The Red Lion Inn Tavern Sign – A Palimpsest

This sign originally hung in front of the Red Lion Inn Tavern, built by Captain John Heald in 1771, which stood on the west side of what was then Groton Road and is now West Street, when that portion of Carlisle was part of Concord. It is thought to have functioned as a tavern until the advent of automobiles at the end of the 19th century. In the winter of 1934-5, the building was moved across the street, where it now stands, a privately owned dwelling.

The sign, painted on a single wide board, originally showed a crowned lion rampant, but at some point- probably near the beginning of the Revolutionary War in 1775 – the lion, being a symbol of England, was scrubbed off, and an elm tree painted over it, and the tavern was rechristened the Liberty Tree Tavern. Nevertheless, on the sign the lion is still quite visible (Can you see it?), presumably because the paint protected the wood underneath while the unpainted surround was left to weather. This is a palimpsest, a word formed from the Greek words meaning to scratch again, first applied to wax tablets used by the Romans for writing.

This sign was on loan to the Historical Society through the courtesy of Janet Lovejoy and her daughter Hillary.

Historical Guide To Carlisle – Interactive Map

David Jiang, is a Carlisle Boy Scout Troop 135 Eagle Scout candidate.  For his 2016 Eagle Project, David has created a interactive map of fifty historical Carlisle sites based on research done by the Bicentennial Commission in 1975.  The map’s interactive links provide historical background and photographs these historical treasures.

My hope for this map is to create a simple and accessible way for everyone to learn about the past that defined the town we live in. From colonial homesites of minutemen from centuries past, to the ancient foundations of what were once grist mills, mines, or schoolhouses, each one of these sites represented an important aspect of life in the past that molded who we are in the present. Even though many of these sites have long disappeared, I hope everyone: from longtime residents of Carlisle to newcomers, grade schoolers to the very old, will be able to learn something new or reconnect with our town’s extraordinarily rich yet overlooked past. I wish to ignite a renewal of appreciation and interest in our past, and encourage everyone seek out their own discoveries, as this project is only a beginning. 

David Jiang


Family: Kathy Guo, Liang Yuan, Yiming Yang, Walter Yang

Carlisle Troop 135 Volunteers: Daniel Jiang, Rowan O’Connor, Aidan O’Connor, Jacob Burke, Matthew Roberts, Tanner Bucklew, William Chaffin, Matthew Li, Aaron Gao, Joshua Sun

Other Volunteers: Philip Drew, Nick Chase, Alejandro Cancio (Troop 132 Concord), Deb Burke, Blake Wesel, Caitlin O’Connor, Dawn Buckelew, Jic Davis