Talk about a writer’s retreat. Located in Concord, Mass., The Wayside is the only National Historic Landmark that has been home to three literary families.
Built in the 1770s, several families lived here, before its occupants took a more creative turn.
The Alcotts — yes, those Alcotts — called the Wayside home from 1845-1852. Many of the sisterly shenanigans written about in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women went on in this house, which the family called “Hillside.”
During the 1840s, the Alcotts helped at least one runaway slave escape, which also has landed The Waysite home a place on the National Railroad Network to Freedom.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, House of the Seven Gables and more, lived here with his family from 1852-1869. It was the Hawthorne family who dubbed it “The Wayside.”
Its third writer, Harriet Lothrop, was a children’s author and created the Five Little Peppers series (published 1881-1916) under the pen name Margaret Sidney. She and her daughter, Margaret Lothrop, lived in the Wayside from 1883-1965, making sure it was preserved. In 1965, it became part of the history-rich Minute Man Historic National Park.
Prior to the writers living here, The Wayside was a witness house to the British soldiers marching in and out of Concord on April 19, 1775, during precursor events of the Revolutionary War.
The house is close neighbors with both the Orchard House (linked above), and the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson.