Somehow this post title doesn’t have the same stirring ring to it as “one if by land, and two if by sea”, but the Old North Church in Boston is changing with the times. This article greeted me this morning as I was preparing to start my day.
LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are energy-efficient lights and are being used to illuminate the vaults inside the church which dates back to 1723. The church steeple was used to display two lanterns as a signal about British troop movements on April 18, 1775, and is aptly described in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous--- if not somewhat inaccurate poem--- which included the line: “One if by land, and two if by sea.”
So, what’s so important about April 18, 1775? On that evening church sexton, Robert Newman, climbed the steeple and held high two lanterns to signal Paul Revere, William Dawes, and the other midnight riders that the British were marching to Lexington and Concord by sea and not by land.
What followed is commonly referred to as the 'shot heard round the world'.
While the installation has been done with historic sensitivity, and while it is as one visitor remarked no different than updating a building with air conditioning or running water it is a little sad that eventually the steeple’s compact fluorescents will be replaced with LEDs.
It might be a little interesting, however, to tie in the concept of historic preservation with the march of time and technology when studying Lexington and Concord.
My links to Paul Revere and the ‘shot heard round the word’ are from the site
Archiving Early America which has a few slideshows that could be useful to introduce a topic, review a topic, or for small group and individual use.