Boston Recap!

Before I move on to Philadelphia, I wanted to share a few more pics of Boston that didn’t make it into the original blog posts. Enjoy!!


Original Door of the Buckman Tavern – The hole is where a musketball went through it during the battle on Lexington Green


The battle line at Lexington Green. This is where the Lexington Militia lined up to meet the British.


British troops that were killed in Lexington and Concord are honored. Most of them did not want to be here. They were her on orders from their king. They didn’t want to be here any more than we wanted them to be here. The grave marker on the left is at the Concord Bridge, the one on the right is on the Battle Road near the Bloody Angle.


Monument at Lexington Green. The oldest battle monument in the country.


Monument at Lexington Green.


The drum that called the Lexington Militia to assemble.


Not really Revolutionary history, but this little home in Concord grew grapes for wine. Turns out the grapes made crummy wine, but really great jelly. It is the home of Concord Grape Jelly.


Dining room and kitchen at the Hancock-Clarke House. Many pieces are original, including the shutters on the windows. The home was almost demolished, but they found a donor that just moved it across the street. In the 1960s the home was moved back to it’s original place.


Statue of Samuel Adams outside Faneuil Hall.


I like this picture because it shows how the city built up around the historical sites. This is the Old State House(location of the Boston Massacre). Everything around it is very modern(there is even a T-Train stop INSIDE part of the building).


The balcony view of the Old State House. The Massacre happened in the intersection below. Governor Thomas Hutchinson addressed the angry mob that had assembled here in response to the massacre. It was from this balcony that he told them that the British soldiers has been arrested.


Another view of Old North Church and the plaque that hangs there.


British Major John Pitcairn. Fought for the British at Lexington and Concord and was killed at Bunker Hill. He is now buried at Old North Church.


Plaque at Bunker Hill


Artifacts. Items on the left were used at the Battle of Bunker Hill.  The musket on the right was found at the Boston Massacre site shortly after it occurred.


The church where John and Abigail Adams and John Quincy and Louisa Adams are buried. We couldn’t go inside due to Sunday services, but normally you can go and see their tombs.


The first public school in America, an idea instituted by Benjamin Franklin.


Grave in Granary Burial Ground. This man died in his 20s. His grave depicts Father Time snuffing out his candle prematurely. No one famous, but a cool grave marker.


Actual possessions of John Hancock.


A book of poetry by Phyllis Wheatley. Phyllis Wheatley was the first African-American to be a published author/poet. She was born in West Africa and sold into slavery. She was purchased by the Wheatley family who taught her how to read and write. Her book of poems was published in 1773, the same year as the Boston Tea Party.


Pretty sure this is how I looked for half the trip. I was so excited to see all these amazing places! This was taken inside Old North Church.

Next up: Philadelphia!!

Fund for Teachers Fellowship Day Five – Travel!

The majority of Day 5 was spent traveling from Boston to Philadelphia. So, to transition from one part of the trip to the other, I am going to leave you with some fun facts that didn’t make the original Boston blog posts.

Interesting Fact #1 – Dr. Joseph Warren. I learned a TON about this guy. I have always known him as a patriot who was killed at Bunker Hill, but not much else. He was VERY involved and probably would have been just as famous as Revere and Adams had he lived. Dr. Warren was a young medical doctor living in Boston. He was very well respected and had many well-known patients (including John Adams and family). He was active in the Sons of Liberty and was a Freemason. On April 19th, 1775 he received news (possibly from an informant – more on that later) about the British moving to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock and seizing the munitions from Concord. Sound familiar? Of course, we know this story from Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride. After receiving this news, he enlisted Paul Revere and William Dawes to carry this news to Lexington and Concord. Warren also traveled to Lexington that day, to fight with the militia that had assembled there. When is mother learned of this, she begged him not to put his life at such risk. He responded: “Where danger is, dear mother, there must your son be. Now is no time for any of American’s children to shrink from any hazard. I will set her free or die.” Warren was an officer in the Continental Army, however, in the Battle of Bunker/Breed’s Hill, he volunteered to fight alongside men of much lower rank and in a much more dangerous position than he had to. Dr. Joseph Warren fought bravely at Bunker Hill and was killed. His body was so badly disfigured(mutilated by the British) that Paul Revere had to identify him based on a false tooth he had made for him(perhaps the first case of forensic dentistry?). He had just turned 34 years old and left behind four young children (his wife died a few years before). After his death, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and several other members of the Sons of Liberty contributed funds to pay for the children’s care and education. When I visited the John Adams home in Quincy, a portrait of Joseph Warren hung in a prominent location in their living room. The portrait was unfinished. This was not just a mistake or an instance where the artist ran out of time, it was very much done on purpose. It was a symbol of a life unfinished.

