The Wayside in Concord, Massachusetts, a National Historic Landmark, was
lived in by three American literary figures: Louisa May Alcott, Margaret
Sidney and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter,
The House of the Seven Gables, and the short story collections;
Mosses from an Old Manse and Twice-Told Tales lived here
from 1852 until 1870 and gave it the name by which it is still known.
While The Wayside is best known as the only home Hawthorne ever owned
and the place where he wrote his last works, it has also been the home
of several noteworthy women. The Wayside, called "Hillside" by the Alcott
family, was one the childhood homes of Louisa May Alcott, the author of
the 1868 classic Little Women. Louisa lived here with her parents
and three sisters from April 1845 to November 1848 during her early teenage
years. The Wayside barn, which today serves as a Visitor Center and exhibit
area, was used by the Alcott girls to stage the plays that were created
when they lived at "Hillside"; including "Roderigo" from Little Women.
The Wayside exhibit and tour make note of the many events that occurred
at "Hillside" that are recalled in Little Women; as well as real
life experiences that the Alcott family had here, such as their sheltering
of a fugitive slave in early 1847. Mrs. Alcott's family included Judge
Samuel Sewall, who wrote an early anti-slavery tract, "The Selling
of Joseph" in 1700, and her brother, Samuel J. May was a founder
of The American Anti-Slavery Society and a conductor on the Underground
Railroad in Syracuse, New York.
Photo from Naitonal Park Service digital archives
The Wayside, now part of Minute Man National Historical Park, also
pays tribute to the lives of several other significant women. Their
stories are included in our Places
Where Women Made History travel itinerary.
The Wayside, administered by the National Park Service, is located
at 455 Lexington Road, Concord, MA, within the Minuteman National Historical
Park, one mile east of Concord's Monument Square. For more information,
call 978-369-6975, or click here.
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