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Hawthorne at Salem

Buildings & Houses

The Wayside

The Wayside: Introduction

Exterior view of The Wayside
Exterior view of The Wayside
 
In June 1852, Hawthorne and his family moved from the home of Horace Mann in West Newton, MA into the only house they ever owned, the Wayside in Concord. Hawthorne purchased the house and eight acres of land on the other side of the road from Bronson Alcott for $1,500. Alcott had named the house Hillside when he purchased it in 1845 because it sat at the foot of a hill. Hawthorne renamed the house the Wayside commemorating its location on the road on which the British marched from Lexington to Concord in 1775.
The frame house was undistinguished architecturally and much too small for his family of five. At the time Hawthorne lived there the house had no porches or central entrance and was painted "a rusty olive hue."

Soon after he moved into The Wayside, Hawthorne's sister, Louisa, died when travelling to Concord by way of New York on the ship Henry Clay. A fire broke out on the ship, and in Louisa drowned when she apparently jumped into the Hudson River. On hearing the news three days later on July 30, Hawthorne reportedly went to his study and then walked on the larch path behind the house.

While living at the Wayside, Hawthorne published Blithedale Romance, finished his biography of Franklin Pierce, and began "Tanglewood Tales." In July 1853, Hawthorne and his family left the Wayside for Liverpool, England, where Hawthorne worked as Consul, having been appointed by his college friend and now President, Franklin Pierce. After living and travelling in Europe for several years, Hawthorne and his family returned to America and the Wayside in 1860.

In July, 1862, Hawthorne published "Chiefly About War Matters By a Peaceable Man," an essay on the Civil War, which reports on his visit with Lincoln in Washington, D.C.

Literature Related to The Wayside

Exterior view of The Wayside
Exterior view of The Wayside
 
  • The Blithedale Romance 
    Hawthore published this novel in July, 1852, shortly after moving to the Wayside. 
     
  • The Life of Franklin Pierce 
    In August of 1852, soon after moving to The Wayside, Hawthorne completed the biography, The Life of Franklin Pierce. Much of the biography is devoted to sections from Pierce's Mexican War journal.
  • "Septimius Felton" Hawthorne's unfinished work "Septimius Felton" features a character inspired by the man who inherited The Wayside a generation before Hawthorne who believed that he would never die. 
     
  • "Tanglewood Tales" 
    Hawthorne began writing "Tanglewood Tales," a recreation of six myths, while living at the Wayside. The work was published in September, 1853, while Hawthorne and his family were living in England. 
     
  • "Chiefly About War Matters By a Peaceable Man"
    Hawthorne published this essay on the Civil War in July, 1862 while living at the Wayside, after a visit with Lincoln in Washington, D.C. 
     
  • "Grimshawe
    (first titled "The Ancestral Footstep" then "Etherege" and finally "Grimshawe") Hawthorne began to write this story in 1860 or 1861 but put aside the work in late 1861, leaving it unfinished. The tale is set in Salem in the house next to the Charter Street Burying Point. In this autobiographical tale, Ned is the young Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Grimshawe is in some ways Hawthorne in his depressed final years. 
     
  • "Septimius Felton" and "Septiumius Norton" 
    Hawthorne began to write this story in 1861 while living at the Wayside. This story is set in 1775 in Concord when the British confronted American farmers at the Concord bridge and focuses on the inner conflicts of a young seminary student, Septimius Felton, who, like Hawthorne himself in his waning years, felt "a vague depression of the spirit." 
     
  • Our Old Home
    In June of 1863, the Atlantic Monthly articles he had written between 1860 and 1863 were published as Our Old Home. 
     
  • "The Dolliver Romance" 
    Around December, 1863, or January, 1864, Hawthorne began "The Dolliver Romance" while living at the Wayside. "The Dolliver Romance," like "Grimshawe," is set in the house next to the Charter Street Burying Point in Salem.