r. Joseph Warren Memorial at Bunker Hill

Interesting Fact #2 – Margaret Gage – Depending on which historian you talk to, the story of Margaret Gage and Dr. Joseph Warren may(or may not) intertwine. The reason this is going in the “interesting fact” section rather than the main blog post, is because this is a theory that not everyone agrees on. So who was Margaret Gage? Simply put, she was the wife of Thomas Gage, the commander of the British troops in Boston. She was American, meeting her husband while he was stationed in the colonies. Due to this, she often had conflicting feelings on the American cause and the war for independence. There is a popular theory out there that none other than Margaret Gage was Dr. Warren’s informant on the evening of April 19th. This rumor was fed by the fact that she was sent back to England soon after the infamous Shot Heard Round the World. Was this merely for her safety? Or, was she slipping the American’s secrets? Some argue that Dr. Warren did not have an informant at all, he simply just figured out what was going on by observation. We will probably never know for sure, but it does add an interesting twist to the story.

Interesting Fact #3 – Four Star Hotel – According to a tour guide in Lexington, the term “four star” when describing a hotel originates in colonial times. According to legend, colonial taverns would light lanterns or candles in their windows to reflect the amenities offered at that location. One candle meant it was a place to drink, two candles – eat and drink, three candles – eat drink, and a place to stay, four candles meant a place to eat, drink, sleep and keep your horse. I tried to verify this story, however, I have not yet been able to find anything. Still a neat story though!

Interesting Fact #4 – This isn’t really wasn’t new information for me, but it was definitely reinforced on this trip. So often, our founding fathers are portrayed as a bunch of old, privileged, gentlemen that were in their twilight years. These were, in most cases, middle class, YOUNG men. Men with wives, children, and a whole lot to lose. Joseph Warren(age at death: 34) left behind four orphaned children. Thomas Jefferson(Age when writing the Declaration: 33) left the 2nd Continental Congress soon after the approval of the Declaration to be by the side of his deathly ill wife and newborn child (she survived, but died a few years later in 1782 – he was heartbroken and never remarried). Paul Revere(Age during the Midnight ride: 38) was widowed with 7 children 7 months before the Boston Tea Party(he remarried soon after and had another 8 children). John Adams(Age during the Continental Congress: 40) was away from his wife and four children for five years while he negotiated with foreign powers overseas. These are just four of our founding fathers. John Hancock was 39, William Dawes was 30, Dr. Prescott was 23. There was a tremendous amount on the line for these men. If they failed, they would lose everything(including their lives). Knowing this adds some degree of respect and magnitude to the things these brave men did. I will close with my favorite(and final) line from the Declaration of Independence:

“We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.”

…and they meant it.

Fund for Teachers Fellowship Day FOUR Part TWO – Boston, Massachusetts

After spending the morning and early afternoon in Quincy, I traveled back to Boston to hit a few more locations on the Freedom Trail. The first stop was Granary Burial Ground. Some of our most famous patriots and founding fathers are buried in this cemetery. _MG_3808 Pictured above is the original Paul Revere grave stone. Very simple. Not what one would picture as the grave of such an important man. In the 1800s, a new stone was placed at the burial site of Paul Revere.


The two stones sit side-by-side towards the back of the burial ground.

A much more prominent stone marks the grave of John Hancock


As I have mentioned before, Mr. Hancock was extremely wealthy. However, this is also not his original grave stone. This was added some time after his death. Unfortunately, Hancock’s grave was the target of grave robbers, who stole is right hand(the one which he so famously signed the Declaration of Independence with).


Right in the middle of the burial ground, there is a large and prominent grave marker with the name “Franklin” on it. While one would think that this is the resting site of the most famous Franklin, Ben, it is actually Benjamin Franklin’s parents. Franklin was born in Boston, but spent most of his life in Philadelphia, so, he is buried in Philadelphia.


Samuel Adams is buried at the front of the burial ground. Right next to his grave, stands the grave of the five men killed in the Boston Massacre.


It seemed fitting and appropriate that they should be laid to rest side by side.

After visiting Granary, we stopped by another burial ground. This one was the Copp’s Hill Burial Ground. While this one doesn’t have the variety of historical inhabitants, it does have some history. The British were stationed here during the early days of the Revolution.


