The Orchard House, owned by Louisa May Alcott, is a historic home on Lexington Road in Concord, Massachusetts. The house was built in 1650 and is most famous for being the setting for Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel Little Women. In the spring of 1858, the Alcotts moved into Orchard House, which included a 12-acre apple orchard in addition to the two-story clapboard farmhouse. The Alcotts named their home “Orchard House” because of the orchard. The Alcotts’ most permanent home was Orchard House, where they lived from 1858 to 1877.
By November 14, 1877, the Alcotts had left Orchard House. In 1884, Orchard House was sold to long-time family friend William Torrey Harris. Harris was unable to spend much time at Orchard House, and it fell into disrepair as a result. Not wanting to see the house demolished, the Alcotts’ next-door neighbor, author Harriett Lothrop, bought it. Lothrop established a house museum with the help of the Concord Women’s Club, which opened to the public in 1911.
With the exception of Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and January 1 and 2, Orchard House is open for guided tours every day. There is a fee for admission. Fortunately, no major structural changes have been made to the house since the Alcotts’ time, and ongoing preservation efforts adhere to the highest standards of authenticity. Approximately 80% of the furnishings on display were the Alcotts which makes the rooms look very much as they did when the family lived here. Visitors often exclaim, “A visit to Orchard House is like a walk through Little Women!
Guided tours introduce visitors to the family members themselves, the household items that meant something to them, their individual and collective accomplishments, and their influence on characters in the beloved novel Little Women. Orchard House has hosted “The Summer Conversational Series” since 1977, carrying on the tradition of Mr. Alcott’s Concord School of Philosophy. Youth programs, poetry readings, historical reenactments, and other special events are also held at the Hillside Chapel on the property grounds.
Looking for more great spots to explore nearby? Check out the GoXplr Massachusetts Map at goxplr.com/map/massachusetts!
- Opened: 1911
- Original function: Longtime home of Amos Bronson Alcott and his family, including his daughter Louisa May Alcott, who wrote and set her novel Little Women there.
- Architect(s): Unknown
- Year added to NRHP: 1966
- NRHP number: 66000781
- Status: Public
- Admission cost: Admission for tours of the home is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $10 for college students, $5 for youth (6-17), and free for children under 6. You can visit the grounds of the home for free.
- Address: 399 Lexington Rd
- Town: Concord
- State: Massachusetts
- GPS: Lat 42.45911 Lng -71.33520
- Parking notes: There are about a dozen free parking spots located right in front of the house. There is a large parking lot located at the corner of Lexington Road and Hawthorne Lane – just a short walk from the home.
- Parking directions: HERE
- Location directions: HERE
External Website: louisamayalcott.org