The first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired nearby – and, less than a century later, Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau spawned a revolution in American philosophy from here.
What makes the Old Manse a special place?
Built in 1770 for patriot minister William Emerson, The Old Manse, a National Historic Landmark, became the center of Concord’s political, literary, and social revolutions over the course of the next century. In the mid-19th-century, leading Transcendentalists such as Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller discussed the issues of the day here, with the Hawthorne and Ripley families.
A handsome Georgian clapboard building, The Old Manse sits near the banks of the Concord River among rolling fields edged by centuries-old stone walls and graced by an orchard. From upstairs, you can look out over the North Bridge, where the famous battle of April 19, 1775, took place. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne both called the Manse home for a time – and each found inspiration here. Emerson would draft his famous essay “Nature” from an upstairs room, and Hawthorne would write a tribute to the homestead called Mosses from an Old Manse. Hawthorne and his wife, Sophia, started their married life here, and you can still see the poems they wrote to each other, etched on the Manse’s window panes. The heirloom vegetable garden, which has been recreated today, was originally planted by Henry David Thoreau in honor of the Hawthornes’ wedding.
The stone boathouse provides access for canoeists boating along the Concord River. Canoe launching is not allowed from the Old Manse but canoes are allowed to tie up if visiting the grounds and the house.
New Visitor Center in the Works
Exciting news: The Trustees has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant in the amount of $450,000, which will help fund the construction of a Welcome Center here at The Old Manse. This past summer, The Trustees also secured funding support through a $500,000 Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund grant.
Once funding for the entire project is complete, we plan to build a Welcome Center on the foundations of an 18th-century barn, built to the same scale, which stood on the property between 1774 and 1924. The new Welcome Center will help us expand indoor tours, interactive programs, exhibits, events and visitor amenities. The new space will include interpretive display areas, programming and workshop space, visitor restrooms, seating and food service, staff office space, and space for private and public events.
The Old Manse does not have public bathroom facilities; however bathrooms are available at the National Park Service parking area less than .25 mile from The Old Manse.
The grounds are open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. A short network of footpaths connects the Old Manse to the North Bridge and boathouse on the Concord River. Easy walking.
The Old Manse is a National Historic Landmark and a link in the Bay Circuit Trail.
Tours, Programs, and Events at the Old Manse
To see hours and tour schedule, click on "Admissions" tab on left. To see more information on programs and events, click on "Programs" tab on left.
The Old Manse Bookstore
This specialty bookstore is open the same hours as the house (see "Admissions" tab on left).
It sells current and classic volumes which inform visitors about The Trustees of Reservations, The Old Manse, 19th-century Concord authors, American Transcendentalism, women's history, and the American Revolution. The store is a perfect place to browse, and it also sells assorted souvenirs such as postcards and t-shirts. Trustees members receive a 10% discount on all merchandise (except rare books).
The Trustees reserves the right to photograph or video visitors and program participants for promotional use, and usage of our properties implies consent. Find the full policy here.
269 Monument Street
Concord, MA 01742
Please direct all mail to:
The Old Manse
PO Box 572
Concord, MA 01772
Get directions on Google Maps.
From Points East: Take Rt. 2 West. Where Rt. 2 takes sharp left, continue straight onto Cambridge Turnpike. At end, turn left onto Lexington Rd. to Concord Center. Turn right to take Monument St. north 0.5 mi.
From Points West: Take Rt. 2 East. At Concord Rotary, take 3rd exit onto Barretts Mill Rd. for 2 mi. Turn right at Lowell Rd. for 1 mi. Take 3rd left onto Bow St., then left onto Monument St. Entrance and parking on left just before North Bridge.
WHEN TO VISIT
Grounds: Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset.
Saturdays & Sundays, March 16–April 19 | 12Noon–5PM
Tuesdays–Sundays, April 19–October 31 | 12Noon–5PM
Saturdays & Sundays, November 1–December 29 | 12Noon–5PM
Monday, May 25 | 12Noon–5PM (other Mondays by appointment)
Pre-booked, by prior appointment tours are available year-round, seven days a week.