The grave pictured above belongs to Daniel Malcom. Malcom was a patriot, though he died in 1769 before the height of the movement. He is perhaps most well known for helping John Hancock smuggle goods into the colony without paying taxes. It is said that the indentations on his grave are from the British soldiers using his grave for target practice.

From the burial ground, I returned to the heart of Boston to tour the Old South Meeting House.


It was in this building where Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty met just before The Boston Tea Party. They were originally going to meet at the Old State House but such a large crowd showed up that they couldn’t all fit, so they moved the meeting here. The interior of this building has been largely reconstructed. There is one original pew, but that is about it. During the British siege of Boston, they used this building as a stable and riding school. They destroyed pews and used them for firewood. After the British left it was all but destroyed on the interior. It was restored, but then damaged again in a fire in 1872. It was eventually restored to what it is today.


After visiting the Old South Meeting House, where the Boston Tea Party was plotted, it seemed only natural to move on to the actual site of the Boston Tea Party. We made our way to Boston Harbor.


Today in the harbor sits a reconstructed ship of the time. The original Boston Tea Party ship was named The Dartmouth. The reconstruction is of The Beaver – which is actually one of John Hancock’s ships.

The shore line of Boston looks very different today than it did back in the 1700s. Boston was almost an island, almost completely surrounded by water. A massive land bridge project began not long after the Revolution was won. Because of this, while this is the location of the Boston Tea Party, it probably looked very different at the time.

To end the day, I made one last stop at the Boston Massacre site.


Even though this is the spot marked as the “Site of the Boston Massacre” it really occurred a little bit in front of it. It is not possible to put a marker at the exact spot because it is now in the middle of a busy street.


The exact location is just a little bit behind me in the street, just in front of the Old State House.

Day four was my last day in Boston. Boston brought a ton of new learning experiences and revelations. Next up: a recap of Boston and on to Philadelphia!!!

Fund for Teachers Fellowship – Day Four – Quincy, Massachusetts

Day Four was probably my favorite day so far. We started the day riding the T-Train to Quincy, Massachusetts. Quincy, to anyone else, may be just a little city outside of Boston. However, one family put Quincy on the map. Quincy was the birthplace of two American presidents – John Adams and John Quincy Adams. I toured 3 homes. The first was the birthplace of John Adams.


Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in any of the homes, but a quick google search will provide you with an array of images. This house, as you can imagine, was quite plain inside as well as out. John Adams grew up in this home. His father was a Deacon with the church and held frequent meetings in this house. John’s father(John Sr.) wanted him to follow in his footsteps and choose a religious vocation. John did not want this profession for himself and chose, instead, to go into law. Upon his father’s death, this house was given to his brother and he inherited the home next door.



This home is literally right next to the home he was born in. He married Abigail and moved into this home in 1764. John Adams called this place home during some of our countries most important years. They did not leave this home until the American Revolution was over. Our 6th president, John Quincy Adams was born in this home. This home was very modest. John practiced law here. Abigail and himself raised four children there. So many of John and Abigail’s famous correspondence was written here while he was serving in the 1st and 2nd Continental Congress. If walls could talk….

After the war, John and Abigail Adams lived in London for a time. While in London they purchased, what they referred to as the “Old House” at Peace Field.


The home you see here is not quite the sight that greeted the Adams’ when they returned from Europe. In fact, Abigail was quite disappointed in the home, calling it a “wren’s nest.” They expanded the house and cultivated it’s 70 acres of farmland. This home – wow. It was like walking back in time. It has been AMAZINGLY preserved. The furnishings, some rugs, and even the WALLPAPER is original. It is beautiful and so amazing that it has been so well taken care of by the Adams family. This was there home during John’s presidency and they(Abigail more than John) did spend some time here even though they were mostly in Philadelphia and then the brand new White House in D.C. However, they permanently moved into this home after John’s presidency. John and Abigail spent the rest of their days on this farm. Abigail died in their upstairs bedroom in 1818. John died on July 4, 1826 – the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  As he was on his death bed, surrounded by his family, he kept asking if it was the Fourth of July yet – he so wanted to make it to the fiftieth anniversary. Upon confirmation that yes, indeed, it was the Fourth of July, he stated “It is a great day.” and his last words were “Jefferson survives.” This of course, was in reference to his sometimes good friend, Thomas Jefferson. Little did he know, Jefferson passed away only a few hours earlier at his home in Monticello. Yeah. I got goosebumps. Both men, who were so important to the founding of this nation and who shared such a great friendship(as tumultuous as it sometimes was) passed away within hours of one another on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration. If that isn’t some sort of fate, I don’t know what is.





