Concord Massachusetts Driving Tour
A short drive takes visitors to several sites related to early American history from the confrontation between Patriot militia and British regulars to sites in downtown Concord and Walden Pond.
Spanning nearly 30 acres, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum features contemporary art and sculptures in a beautiful, scenic park setting. The largest park of its kind in New England, the sculpture park and museum provides “a constantly changing landscape of large-scale, outdoor, modern and contemporary sculpture and site-specific installations.” At any time, guests are treated to more than 60 works hosted by the Park. Most of the works are on loan to the Museum. In addition, the sculpture park and museum hosts lectures, discussions, readings, book and film series, art tastings, performances, studio workshops, family programs, summer camps, and school/group visits.
German-born architect Walter Gropius built this Lincoln, Massachusetts home in 1938 and lived here until his death in 1969. Gropius was the first director of the Bauhaus and a major influence in modern architecture. The home is owned by Historic New England and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours of the home are available and includes the largest collection of Bauhaus-related sources outside of Germany.
Walden Pond is known as the home to the renowned author, Henry David Thoreau. Walden Pond State Reservation contains approximately 335 acres of protected open space which is managed by Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Forests and Parks system. Visitors head to Walden Pond to partake in the park’s hiking, swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and crossing country skiing activities as well as to learn more about life and achievements of author Henry David Thoreau.
This marker designates the location of the home of Brister Freeman, an African American man who was enslaved to the Cuming family of Concord and served in the Continental Army in the American Revolution. After his discharge, Freeman was awarded freedom papers and marked the change of status by adopting the surname of Freeman. In the 1790s, Freeman purchased land in the Walden Woods, which was home to a small community of formerly enslaved people. Freeman lived in the woods until his death in 1822. While his house has been lost to time, the site of the home is marked by a plaque on the east side of Walden Street just north of Route 2.
On July 23, 1846, Henry David Thoreau was jailed for refusing to pay his poll tax as a protest against the U.S. war with Mexico and the expansion of slavery into the West. Although he was released the following day when his family paid his fine, his action inspired his most influential essay, “Civil Disobedience.” The jail itself was later demolished, but the site is marked by a plaque mounted on a stone behind the town’s war memorials.
Wright's Tavern was built in 1747 by Ephraim Jones. Jones operated the tavern until 1751 and twenty three years later, it was the site of the first meeting of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. In April 1775, the tavern was the assembly point for Concord's Minutemen before the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The building has been well-preserved since the colonial period and is historically significant given the building's association with the Battle of Lexington and Concord at the start of the American Revolution.
This house was purchased by writer, poet, and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) in 1835. It was where he wrote all of his major works, and was a major meeting point for Transcendentalists, including Bronson Alcott and Henry David Thoreau. It has been a house museum since 1930.
For well over a century, this museum has offered exhibits that connect residents and visitors to the history of Concord. The museum dates back to a local resident who collected artifacts and histories. This collection soon became a regular museum operated by the Concord Antiquarian Society. The museum offers an impressive collection of items from the colonial period and early 19th century in addition to artifacts and collections related to early businesses, military history, women, and local culture and art.
This early 18th-century house was the longtime home of Transcendentalist Amos Bronson Alcott (1799- 1888). His daughter, writer Louisa May Alcott, wrote the novel Little Women here after her family sold the nearby house known today as the Wayside to author Nathaniel Hawthorne. The historic home is now a house museum dedicated to Alcott's life and work.
The Wayside is a historic Concord house that was briefly the home of Louisa May Alcott and her family during her childhood and inspired many of the scenes she later depicted in her novel "Little Women." For a longer period, it was the home of another significant literary figure, Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of "The Scarlet Letter," and his family. Later, it was the home of Margaret Sidney, a children's author. Alcott's family housed an escaped enslaved man during their time here and their extended family included many abolitionists, including Judge Samuel Sewall who wrote an early anti-slavery tract called "The Selling of Joseph." Alcott's brother Samuel J. May was also a founding member of an abolitionist site as well as a conductor on the Underground Railroad.
Minute Man National Historical Park is home to Concord's North Bridge, where colonial Patriots fired on British regulars in the first deliberate skirmish of the Revolutionary War. The site is also home to the Wayside which was the home of several famous authors. The park is operated by the National Park Service. The park offers two visitor's centers, living history programs in the summer and early fall, and the "Battle Road Trail" which connects Lexington and Concord.