Recently I took in a tour of Orchard House (I’ve lost count how many times I’ve toured this wonderful home) and learned some fascinating new information with regards to the renovations made to the house.
Merging the main house with a cottage
The tour guide disclosed information from the Fox family whose ancestors had owned the cottage that had been on the property of Orchard House, and which Bronson merged with the home. The kitchen and 3/4 of the dining room along with May’s bedroom was part of this separate cottage which Alcott and Thoreau pushed down on logs over snow to attach to the main house.
I had noticed that the ceiling beams of the dining room encompassed 3/4 of the room; the rest of the room had been a porch that was enclosed to finish off the room. Bronson then installed the back staircase to May’s bedroom. As I am in the middle of reading a fascinating essay entitled “‘A Power in the House'” — Little Women and the Architecture of Individual Expression by David Watters” (found in Little Women and the Feminist Imagination edited by Janice M. Alberghene and Beverly Lyon Clark)) and which describes how the layout and architecture of Orchard House (especially Bronson’s renovations) influences the members of the March family, I found this tour particularly timely! Kudos to Nancy (whom I am guessing was a well-loved teacher in her day) for a wonderful tour!
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