Fund for Teachers Fellowship – Boston – Day THREE

Day three was possibly the most anticipated day on my journey. Day three was spent exploring Boston and The Freedom Trail.


The Freedom Trail is a trail that spans about 3 miles throughout the city of Boston. It can be followed by the red brick line pictured above. This trail will lead you to some of the most important sites in Boston relating to American Independence. If we are going in chronological order, the first stop we would make would be to the Old State House.


The old state house was the seat of Colonial Government. The governor would address the people of Boston from the balcony. There are two statues on the top – a lion and a unicorn. The lion is a symbol of the British Monarchy and the Unicorn is a Scottish symbol. These two statues are not original. They originals were made out of wood and promptly taken down and burned by angry Bostonians after tensions with Britain erupted. However, The State House does not go down in history as the center of government, but rather for the events that occurred there on March 5, 1770.  British soldiers were in Boston, and the citizens did not like it. Tensions were high. One evening an angry mob marched to the State House and confronted the troops stationed in front of it. There was about a 1.5 of snow on the ground – snowballs (and clubs) were thrown. Eventually British soldiers felt threatened enough to fire on the hostile mob. In the end, five men were killed. Now, from here, history gets distorted a little bit. You may be familiar with Paul Revere’s famous political cartoon “The Bloody Massacre.” It was a great piece of propaganda, but, like most propaganda, held very little truth. This wasn’t the cold-hearted British slaying innocent colonists. This was an angry mob that confronted soldiers with guns in a violent way. There was no way it was going to end well.

After touring the state house, we moved on to the Paul Revere home.


This house is remarkable. It is situated right in the middle of the North End of Boston and a huge part of it is original. There is no photography allowed inside, so you will have to google it if you want to see. Paul Revere raised SIXTEEN children in this tiny little house. Yes, you read that correctly, sixteen! I asked the guide how many children lived there at one time and she said that no less than 5 and no more than 9 lived in the house at a time. There was a 29 year age difference between the youngest and oldest child. Fun fact: The discoloration on the glass is a natural tinting created by exposure to sunlight interacting with chemicals used in the glass making process. Fun Fact #2: Paul Revere was somewhat of a “jack of all trades.” While he is most known for being a silver smith, he also was an engraver, militia officer and…wait for it…the town dentist!!

From the Revere house, we moved on to the next natural location – Old North Church. Why is Old North Church the best place to go next? It all has to do with Paul’s famous Midnight Ride.


Have you ever read Longfellow’s famous poem “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”?

Listen my children and you shall here

of the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

On the 18th of April, in Seventy-Five;

Hardly a man is now alive

That remembers that famous day and year. 

He said to his friend, if the British march

By land or sea from the town to-night

Hang a lantern a-loft in the belfry arch

Of North Church Tower as a signal light

One if by land, two if by sea

and I on the opposite shore will be,

ready to ride and to sound the alarm

through every Middlesex, village and farm

For the country-folk to be up and to arm.

So – as Longfellow just told us, Paul Revere was in Charlestown the night of the British Regulars march. He watched the tower of Old North Church to get a signal. One lantern would mean that the British were marching over land, out through Boston neck (the route William Dawes took) and two lanterns would mean they were traveling across the river. Two lanterns appeared that night, so he knew that the regulars would be traveling on the water(side note: Paul Revere did NOT shout the famous “The British are coming!” line we so often hear about. Everyone in Boston was British. It would make no sense for him to ride through town shouting that. What he most probably yelled were “The Regulars are coming.” or even “The redcoats are coming!”). Interesting Fact: On special occasions, there are still two lanterns hung in the tower of Old North Church(the example we were given by the guide was when the Red Sox won the world series).

The last stop for the day on the Freedom Trail was another very important one: Bunker Hill National Monument.


The monument is placed on the site of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Interestingly, The Battle of Bunker Hill DID NOT happen on Bunker Hill. There were two hills in relative close proximity to one another in the area. One was Bunker Hill and the other was Breed’s Hill. What we know as The Battle of Bunker Hill actually took place on Breed’s Hill. Somehow there was some confusion in the reporting at the time and we kinda just rolled with it through out history. Strange, but true. The Battle of Bunker Hill took place on June 17, 1775. The American militia, low on ammunition, was ordered not to fire until “you see the whites of their eyes.” While the British technically won this battle, they sustained heavy losses. They were not expecting a group of rag-tag rebels to put up such a fight and cause so much damage. It was a blow to the British, even though it was considered a victory.

