The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 4, 2000


Art of Living Tour Honors the Colonial way of life

This is the third in a series of articles featuring the sites that will be part of the Art of Living in Carlisle Tour on September 23.

On Patriots Day in April, Carlisleans unfurl their flags to commemorate the "shot heard around the world" as penned by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Many join the Minutemen march by hiking from the Town Green down School Street to Bellows Hill Road through the Estabrook Woods to the North Bridge in Concord.

The Carlisle Cultural Council will help show us that there was more to the Colonial way of life than just doing battle with the Redcoats. The Art of Living tour will feature two of the oldest properties in town: 45 South Street (1654) and 621 West Street (1771).

The South Street property is commonly accepted as the oldest structure in town. The building once was styled in a typical colonial way with a huge fireplace in the center. The fireplace still remains, but the house has been moved, restyled, and extended over the centuries into a Dutch Gambrel. Only the brick fireplace, visible from the exterior, remains from the original dwelling, so the tour will only present the outside of the home, and (weather permitting) will include spinning demonstrations by a local artist.

The West Street residence represents an example of a former local tavern, once known as the Red Lion. With only minor remodeling over the years, the house retains its conventional Colonial structure with small rooms built around central fireplaces. Lest you miss the sounds of fifes and drums, modern representatives of the Carlisle Colonial Minutemen will be on hand to revive this musical tradition.

Both residences share two facts of historic trivia:

1. moved from original locations across their respective streets

2. once owned by members of the Heald family

Visitors will undoubtedly uncover more interesting facts upon closer examination of these examples of Colonial living.

45 South Street resident names our hometown

When James Adams, also known as Goodman Adams in his time, situated his home and farm in the Northern area of Concord in 1654, he probably couldn't imagine that this would one day become a distinct town. It would be named Carlisle, to honor this first settler's own hometown in Carlisle, Cumberland County, England. Oliver Cromwell banished Adams around 1640 for political reasons.

Adams appears to have been a law-abiding citizen in the New World. He married Priscilla Ramsden of Concord in 1662. Concord records reveal that he contributed to bridge and road repairing expenses. In addition to his farm, he also built a mill located on Spencer Brook Lane (off Russell Street). Historian Martha Fifield Wilkins noted that a stone from the Adams mill served as a monument in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Adams and his wife had eight children, four sons and four daughters. To support his family, he sold an interest in the mill to John Heald II, and then ran the mill jointly with John Heald III. In 1700, Adams sold all his property with remaining interest in the mill to John Heald III, with the provision that he and his wife could continue to live in the dwelling, get food provisions, and receive a decent burial. He died on February 3, 1707. The Heald family took over the property. One of the Heald wives was admired for her excellent spinning. Appropriately, the site will feature a demonstration of spinning by Kerri Piete.

621 West Street welcomes all

Once upon a time, 1771 exactly, Captain John Heald built a home. A big elm stood outside the house with a sign on a low branch that hung over the road. It beckoned travelers to stop at the Red Lion, a tavern with rooms for guests needing a place to sleep overnight. The sign sported a red lioness with a crown, showing allegiance to the English royals.

Heald apparently found the venture profitable, and after the Revolutionary War, he kept up the tavern. He renamed it the Heald Tavern, and had the inflammatory crown on the sign painted over with a more neutral elm tree. Visitors to the site can still discern the imprinted lion shape beneath the fading image of the elm.

Heald family descendants lived in the old tavern until 1924. The structure was relocated across the street out of the beams of annoying headlights in 1934. The original frame and much of the interior detail remains intact, and the tour will feature these details.

On the Art of Living tour in September, you cannot help but dream about past lives. You can stroll through the grounds of 45 South Street and wonder how hard life must have been for the early settler James Adams who lived herehaving had to forsake his own native Carlisle, in England, and bravely establish a home and business in an untamed land.

You can find yourself welcomed at 621 West Streetwhether you are Royal or Colonial, Republican or Democrat. Hospitality is still a very big part of the Art of Living in Carlisle.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito