This is the ancestral land of the Buttricks dating back to the mid-1600s with the arrival of William Buttrick one of the original settlers of Musketaquid (Concord). The family name was made famous by a fourth generation Buttrick, Major John Buttrick who led the militia to meet the British at the North Bridge in 1775. This home sits atop what is now Minuteman National Park, at the peak of a slope. As founding members of Concord, the original parcel was over 200 acres. The Buttricks maintained much of the lands including the homestead through most of the 20th century.
In the 1930s, a series of magnificent gardens were carved out of the land by John Buttrick’s, great, great grandson, Stedman Buttrick atop the rivers edge near the original farm pictured above. These became world-class estate gardens and today you can walk through them, well worth your time especially in early spring. However, one must only imagine now the feast for the eyes they once brought forth. Evidently, horticulturists from far-flung regions would come annually to see the irises and columbine that dotted the landscape. The gardens themselves were maintained by generations of the Buttrick family until well into the latter half of the 20th century. I learned this bit of history that is completely omitted at the Visitors Center at MNP on Concord’s community website, Concordma.com.
While I regret not having the chance to see the entire estate in its former glory, neither the panorama nor history of the place is overshadowed by the limitations a National Park must sometimes operate under. Although they were not able to invest in all aspects of the estate, much of the architecture and artifacts are preserved and the history, celebrated. But, perhaps a better model for preservation may be coming with the complete and careful renovations of Henry David Thoreau’s Birthplace and Major John Barrett’s home, now well underway here in Concord.