-staffed information desk where you can get a park brochure and a copy of the Minute Man Messenger that lists a schedule of daily Ranger programs and special events
  • Small book and souvenir store
  • Film about the fighting at the North Bridge
  • Museum
  • Gardens and North Bridge observation areas
  • Restrooms
Information desk and souvenir store at Minute Man National Historical Park's North Bridge Visitor Center

Information desk and souvenir store at Minute Man National Historical Park’s North Bridge Visitor Center

PARK FILM

An 8-minute film about the fighting at the North Bridge is available on demand. The presentation is shown on a TV, so just hit the play button on the DVD remote control. It tells a story that you may have already heard at various other places in the park, but at such a short length it’s worth catching unless you are in a hurry. The film features live action, and there is some shooting of muskets that might scare toddlers, but no deaths are depicted. Otherwise, there is no objectionable material.

MUSEUM

The museum at the North Bridge Visitor Center focuses on the fighting at the North Bridge. The exhibits give the basics of the event and a short biography of James Barrett and John Buttrick, the key Patriots involved in what was essentially a small skirmish that led to heavier fighting to the east a few hours later. There is also a map that highlights the important sites of the battlefield.

Exhibits in the North Bridge Visitor Center at Minute Man National Historical Park

Exhibits in the North Bridge Visitor Center at Minute Man National Historical Park

There are a number of artifacts from the American Revolution on display, ranging from uniform buttons and shoe buckles to one of the actual cannon that had been stolen by the colonists and hidden on the farm of Colonel James Barrett. A search for this and other weapons was why British troops came to Concord in the first place.

Cannon stored at the farm of James Barrett on display inside Minute Man National Historical Park's North Bridge Visitor Center

Cannon stored at the farm of James Barrett on display inside Minute Man National Historical Park’s North Bridge Visitor Center

SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

Though the Buttrick Mansion is very large, only a small portion is used for visitor services (the rest is National Park Service offices). To read through all of the information in the museum takes about twenty minutes, and the park film runs roughly ten minutes. There are also a few information panels outside where the gardens are located and a couple of spots where you can get a nice view of the North Bridge. Stick to the viewing area at the upper part of the garden. There is another one located at the bottom of a long staircase, and while you can see the Concord River, trees block the view of the bridge.

View of the North Bridge from the upper garden at the Buttrick Mansion, Minute Man National Historical Park

View of the North Bridge from the upper garden at the Buttrick Mansion, Minute Man National Historical Park

I spent about an hour at the North Bridge Visitor Center, which allowed for a thorough examination. About 45 minutes of this was spent inside talking with a Ranger, watching the film, and perusing the museum, and 15 minutes was spent outside at the gardens.

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Last updated on September 5, 2023
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