Orchard House

Orchard House is a historic house museum in Concord, Massachusetts, US. 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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399 Lexington Rd
Concord, MA
01742

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