The current bridge is located in its original location off Monument Street in Concord, Massachusetts. It spans the Concord River 0.5 miles northeast from the start of the river at the confluence of the Assabet River and the Sudbury River at Egg Rock.
In 1775, five companies of Minutemen and five of non-Minuteman militia occupied a hill near the bridge with groups of other men streaming in, totaling about 400 against the British light infantry companies from the 4th, 10th, and 43rd Regiments of Foot under Captain Walter Laurie, a force totaling about 90-95 men. The British retreated across the river and the two sides faced each other across the North Bridge.
A brief exchange of fire ensued which saw the first instance of Americans firing to deadly effect on British regulars, after which the British retreated. Ralph Waldo Emerson, positing that world history pivoted at that moment (an assertion that is disputed, as earlier events at Lexington Battle Green could be termed the true opening of the battle), called the first shot of this skirmish the "shot heard round the world" in his 1837 poem "Concord Hymn".
The original North Bridge was dismantled in 1793 by the town of Concord because its use as a bridge had become impractical; a new bridge was erected a few hundred yards away. The bridge was rebuilt multiple times in 1875, 1889, and 1909. The current replica was built in 1956 and was based on drawings of the bridge built in the 1760s. The bridge was restored in 2005.
In 1836, when there was no bridge at the site, the residents of Concord erected a memorial obelisk on the east side of the river, the side closest to the town center. Inscribed on the eastern (approach) side of the monument is: "HERE On the 19 of April, 1775, was made the first forcible resistance to British aggression On the opposite Bank stood the American Militia Here stood the Invading Army and on this spot the first of the Enemy fell in the War of that Revolution which gave Independence to these United States In gratitude to GOD and In the love of Freedom this Monument was erected AD. 1836."