Concord is situated on the Concord River about 22 miles northwest of Boston. It was incorporated in 1635.
Today Concord is a high-income suburb of Boston with a population of about 17,000 (1990).
Concord has many old houses, some of which are open to the public as memorials to noted occupants, notably the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson,
the educational and social reformer Bronson Alcott and his daughter, the writer Louisa May Alcott,
the novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the author Henry David Thoreau.
The Battles of Concord and Lexington on April 19th, 1775, marked the beginning of the American Revolution. After the passage of the Intolerable Acts (1774)
by the British Parliament, unrest in the colonies increased. A column of Royal infantry from Boston was sent to Concord to capture colonial military stores.
News of this plan was brought to the countryside by Paul Revere (see Revere Beach), William Dawes, and Samuel Prescott.
While Revere was captured by the British and Dawes managed to escape but had to turn back, Prescott finally reached Concord.
The British troops met a group of militia (the so-called "Minute Men") at Lexington where the first shots were exchanged. At Concord the met with fierce resistance
and had to withdraw hurriedly to Boston, which caused them more than 200 casualities. April 19 is celebrated as "Patriots Day" in Massachusetts.
Minute Man National Historical Park was created in 1959 and protects significant historic sights, structures and ladscapes associated with the opening battles
of the American Revolution. The park covers an area of 900 acres of land winding along the original segments of the battle road.
The Minute Man Monument [left] was created by Daniel Chester French and is located at the
Old North Bridge at Concord where the first shots of the Battle of Concord fell. "The shot heard around the world" was made immortal by Emerson's poem "A Concord Hymn".
The monument was unveiled on April 19, 1875.
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) was born in Concord. He wrote his probably most famous book, "Walden" (published 1854), in a
small, self-built cabin on the shore of Walden Pond where he remained for two years living in near-solitude.
Glass no. 2450 [left] shows the
home of Louisa May Alcott. Louisa was born on November 29, 1832, in Germantown, which is currently part of
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The family moved to Boston in 1834 or 1835, where her father established an
experimental school and joined the Transcendental Club with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. During her childhood and early adulthood, she shared
her family's poverty and Transcendentalist ideals. In 1840, after several setbacks with the school, her family moved to a cottage on two acres along the
Sudbury River in Concord. The Alcott family moved to the Utopian Fruitlands community for a brief interval in 1843–1844 and then, after its collapse, to
rented rooms and finally to a house in Concord purchased with her mother's inheritance and help from Emerson. Louisa May Alcott's overwhelming success dated
from the appearance of the first part of Little Women: or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, (1868) a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood years with her
sisters in Concord. In her later life, Alcott became an advocate of women's suffrage and was the first woman to register to vote in Concord in a school board election.
Despite worsening health, Alcott wrote through the rest of her life, finally succumbing to the after-effects of mercury poisoning contracted during her American
Civil War service: she had received calomel treatments for the effects of typhoid. She died in Boston on March 6, 1888 at age 55.
Built in 1770 for patriot minister William Emerson, father of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Old Manse [left],
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 one 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.