The Old Manse Specialty Bookstore is open for business from 12Noon–5PM when the house is open, and by prior appointment also.
Please call 978.369.3909 for more details when planning your visit.
House tours: Members FREE. Nonmembers: Adult $10; Child (6-12) $5; Senior $9; Student (with valid ID) $9; Family (2 adults and up to 3 minor children) $25 (25% savings). Group tours by prior appointment (min. of 10 people): $6 per person.
Built in 1770 for patriot minister William Emerson, the Old Manse became the center of Concord’s political, literary, and social revolutions over the course of the next century. The iconic house overlooks the North Bridge where the famous battle of April 19, 1775 took place, triggering the Revolutionary War.
In the mid-19th-century, leading Transcendentalists such as Bronson Alcott , Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller discussed the issues of the day here, with the Hawthorne and Ripley families.
Property Acquisition History
Purchased in 1939.
Archival material related to the Old Manse is available to researchers at the Archives & Research Center in Sharon, Massachusetts.
The Old Manse Manuscripts (24.5 linear feet)
The Old Manse Manuscripts document the lives of the families who inhabited the Old Manse from its construction in 1770 until the time that The Trustees of Reservations purchased the house from the estate of Sarah Ripley Thayer Ames (1874-1939) in 1939.
The Archives & Research Center welcomes donations of documents, manuscripts, records, photographs, maps and memorabilia that pertain to a particular property. Please contact us at 781.784.8200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to our regular guided tours (see "Admissions" tab on left), you can enjoy a variety of special events through the year. For details on the events below, as well as other programs and activities in the Greater Boston region, check our events calendar.
Henry David Thoreau presented this vegetable garden to Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne when they moved into The Old Manse on their wedding day, July 9, 1842. The Trustees and Gaining Ground, a local nonprofit organization that grows organic produce for hunger relief, have collaborated to recreate this historically significant plot. With reference to contemporary garden journals and historic photographs, Gaining Ground and the Trustees have planted the Thoreau Garden with heirloom varieties of vegetables and flora. These seeds were cultivated from local staples employed over many generations in New England farms, smallholdings and gardens, before the onset of large-scale agriculture.
Since 1891, The Trustees of Reservations have worked to protect special places in Massachusetts and maintain them to the highest standards. To ensure these standards are met, a program of careful planning and sound management is essential. Comprehensive property management plans are created for each reservation and are completely updated approximately every ten years. We often work with volunteers, property users, and members of the community to carry out this planning, which typically involves several steps:
You can download a watercolor map of the house and ground before you visit.
Weddings and Events
The beautiful and historic Old Manse grounds are available to rent to hold wedding and other events. Please contact Diann Strausberg at 978.369.3909 for rates and further information.
The Old Manse is open for tours, programs and events throughout the year. Please see our Programs tab for more information on tours and upcoming events. The landscape and grounds are free to visit and open daily from sunrise to sunset, year-round.
The Friends of Minuteman National Park
Before You Go
We encourage you to visit as many Trustees properties as you can.
Wherever your travels take you, please observe all posted regulations, follow special instructions from property staff, and keep in mind the Stewardship Code:
Click on links below for further visitor information:
Before Setting Out
We’d love to hear about your visit! Here are three easy ways to let us know what you think:
The Meeting House, by Sam Durant
July 15-October 31, 2016
With his multi-part art installation—the first in The Trustees Art & the Landscape initiative—artist Sam Durant seeks to reactivate The Old Manse as a setting for critical dialogues about race and social justice.
Meeting House Lyceums
Engage with The Meeting House in these free public discussions:
A New Framework for Dialogue
New England Town Hall Meeting
Our challenge to get out and hit the trails. Hike 125 miles between May 21 & December 31 and be entered to win prizes.
Let's get hiking >>
You Can Tour Nine Historic Properties for Free
Apr 26 – Boston Magazine
Trustees aim to entice visitors by enlivening historic sites
May 26 – Boston Globe
Boston Strong: Tough Ruckers
Apr 16 – Chronicle