Images Related to The Wayside in Concord

The Wayside, Concord, MA
The Wayside, Concord, MA
The Wayside is the only home Nathaniel Hawthorne ever owned. Hawthorne purchased the house from the Alcotts in 1852 and moved in with his wife, Sophia and children Una, Julian and Rose. His family owned the property until July 1870.  (Photography by Joseph R. Modugno)
Postcard of Wayside, Concord, MA
Postcard of Wayside, Concord, MA
Hawthorne moved to this former home of the Alcotts with his family in 1852. This is the only home that Hawthorne ever owned. When Hawthorne received his appointment as consul in Liverpool in 1853, he and his family left the Wayside. After Hawthorne's appointment ended in 1857, he and his family spent time in France and Italy and then returned to The Wayside in 1860. (special thanks to David McClure)
Exterior view of The Wayside
Exterior view of The Wayside
Exterior Wayside (5)- Exterior view of The Wayside, the only home Nathaniel Hawthorne ever owned. Hawthorne purchased the house from the Alcotts in1852 and moved in with his wife, Sophia and children Una, Julian and Rose. He and his family would own the property until July 1870. 
Side view of The Wayside in Concord
Side view of The Wayside in Concord 
Side view of The Wayside in Concord, the only house Hawthorne owned. When Hawthorne and Sophia lived here from the winter of 1852 to July of 1853, the house had no porches and a central entrance, and, according to E.H. Miller in Salem Was My Dwelling Place,"the paint was of 'a rusty olive hue'" (378). Hawthorne bought the house from Bronson Alcott for $1,500 and eight acres of land on the other side of the road from Ralph Waldo Emerson for $500 (Miller 378).According to Miller, it was Hawthorne who gave the house the name "The Wayside" (378). 
View of Tower Addition of The Wayside in Concord, MA
View of Tower Addition of The Wayside in Concord, MA
View of Tower Addition (24)- A view from the West of Hawthorne's three-story tower addition. The top story was Hawthorne's Tower Study, the second-story was the "Terrace Bedroom", so called because during the Hawthorne years the windows in this room opened onto the remnants of the 12 terraces that Broson Alcott had carved into the hillside behind the house during the Alcott years 1845-1848. The first floor was the formal parlor during the Hawthorne years. (photography by Dan Popp)
Sign at The Wayside in COncord
Sign at The Wayside in COncord
Sign at The Wayside in Concord (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Plaque Commemorating Larch Path from The Wayside into Concord
Plaque Commemorating Larch Path from The Wayside into Concord
Plaque Commemorating the Larch Path which Hawthorne used to walk from The Wayside into the center of Concord.  (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
The Larch Path
The Larch Path
The Larch Path (23) - one of Hawthorne's favorite haunts. It still leads from The Wayside to Orchard House, the Alcotts' home next door. (courtesy of the National Park Service)
Statue of Hawthorne at his Reading Stand at The Wayside in Concord
Statue of Hawthorne at his Reading Stand at The Wayside in Concord
Statue of Hawthorne at his reading stand at the entrance to The Wayside in Concorc. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Hawthorne's attic study, The Wayside, Concord, MA
Hawthorne's attic study, The Wayside, Concord, MA
Hawthorne's attic study in The Wayside, one of the houses where he and Sophia lived from the winter of 1852 to July of 1853 in Concord. In 1853 they moved to Liverpool, England, where Hawthorne served as the American consul in Liverpool.The Wayside was the only house Hawthorne owned.  (photography by Dan Popp)
Hawthorne's Stand-up Desk in His Attic Study, The Wayside, Concord, MA
Hawthorne's Stand-up Desk in His Attic Study, The Wayside, Concord, MA
Hawthorne's stand-up desk in his attic study at The Wayside in Concord,where he and Sophia lived from the winter of 1852 to July of 1853 when they moved to Liverpool. While living in The Wayside, Hawthorne wrote The Life of Franklin Pierce, and he completed Tanglewood Tales.  
Stand-up Writing Desk
Stand-up Writing Desk
Stand-up Writing Desk (22) - Hawthorne's stand-up writing desk in his Tower Study. Hawthorne deliberately had his desk facing the book shelves that were part of the desk, so he would would not be distracted by the wonderful view from the south-facing window. 
N. Mural with Busts
N. Mural with Busts
N. Mural with Busts (14)- This is one of three beautiful murals that grace the vaulted ceiling of Hawthorne's Tower Study. The scenes in these murals are one artist's, George Arthur Gray, tribute to another artist, Nathaniel Hawthorne. These murals were painted in 1871 when the Grays owned the house. The two early 20th century busts that sit atop Hawthorne's book closets were made by P. P. Capproni Brothers of Boston. The bust on the right is possibly Antonia(A. D. 38) daughter of Mark Anthony and Octavia and mother of the Emperor Claudius. It has also been identified as "Clytie", a nymph turned into a flower for her unrequited love of Appolo. The other bust is of Plato. 
Bookcloset with Plato
Bookcloset with Plato
Bookcloset with Plato (2) - This view shows one of Hawthorne's book closets in his Tower Study. Hawthorne's son, Julian, inscribed quotes over the doors of his father's book closets. Above the door of this closet, Julian wrote "All care abandon ye who enter here." a paraphrase of "All Hope abandon ye who enter here." from Dante's "The Inferno". 
Manuscript Closet
Manuscript Closet
Manuscript Closet (12) - Hawthorne's manuscript closet at the foot of the stairs to his Tower Study where Hawthorne kept his writing materials. It is said that when word of Hawthorne's death reached his family, Rose was in her father's Tower Study, and as she descended she opened the door to her father's manuscript closet and on one of the shelves was the unfinished Dolliver Romance . 
Sitting Room in the Wayside
Sitting Room in the Wayside
During the Hawthorne years this was the dining room for the family, as it was during the Alcott years. The fireplace screen was decorated by Rose Hawthorne for Harriett Lothrop. She inscribed a verse from her father's short story, "Fire Worship" in Mosses From an Old Manse: "Beautiful it is to see the strengthening gleam-the deepening light-that gradually casts distinct shadows of the human figure, the table, and the high-backed chairs, upon the opposite wall, and at length, as twilight comes on, replenishes the room with living radiance, and makes life all rose-color." (photography by Rich Murphy)
Hawthorne Table in the Wayside Sitting Room, described in the introductory to Hawthorne's <i>Tanglewood Tales</i>
Hawthorne Table in the Wayside Sitting Room, described in the introductory to Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales
Hawthorne Table (9)- During the Hawthorne years at The Wayside this room served several functions. From 1852-1853 this room was the Sitting Room for the Hawthorne's. There is a wonderful description of this room in the introductory to Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales. The dining room table belonged to Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne and was sold by their daughter, Rose and her husband, George Parsons Lathrop. The table was sold by the Lathrops in 1883, along with the house, to Harriett and Daniel Lothrop.  (courtesy of the National Park Service)
Hawthorne Secretary
Hawthorne Secretary
Hawthorne Secretary (18)- This is the "Bay Window Room" which Hawthorne had constructed in August 1860. Sophia Hawthorne called it her chapel because she gave Sunday School lessons to her children here. The secretary belonged to Sophia. 
Shaving Stand 2
Shaving Stand 2
Shaving Stand 2 (19) - "The West Chamber" was the Master Bedroom of Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne as it was for the Alcotts. You can see Hawthorne's shaving stand and the "Butler's Secretary" next to it belonged to Rose Hawthorne and her husband, George Parsons Lathrop.