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Then And Now: Gowing Tavern

Each week, Lynnfield Patch runs a photo from the files of the Lynnfield Historical Society and talks about what's there today.

It might not look like it, but the Gowing Tavern was probably one of the most historic structures in the town of Lynnfield. That's because back in April, 1775, this is the spot where Lynnfield's Minutemen met before marching off toward Lexington and Concord. The Lynnfield Minutemen arrived in Arlington and participated in some particularly bloody fighting at the Battle of Menotomy.

I was able to go into the story fairly in depth in this article from back in April about Lynnfield's role in the American Revolution. The article also noted that Joseph Gowing, proprietor of the tavern during that era, was a former leader of the Minuteman group that was commanded by Captain Nathaniel Bancroft during the opening days of the American Revolution. What remains of Captain Bancroft's house is of great local historical importance as well - and not just because of his service in the American Revolution. As noted in this article about the history of Bancroft's house, a meeting there in 1711 led directly to the establishment of Lynnfield as its own town.

The tavern burned in 1896 and it was located across from the present-day South Common Street, basically where the Center Court shops are located today. The exact details elude me, but I recall that there is another historical marker across from where Essex Street and Main Street meet that identifies the former site of a home connected to the Gowing Family. It was called the Willow Castle, built in 1680, and The Mighty Google Books has a little bit more, as usual, by way of its edition of the well-known Warren Fells local historic photo book.

This does raise one question I am unsure about however - a past edition of "Then and Now" on this website noted that Roundy's Store was also located roughly across from the town common, supposedly by the late 1860s or early 1870s. Some buildings are visible off in the distance in this week's photo of the Gowing Tavern. It's possible that one of those could be the building that housed Roundy's Store, although that's just speculation.

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