There were a few more stops that we didn’t get to on the Freedom Trail. Those will be explored tomorrow. Stay tuned!! Also tomorrow: John Adams National Historic Site!!

Fund for Teachers – Boston – Day TWO Part TWO!

So, where did we leave off? Paul Revere was captured not long after starting out on his journey(around 1:30 AM). However, he is not hung(or is it hanged?) as was standard procedure for those committing treason. Instead he escapes with his life, but he loses his horse. At this point he heads back to the Hancock-Clark house. He figures that the least his ol friend John can do is give him a horse for warning him to get out of Lexington before he is arrested. When he arrives at the Clark House, he is surprised to see that John and Sam are STILL there and they are STILL arguing over whether or not John will fight with the militia at Lexington. He finally comes to his senses and Sam and John go on their way – leaving town as shots fire out on Battle green.


So what happened at Battle Green? The British marched into Lexington hoping to quietly pass through Lexington. In truth, they weren’t even planning on arresting John Hancock and Samuel Adams. The king had ordered them to do so, but the British Commander was afraid they would become “martyrs for the cause” and rile up the citizens further. However, due to the warning of Paul Revere, the Lexington Militia is ready for them and ready for a fight. The British orders them to disperse – they do not. Someone – we don’t know who – fired a shot and calamity ensued. In the end, 8 colonists were killed. The British soldiers gave three “Huzzahs” for victory. Not a good idea to do while the entire town of Lexington looks upon the scene before them. The important thing to note here is that the British did not want a fight. Lexington was not supposed to happen. It was a situation that had gone terribly wrong.

Reverand Clark – who lived in the Clark house – wrote the following in his weather journal that morning:


“April 19th: Clear. Regulars fired upon our men…killed 10….wounded many.”

From here, the British move on to Concord to complete their mission – the seizing of guns and ammunition from the militia. However, word travels fast, and while their were only 70-80 men waiting for the soldiers at Lexington, the minute men called up in Concord stood ready, 500 strong at the North Bridge.


Wait – Paul Revere had been captured. How did the minute men know that the regulars were coming? Dr. Prescott was the only one of the three riders that made it through to Concord (William Dawes got lost) – yet somehow, Paul gets all the glory. So, thanks to Dr. Prescott, the minute men are waiting at the North Bridge.  The two sides engage in a brief battle lasting only around 25 minutes – but those 25 minutes change everything. Here, at Concord, we have The Short Heard Round the World. This was the line in the sand that the Minute Men drew. The British Regulars crossed that line and the world was turned upside down. There are numerous casualties on each side. The regulars, having found no military supplies, begin to retreat back to Boston. Upon their 2nd arrival in Lexington, they find that the number of men in the militia has grown, and they come under attack once again. This is called “Parker’s Revenge.” The march back to Boston is bloody for the British Regulars as many minute men are hiding along the way to, essentially, pick off the soldiers one-by-one. This is called “The Battle Road” and, one section where casualties were particularly high, is called “The Bloody Angle.” The British at this point did not know what had hit them. What was supposed to be a quick and quiet mission had brought them to all out war.

So that, in a nutshell, is the story of Lexington and Concord.  The first battles of the American Revolution. I will leave oyu with a few bits of information that I learned.


1. Militia man vs. Minute Man – There IS a difference!! Lexington had a Militia. A militia is an army made up of soldiers who are REQUIRED to serve. Minute Men are a volunteer force(ready to serve at a minutes notice, of course). The Minute Man statued above shows a Minute Man how they could often be found. Out in the fields, a plow in one had and a musket in the other.

2. Lexington vs. Concord – Apparently there was quite a bit of tension between the two towns about which could actually claim the first battle of the American Revolution. There are good arguments on both sides. I never realized this was an area of contention between the two towns. While Lexington was a small skirmish, Concord was a full fledged battle.

P.S. – I still think it started at Lexington!!

3. The first shot vs. The Shot Heard Round the World – The first shot fired at Lexington was NOT the shot heard round the world. They are often referred to as one in the same, but The Shot Heard Round the World actually refers to the first shots fired at Concord – since that is where both sides were actively involved in combat.

I feel so fortunate to have gotten to visit these two places. It is a powerful thing to see where a war started – especially when it is a war that ended with the birth of a new nation.

That is all for today – check back tomorrow for Day THREE – The FREEDOM Trail!!

Fund for Teachers Fellowship – DAY ONE and TWO! Pt 1

Happy Summer Everyone!!! This summer I’m back on the road with a Fund for Teachers grant!!! This time around, I am traveling to Boston and Philadelphia to explore the causes and early Revolutionary period. This is my ‘history teacher dream’ ya’ll. I have been wanting to go to Boston since I was a history-loving high school student. I am so excited to bring back all of this amazing info to my students!! On to day one!!

