The Blue Anchor Tavern

In the eighteenth century, the Blue Anchor Tavern was a popular watering hole where citizens came to discuss politics.

In October of 1777, the British General, John Burgoyne and his 5,700-man column were surrounded by Continental Forces near Saratoga, New York. As a condition of the settlement terms, these soldiers, a mix of British and hired German troops known as Hessians, would be marched to Cambridge where they were held as prisoners of war.

However, their arrival presented a complicated situation. Although Cambridge saw little battle within its borders, it experienced an overwhelming economic devastation. The Convention Troops, as Burgoyne’s troops were called, were the second military group brought to Cambridge during the Revolution. Cambridge citizens considered these soldiers the “enemy.” Thus, when asked to quarter them in their very own homes, they simply refused. The question of where to lodge these soldiers became pressing and as Cantabridgians made no effort to hide their animosity towards the incoming British forces. The British officials were horrified by the arrangements made for them when even the highest-ranking officers were left temporarily homeless. General Burgoyne was compelled to be a boarder at the Blue Anchor Tavern until he was able to convince the Cambridge leadership to move him into the Apthorp House, a mansion known for its opulence. However, after moving into the Apthorp House, he was forced to purchase his all own furniture and pay rent to the patriots.


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