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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Concord in Middlesex County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Thoreauís Cabin

 
 
Thoreauís Cabin Marker image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, November 15, 2011
1. Thoreauís Cabin Marker
Inscription.
Site of
Thoreauís Cabin
Discovered
Nov. 11, 1945
by
Roland Wells Robbins

Also, on a nearby fieldstone (see Fig. 3):
Beneath these Stones
lies the Chimney Foundation
of Thoreauís Cabin 1845–1847
“Go thou my incense upward
From this hearth”

 
Location. 42° 26.522′ N, 71° 20.546′ W. Marker is in Concord, Massachusetts, in Middlesex County. Marker can be reached from Concord Pike. Touch for map. While not accessible by road, the marker is 100 yards up in the woods from the northwestern shore of Walden Pond, near Wyman Meadow. Hikers can reach the site by following trails and signs around the pondís perimeter. Marker is a half mile west of the park headquarters and parking lot. Marker is in this post office area: Concord MA 01742, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Bedford Minutemen (approx. 1.2 miles away); Orchard House (approx. 1.2 miles away); Caseyís Home (approx. 1.2 miles away); Nathaniel Hawthorne (approx. 1.3 miles away); The Larch Path (approx. 1.3 miles
Layout of Hut image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, November 15, 2011
2. Layout of Hut
According to his own account in Walden, Thoreau made his cabin 10 feet wide by 15 feet long, with a single door in the front, windows on either side, and a fireplace at the far end.
away); The First Provincial Congress (approx. 1.3 miles away); The Wright Tavern (approx. 1.3 miles away); The Millpond (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Concord.
 
Regarding Thoreauís Cabin. American author and poet Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) is probably best known for his full-length book Walden. It describes the two years, starting in 1845, that he chose to live alone in the woods at Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. The small cabin he built was soon removed and dismantled for scrap lumber. But in 1872, after Thoreauís death, longtime friend Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May Alcott) returned to the area and pointed out, as accurately as he could remember, where the hut had stood. Ever since, Thoreauís followers have contributed small pebbles to the spot Alcott indicated (see Fig. 5).

Then in 1945, just a century after Thoreau went to Walden, Concord resident Roland Wells Robbins spent three months digging around the area and uncovered evidence of the original hearth. In this way he pinpointed the hutís true location.

Walden Pond remains surrounded by woods today, except for a modern swimming area
Hearth Marker image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, November 15, 2011
3. Hearth Marker
In 1947, the local Thoreau Society placed this fieldstone at the location of the recently discovered hearth. The quotation, “Go thou my incense upward from this hearth,” is from the poem Smoke, which Thoreau wrote in the early 1840s just before going to the woods.
and boat landing at the eastern end and, on the opposite side, the same active railbed that passed near the pond in Thoreauís day. The pond and its surroundings are now an official state park operated by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
 
Also see . . .
1. Henry David Thoreau - Wikipedia entry. (Submitted on November 15, 2011, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts.)
2. Transcendentalism site. Thoreau is considered a New England Transcendentalist along with friends Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Bronson Alcott. (Submitted on November 15, 2011, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts.) 
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, Music
 
Location of Woodshed image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, November 15, 2011
4. Location of Woodshed
Just a few feet north of the hut itself is where the woodshed must have stood.
Rock Memorials image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, November 15, 2011
5. Rock Memorials
For decades visitors have piled round stones, many bearing inscriptions, at the traditional location (foreground) of Thoreauís hut. Not far off, at upper right, is the true location discovered in 1945.
Information Sign near Marker image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, November 15, 2011
6. Information Sign near Marker
Click on this (or any other) picture to see an enlarged view.
Site Overview with Pond image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, November 15, 2011
7. Site Overview with Pond
Foliage mostly blocks the view during summer, but Walden Pond is easily visible from the hutís location at other times of year. This view faces south.
Walden Pond in Summer image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, June 27, 2011
8. Walden Pond in Summer
Half a mile wide, Walden Pond is open for swimming, fishing, and kayaking during warm weather.
Statue and Hut Replica image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, November 15, 2011
9. Statue and Hut Replica
A life-size bronze statue of Thoreau and full-scale replica of his hut stand a half mile to the east, next to the visitorsí parking lot.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 15, 2011, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts. This page has been viewed 514 times since then and 55 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on November 15, 2011, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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