Day ONE!

Let me preface day one by saying, I NEVER fly. The last time I flew was four years ago when I got a grant from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence to attend the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute. FOUR YEARS!! I am also a nervous flyer. My first flight was bright and early. 5:30 AM out of Tulsa, flying to Chicago. After a 3:30 wake up call, things went pretty smoothly. Almost, TOO smoothly. I was feeling pretty good! Flight was on time, security was a breeze. First flight went by quickly. Upon landing, I turn on my phone and, what do you know, my next flight: CANCELED! Ugh!! Instead of my 8:30 AM flight, I was rebooked on a 3:40 PM flight!! I found myself facing the possibility of hanging out at O’Hare for EIGHT hours. Not how I had hoped on spending my first day. After much discussion, talking to at least 5 people, and possibly some near-tears moments, I was booked on a 11:45 flight. Phew! Still not as great as my original, but it was much improved!!

3:45 PM I arrive in posting – and perhaps even more amazingly – my luggage does too! I grab my bag, hop on the T train and head to the hotel. By the time everything was settled in, All I had time for was a little exploration and a quick dinner. On my way to the T train I stopped by the site of the Boston Massacre. Wow! Right in the middle of this bustling city there is this remarkable historical location!!

Dinner: The Salty Pig in the Back Bay. Amazing! I would post a pic, but I was too tired and I was trying to save phone battery. At this point I had been awake for 15 hours. Pretty sure I crashed out before 9:30 Boston time, but, I’m here and I’m loving it!!

Day TWO: Lexington and Concord

The idea of public transit has never been too intimidating to me. Being an Oklahoma girl, we certainly don’t have the infrastructure for it in my home-town, but through my multiple travels, I have become familiar with out it works. Even so, the hour long trip to Lexington was a little intimidating to me. However, unlike the previous days travels, all went according to plan and I actually arrived 30 minutes EARLY to the Lexington Visitor’s Center. This town is amazing. Such a cute, little town with so much modern character, all while retaining it’s historical charm. Lexington is the site of the first battle between Massachusetts Militiamen and the King’s Troops. My first stop was a statue on Lexington Green of John Parker – leader of the Lexington Militia.


Stop 2: Buckman’s Tavern


Buckman’s Tavern was the meeting place of the Lexington Militia. They met here on multiple occasions.

Let’s back up in the story here. How did John Parker and his men know that the British Regulars were coming in the first place? I’m sure you know the story…Paul Revere….Midnight Ride…”The British are coming!”…right? Well, sorta. Paul Revere DID alert the militia(and his fellow Sons of Liberty Sam Adams and John Hancock, more about them later) that the Regulars were coming, but there are a few key players that have managed to be left out in our textbooks. William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott – odds are you haven’t heard of them. No poems written about these guys – however, their roles are just as important. In fact, if it wasn’t for Dr. Prescott, Concord may have had no warning of the troops arrival to seize their guns and ammunition. I decided I wanted to start at the beginning of this story. The story of Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Dr. Prescott’s arrival in Lexington and their trip to Concord.

Paul Revere’s first stop was The Clark House. There was an order given by King George to arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams at the Hancock-Clark House that evening. Sam Adams was great at getting people riled up and was a major player in several famous Boston protests (ex: Boston Tea Party). John Hancock practically financed the entire American Revolution, so you can understand while George would want these guys stopped.

Revere arrived at The Hancock-Clark House. Warned the two men and met William Dawes while he was there. John Hancock valiantly fought saying he wanted to stay with his troops and face the British. Sam Adams argued with is friend that that was way too risky. They couldn’t afford to lose him(or his $$$). Revere and Dawes left the two arguing and went on to warn the militia and then on to Concord. Side Note: This house was amazing. So much of the original house remained. Of course, some was reconstructed, but there is a large amount that is original.


At this point, I had gone as far as I could on foot. So, I hopped on the trolly and headed towards Minute Man National Park. At the park, I began traveling a portion of The Battle Road – the route the three patriots and the British took that lead them from Lexington to Concord.


Contrary to what our traditional story of Paul Revere teaches us, Mr. Revere did not make it very far that night. In fact, at 1:30 AM the three men encountered a patrol of British Officers. Dawes and Prescott escape – However, this is where Paul Revere’s journey ends. They arrest him. Fortunately, they decide to let him go after some time, but keep his horse. Pictured below is the actual location where Revere is captured.



So…what happens next? Well, it’s 10:45 PM here in Boston and this teacher is exhausted. So I am going to leave our story here for the evening. Check back tomorrow! To be continued….

Oklahoma Council for Geographic Education, Culture, Cuisine and Computers DAY 1!!!!

I’m back!!! After two years off I am back on the road. What a great feeling! My first travels of the summer took me to Norman, Oklahoma with the Oklahoma Council for Geographic Education(OKAGE). OKAGE is an amazing organization that funds various teacher education and training throughout the year. Go check them out at

The summer institute was called “Culture, Cuisine and Computers,” and had a focus on various religious institutions in the Oklahoma City area. Specifically, we would focus on Judaism, Islam, Roman Catholicism, Greek Orthodox, Buddhist, and Hindu. It also focused on the traditional cuisine in the places these religions are practiced.

Day 1 was a short, fairly uneventful day, but there is always excitement in the air on the first day of an institute!


The direct instruction portion of our days were spent at Sarkey’s Energy Center on the beautiful University of Oklahoma campus.


Photo Courtesy

After a quick introduction and review of the cultures we would be covering, we headed to dinner at Mamaveca Peruvian and Mexican Restaurant. YUM! I have only had Peruvian once before and Mamaveca did not disappoint!

After dinner we headed to our home away from home for the next 5 days. Sooner Legends Hotel.


Photo Courtesy Sooner Legends

We finished the day tired and ready to start day two: field trip day!


Route 66 Day 4, Clinton and Edmond, Oklahoma

I can’t believe our final day of traveling Route 66 has come and gone! The time flew by!

We got to sleep in a little bit on Day Four(We didn’t start until 8:45 WOOHOO!!). We had a lot to do on day four though. We set off west on 66.

Our first stop depicted another dying part of our culture: The Drive-In.

Restoration had started on this site, but for some unknown reason it stopped and has since fallen into disrepair again.

This Drive In is in Weatherford(where we departed from). Weatherford is also home to a huge wind farm.

The I-40 Interstate(seen on the left) runs next to 66 in many areas.

Our final destination of the day was Clinton, which is in far western Oklahoma. You can really see the impact that the heat and drought is having on western Oklahoma. It the ground was so dry. One resident(who was 94 years old) told us it hadn’t been that dry since the Dust Bowl. So, needless to say, they are praying for rain in western OK.

Our first stop in Clinton was the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum.

This museum was great! It’s a must see if you are ever in western Oklahoma. The museum was opened in 1995 and was designed to look like an old diner.

As I have said before, when Route 66 was decommissioned they took down all the signs on the route. These are some of the signs that were saved. The headquarters of Route 66 used to be in Clinton, Oklahoma.

Clinton, Oklahoma

Clinton OklahomaThe museum takes a look at Route 66 by each decade, starting with the 1920s.

Clinton Oklahoma

The road was built in the 20s and became a national highway in 1926. In 1928, they held the Great American Bunion Derby to promote Route 66. This was a race from Chicago to L.A. 355 people entered and the prize was 25,000 dollars. A man from Foyle, Oklahoma won the derby. It took 83 days!

Unfortunatly, soon after 66 was made a highway the crash of 29 brought America into a deep depression. In the 1930s terrible drought hit the midwest, including Oklahoma. Families fled Oklahoma in hopes of a better life in California. Sadly, for most that was not what happened. In California, the new Oklahoma residents were called “Okies” a term that was once considered derogatory.

In the 1940s things began to look up. When the U.S. got involved in World War II, Route 66 again had a change in it’s traffic.

Gasoline was rationed and most of the traffic on 66 was trucks carrying military supplies.  There were lots of changes going on! Highway patrol was created and it was considered a person’s patriotic duty to pick up a hitch-hiker as he was often a soldier.

The 1950s began Route 66’s Hay-Day

Suddenly there was a new focus on family. Military men, home from WWII, wanted to take their families on vacations down Route 66. It was in this decade that the diner became popular.

In the 1960s Route 66 was still thriving. You could find two types of people on the Mother Road during this decade: Hippies and Families.

Paul McCartney is a huge fan of Route 66. He has even toured this very museum!

In the 1970s we began to see the decline of Route 66. The interstate was built. 5 different interstates eventually replaced Route 66.

This sign was salvaged when the Capitol Motel was torn down in the 70s.

Sadly Route 66 was decomissioned in the 80s.

However, things are looking up. More families than ever are looking to Route 66 as a way to simplify their vacations. In these economic times more families are turning to road trips again.

