Minute Man National Historical Park’s historic appeal doesn’t stop with the events of April 19, 1775.
In fact, there’s an ongoing battle to bring back the lush and beautiful gardens overlooking the old North Bridge in Concord. On Wednesday, May 30, the Friends of Minute Man National Park, with a little help from their friends, hosted a garden party to raise funds for the continued restoration of the historic Buttrick Gardens outside MMNHP’s North Bridge Visitor Center.
“Our mission is not just the Revolution, but every aspect of the park,” said Betsy Lanjuin, an event organizer and membership director for the Friends of Minute Man. “These Buttrick Gardens have been here for 100 years and I think they’re very historic in their own right, and have world famous irises and peonies, so we really want to make sure they get the attention that they deserve.”
The Friends sold at least 80 tickets at $24 a pop, and monies raised will go toward the continued restoration of the gardens, which begin with rows of irises and peonies and continue in a tiered labyrinth that spills down to the fields where minutemen militias once faced off against the British Regulars.
The park, under the leadership of Superintendent Nancy Nelson, a former landscape architect, has battled back against deterioration and overgrowth in recent years, with a little help from the federal government to boot. Back in 2010, Minute Man received $1.7 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and planned to put more than $500,000 of those monies toward clearing the Buttrick Gardens and other historic agricultural fields within the park’s borders.
“The park has given them lots of attention in the past few years,” said Lanjuin. “They had been a little bit abandoned, and the garden is really returning to its glory, so we want to make sure the attention stays up. And so with the funds that we’re raising today, we’d like to be able to keep that up.”