Marcos Gonzalez

Marcos Gonzalez

Hello again!

The area today known as Concord was once owned by the Pennacook Native Americans who named the area Musketaquid—Algonquin for “grassy plain.” The highly productive soils are due, in no small part, to the confluence of the Assabet and Sudbury rivers, forming the Concord River near the center of town. The rich soils, close access to water, and the relatively level terrain has allowed for continual human settlement and subsequent farming for thousands of years. It was no doubt these features that first drew the Massachusetts Bay colonists to Musketaquid, as they scouted new lands for settlement.

By the time the events of April 19th, 1775 occurred, the colonists at Concord had greatly altered the surrounding landscape over the previous 140 years. Parcels of land were surveyed, subdivided, and cleared for cultivation. Most of the original forests had been cut down to make way for additional fields, as building materials for new houses and as fuel for heating and cooking needs. Today, many of these historic fields are still visible; their boundaries clearly marked by those classic New England stone walls, old farm paths, and rustic ox bridges—each a testament to the agrarian way of life that dominated the small subsistence holdings throughout the area.

Keep in mind, we are a very short 18 miles from the center of Boston, and while the majority of the landscape outside the park is a patchwork of affluent suburban neighborhoods, small scale farming is clearly still a part of the social fabric of the area. With Minute Man National Historic Park neatly situated amongst these communities, that strong agricultural heritage is reflected in the park’s roughly 100 acres of designated historic farm fields— some still worked as the Pennacook and English did almost 400 years ago.

This summer I will be working on a Cultural Landscape Report as well as an updated Agricultural Management Plan. Both will focus on the historic agricultural fields currently under cultivation as well as those which have been lost, but still show promise for future use. I will be inventorying the agricultural land, assessing the current conditions, determine their fertility potential, and help develop recommendations on how to improve them even further. Graphically, I will be compiling that information into a series of maps to better illustrate the findings. I have been using the last couple of weeks to pour over the mountain of background information, but I feel confident I will be up to speed in no time and moving on to gathering data and compiling my findings.  

Until the next time!

Marcos Gonzalez  

Thursday, 06 June 2019 12:32

A Road Well Travelled

Hello!

I am going to be working as a Resource Management Assistant at Minute Man National Historic Park in Concord, Massachusetts this summer. Located sixteen miles west of Boston, Minute Man National Historic Park spans three towns- Concord, Lincoln, and Lexington- and covers 1,038 acres. Established in 1959, the park encapsulates much of the original route the British troops used to march from Boston to Concord, culminating in a series of running battles on April 19th, 1775, which proved to be the opening of the Revolutionary War.

What has really struck me so far, is how old some of these sites are! This land was originally part of the Pennacook territory- an Algonquin speaking Native American Nation, who controlled an area from present-day southern Maine, through New Hampshire and south to northeastern Massachusetts. The Pennacook were decimated by a small pox epidemic in the early 1600s – a fate suffered most by the coastal nations prior to the permanent settlement of European colonist from England beginning in 1620. In 1635, the English negotiated the acquisition of a six-mile square parcel of land known as Musketaquid. Promptly renamed Concord, the farming community became the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s first inland settlement. As for the Pennacook, those who managed to survive further outbreaks of disease and most notably King Phillips War (1675-78) were forced to move north to Canada, or west to upstate New York.

By 1775, this region had been settled by the English Puritans for over 140 years. The park also maintains and interprets homes along the route known as “witness structures”- so called because they were there when the British troops marched past in 1775. The landscape is highly picturesque, with a series of rolling meadows, dense woodland, small farms, winding roads flanked by typical New England stone walls. The blending of the past and present- with the historic sites existing right alongside the everyday bustle of a very modern Concord- holds a certain charm unique to New England.

A unique challenge faced by the park is road congestion. Massachusetts Rt. 2A was built along several sections of the original “Battle Road” and now is a major east/west though fare for commuters headed in and out of Boston. Additionally, Rt. 2A is a major access point for Hanscom Air Force Base. I have observed a kind of ebb and flow of traffic each morning and evening along this historic corridor, Monday thru Friday, like clockwork. While vehicle traffic is part of modern life, especially in Boston, I found it unique that the park is challenged with preserving the integrity of the historic landscapes, really enabling visitors to feel fully immersed, while at the same time trying to mitigate the steady flow of commuters through the park, not necessarily here for the history.

Until the next time!

Marcos Gonzalez  

Wednesday, 15 May 2019 14:37

Marcos Gonzalez

Hello! I am originally from Jacksonville, FL. I am a member of the graduating class of 2013 from the United States Coast Guard Academy, located in New London, Connecticut. I completed five years of active duty service in the US Coast Guard where I was stationed in Portsmouth, Virginia and Kings Bay, Georgia. I met my wife, Rachel B. Gonzalez, senior year at the academy and we were married in 2016. In summer of 2018, I left the service and we moved to Springfield, Massachusetts so I could attend graduate school at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I recently completed my first year of studies in Landscape Architecture. I enjoy cycling, skiing, hiking and all things history and politics.