Concord School of Philosophy, One of the First Adult Schools in the Country

Looking pensive at the Concord School of Philosophy. I deserve a paid modeling job!

Famed author Louisa May Alcott gets a lot of credit for her amazing writing contributions, including her classic novel, Little Women. Well-deserved, of course!

But it’s worth noting that her father, Amos Bronson Alcott, was no schlub either. In 1880, he had the Concord School of Philosophy built on the grounds of their home, the Orchard House.

A progressive educator and philosopher, the elder Alcott had the building constructed as an education center for adults — one of the first such schools in the country. He had previously been holding courses in the study of Orchard House.

According to signage posted on the building, “Mr. Alcott co-founded it with his dear friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, Concord school teacher Franklin Sanborn, and Midwestern educator, William Torrey Harris, the last of whom became the only other owner of Orchard House after the Alcotts, as well as Secretary of Education under four Presidents.”

Originally dubbed “Hillside Chapel,” the rustic, Gothic Revival building hosted school sessions for eight years, only closing its doors to honor the 1888 death of Alcott.

“In 1975, The School was renovated and began to host Orchard House’s Summer Conversational Series and Teacher Workshops,” the sign reads. “Youth educational programs, poetry readings, author events, and musical entertainments have also been presented within to the benefit and delight of local residents and visitors around the world.”

The school and the Orchard House are less than .25 miles from the home of Emerson, which we featured a few weeks ago.

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