CHAPTER 215, ACTS OF 1929
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH IN THE TOWN OF LEXINGTON
REPRESENTATIVE TOWN GOVERNMENT BY LIMITED TOWN MEETINGS
(As amended by Ch. 381, Acts of 1954; Ch. 442, Acts of 1956; Ch. 18, Acts of 1959; Ch. 179, Acts of 1978; Ch. 132, Acts of 1989; and Ch. 158, Acts of 1992; Ch. 101, Acts of 2008; and Ch. 108, Acts of 2008)
On November 4, 1929, Lexington voted to become one of the first communities to adopt the representative form of town meeting and moved away from open town meetings. With this change, voters elect town meeting members to represent them in performing the legislative duties of local municipal government.
This culminated a multi-year effort to plan for this transition which included the construction of the Cary Memorial Building. In the initial dedication of the Cary Memorial Building and the formal transfer of the building through the Selectmen to the inhabitants of Lexington on October 18, 1928, Robert Clapp, President of the Board of Trustees declared “[h]ere will sit and vote duly chosen town-meeting members.”
Clapp wistfully spoke of the loss of tradition and his hopes that not only would “all citizens of the town will be permitted to come” to these spacious galleries, but that they be allowed to participate and not remain mere spectators.
Today, representative town meeting in Lexington is a treasured institution and we are comforted that system devised is effective in expressing popular will and imbues a strong sense of civic responsibility throughout the community.
The current revised act is available here (not yet updated with the changes from Ch. 3, Acts of 2020 which changed Selectmen to Select Board).
The original 1929 act is available from the Commonwealth’s Archives.
Some text drawn from my remarks on 10/24/2105 at the re-dedication of the Cary Memorial Building.