People are coming from all over the world to experience Route 66. Next week, a tour of 68 people for Norway and Finland will be stopping at this museum. While we were in the museum we met a couple from Spain that was taken Route 66 to L.A.

We continued our journey down to the downtown area of Clinton, and interviewed a lot of people about the history of the town.

We finally traveled back to Edmond, tired, but so excited about our trip.

I have a new appreciation for Route 66 after this trip. There is nothing like it in the world and it’s part of our history. Everyone should travel at least one part of Route 66 sometime in their lives.

Thank you so much to Oklahoma Alliance for Geographic Education. They never fail to provide quality learning experiences for ALL teachers.

Traveling Teacher signing off from the Mother Road!

Route 66 Day 3, Oklahoma City, Hydro, and Weatherford

Back in the hotel room after another fabulous day on Route 66! I can’t believe we only have one more day of travelling! Time flies.

Today we made our first stop at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. The OK History Center is right next to the beautiful capitol building in downtown OKC.

The museum had a cool exhibit on old fashioned cars. The oldest car there was a 1899 Knox. Back in the hayday of Route 66, automobiles only went an average of 35 miles per hour. Interesting fact: In 1900 there were only about 8,000 automobiles in the United States in 1914 that number almost doubled to about 15,000 and by the time 1920 rolled around there were over 500,000 automobiles in the United States. It sure caught on fast!

During our time at the museum we were able to access their historical archives. Their archives house not just information about Oklahoma, but information from all over the United States. I decided to take a shot at finding some family records. I was so excited to find my Great-Grandfather’s 1920 census records!! He is documented as being 7 years old and having 8 sisters! I was so excited by my find. I made sure to make a copy fore myself before I left.

I also got some GREAT historical photos out of the archives including an add for land and the Oklahoma Land Run, a photo of the Oklahoma Land Run and a political cartoon from the early 1900s.

We spent the whole morning and early afternoon at the Historical Society. Around 2 o’clock we hit the road again.

We were going down the best part of Route 66 in Oklahoma. Lots of great stuff. We passed the old site of the 66 Bowl bowling alley. Unfortunately the building was torn down and is now being turned into a grocery store. Luckily the sign was preserved.

Our next stop was the Lake Overholser Bridge just outside of OKC.

This bridge is currently being restored and made into a pedestrian bridge. This is considered a success story of Route 66. Any time they can preserve a part of the original route, it’s considered a success!

We continued our journey until we came to Bridgeport Hill. This was one of my favorite stops! Why? Because it had a story!

The story is that the hill is so steep that, back in the old days, gasoline would flood the car engines and stall out. So, to fix that problem cars would drive up backwards! Love a good story!

Route 66

This is me at the top of the hill, you can see how the road drops a ways behind me.

Our next stop was yet another bridge. Pony Bridge. Pony Bridge has a little bit more historical significance.

This bridge is famous for being featured in the movie Grapes of Wrath. 


What followed was an awesome stretch of road! It is the most in tact portion of Route 66 in the country. For over 18 miles there is original, untouched pavement. The original pavement was made with Portland Concrete and divided into sections. The original lanes were VERY narrow, which made for a few nervous moments! Each lane was only about 9 feet wide, which doesn’t leave much room when you are travelling in a 12 passenger van! Here are some pictures from that stretch of road:


This is our caravan! 2 12 passenger vans, a Expedition and a cargo van! It’s the only way to travel!

Oklahoma! Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains!

Our final stop of the day was at one of the most famous Oklahoma Route 66 stops.

Route 66Lucielle’s Service Station. Lucielle was called the Mother of the Mother Road. Everyone had to stop at Lucielle’s!

The building was built in 1929 but Lucielle didn’t buy it until 1941. She and her family lived above the station. She was famous for selling ice cold beer to anyone who had an ID(even if it wasn’t theirs!)

Business plummeted after Route 66 was bypassed by I-40. Lucielle worked hard at making it a tourist attraction that people would seek out. She operated it for 59 years and died just a few years ago. It is now on the registry of nation historic places.

One of my very favorite things about Route 66 is all the character you find along the way. I’m going to end today’s post with some of my favorite buildings along the way.

Fat Elvis’ Diner!


Yukon, Oklahoma, Route 66

El Reno, Oklahoma, Route 66

Don’t remember where this is…..some where on Route 66!


Squak n Skoot Chicken-N-More…What’s not to love?!


There are lots of murals on Route 66.

I am loving Route 66!!

Tomorrow: Clinton, Oklahoma and then all the way back to Edmond! See you soon!