From the Revolutionary War to the revolution in American thought under its roof, The Old Manse was the center of Concord’s political, literary, and social zeitgeist for a century.
To visit the Old Manse—a handsome Georgian clapboard built on the banks of the Concord River in 1770—is to re-experience pivotal moments in our nation’s early history. Constructed for patriot minister William Emerson, the upstairs overlooks North Bridge, where the famous battle of April 19, 1775, took place. Later, some of New England’s most esteemed minds found inspiration inside its walls. In the 19th century, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne both called the Manse home for a time: Emerson drafted his influential essay “Nature” in an upstairs study. Meanwhile, Hawthorne and his wife, Sophia, started their married life here; the recreated heirloom vegetable garden was originally planted by Henry David Thoreau in honor of the Hawthornes’ wedding.
Unearthing the rich history of this National Historic Landmark begins with a guided tour. After approaching the rolling fields edged by centuries-old stone walls and exploring the grounds, walk the network of easy footpaths linking the Old Manse to the North Bridge and boathouse on the Concord River. Then head inside, drifting from room to room brimming with antiques and memorabilia reflecting the writers, philosophers, politicians, poets, and artists who helped shape a distinctive American culture. Even now, you can read the poems that the Hawthornes wrote to one another, etched on the home’s window panes.
The Old Manse Bookstore is a specialty bookstore open the same hours as the house. It sells a variety of books about The Trustees of Reservations, The Old Manse, 19th-century Concord authors, American Transcendentalism, women’s history, and the American Revolution.
House tours: Currently unavailable due to COVID-19.
269 Monument Street
Concord, MA 01742
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.
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 Old Manse heirloom apple orchard and riverfront is available for wedding ceremonies only. Ceremonies are limited to 50 people or fewer, and must take place after 5pm. The Old Manse is not available for indoor ceremonies. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to for more information about having your wedding ceremony at the Old Manse.
Free trail map distributed from bulletin board in the parking area. Please understand that supplies periodically run out. We recommend that you take a photo of the map on your phone so you can refer to it during your visit, or download a trail map here, before you head out.
We want you to experience Trustees reservations to their fullest, whether you're spending time with friends and family or seeking quiet time by yourself.
From the Colonial Era to the Modern Movement, our historic homes represent architecture, design, and history that spans more than 300 years.
Trustees properties—rich in cultural, historical, and natural substance—provide platforms for inspiration and meaning.
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.
"We ‘re local but had never visited before. So glad we took visiting family here. It was interesting to hear how the house was part of local and American history."
– LJSC61, Trip Advisor
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