Letter: Concord’s history is more complex than signs showed 

February 19, 2024

Concord, one of the most historic communities in America, should not be promulgating questionable, biased stories about its founding and history. We know a meeting occurred between the Indigenous people and the settlers to “purchase” the land now occupied by Concord. This event may have taken place under a tree and possibly on the site where the marker once stood. There seems to be little and conflicting evidence to verify the specifics of the meeting. Even if we had such irrefutable evidence it is not the most important aspect of Concord’s founding story. At its core is the complex relationship between the Indigenous population and the settlers. 

Telling such complex stories is challenging, with subtle aspects that defy presentation on a sign of any reasonable dimension. Often, revisions are required as new evidence and research tells us more. In addition we should not add to the plethora of signs that already exist for many reasons throughout the town. Instead, I suggest that we move to markers with QR codes that link to information through a phone or other electronic device. The use of such codes is rapidly becoming a standard at many historic sites and museums. For those unable to access information in this manner, a brochure could be made available at sites throughout the town. This system would allow for more depth of interpretation, the ability to easily update the text based on new research and eventually provide links to resources at the library, museum and national park. It would also make learning about Concord’s rich history more interesting and informative for citizens as well as visitors. 

The Jethro’s Tree marker should have been removed long ago. 

Dennis Fiori 

President emeritus, Massachusetts Historical Society 

Strawberry Hill Road