Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, Concord

4.7
#4 of 17 in Things to do in Concord
Orchard House is a historic house museum in Concord, Massachusetts, USA. It was the longtime home of Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888) and his family, including his daughter Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) who wrote and set her novel Little Women (1868–69) there.HistoryThe Alcotts had first moved to Concord in 1840, although they left in 1843 to start Fruitlands, a utopian agrarian commune in nearby Harvard. The family returned in 1845 and purchased a house named "Hillside", but left again in 1852, selling to Nathaniel Hawthorne who renamed it The Wayside.The Alcotts returned to Concord once again in 1857. They moved into Orchard House, which was then two-story clapboard farmhouse, in the spring of 1858. At the time of purchase the site included two early eighteenth-century houses on a 12-acre (49,000m2) apple orchard. Consequently, the Alcotts named it Orchard House. "'Tis a pretty retreat", Bronson Alcott wrote soon after moving in, "and ours; a family mansion to take pride in, rescued as it is from deformity and disgrace".A. Bronson Alcott made significant changes to the building. He installed alcoves for busts retrieved from his failed Temple School, repaired the staircase, installed bookcases, constructed a back studio for his youngest daughter May's artwork, and installed a rustic fence around the property. He also moved a smaller tenant house to adjoin the rear of the main house, making a single larger structure. While the home was being renovated, the family rented rooms next door at The Wayside while the Hawthornes were living in England. Later, Lydia Maria Child visited the house and recorded her thoughts: "The result is a house full of queer nooks and corners and all manner of juttings in and out. It seems as if the spirit of some old architect had brought it from the Middle Ages and dropped it down in Concord... The whole house leaves a general impression of harmony, of a medieval sort".
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Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House Reviews
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  • This is a guided tour. Interesting tour with information on the whole Alcott family. Louisa wrote "Little Women" here.  more »
  • Called in hear at the request of my sister in law, who is a huge Little Women fan, with very little personal knowledge of the book myself. An hour and a half later, almost an expert. The tour was well...  more »
  • Despite the overcrowded room in which we watch the outdated introduction video, nothing could diminish the tour we had with the wonderful and sympathetic guide who painted a vivid picture of the lives...  more »
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  • Concord is the home of a few of our best known writes and this museum talks about their history and a little about how they knew each other. I learned this in American literature classes, but it means more when you see it first hand.
  • Interesting Tour. Sagging house. The Alcotts were influential and connected people. It is intriguing to see how little the desk is on which Louisa wrote "Little Women". Little little little. Her father's school of Philosophy is next door to the orchard house.
  • Beautiful house. Didn't get inside... got there too late
  • I visited The Orchard House on 12/18/16 with a ten year old girl who had done a small school project on Louise May Alcott. She brought the doll she had made with her Grandmother that was the likeness of Louise May. The staff was unbelievable to us both. We were transformed back in time to Louise's day. The education and realness was unique. Our little girl was allowed to bring her doll in privately to show and have pictures taken with the woman who portrayed Louise May. It was awesome and something I hope she will never forget. I hope we get the pictures soon. Thank you especially to Lis and the rest of the staff as well as the re-enactors for their time and professionalism. We will come back again with other family members next year. MERRY CHRISTMAS Bobby Brooks Leicester, MA
  • Interesting history, meticulously kept up, almost entirely original. They had connections to all the locals of the time, Thoreau, Emerson, as well as the construction of the Lincoln memorial!

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