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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5 Replies to “You can never tour Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House too many times”
Beautiful! The rooms and stairways look small for women dressed in hoopskirts…can anyone comment on that, please?
Well that is something they had to deal with..like we do other things I am sure……….vanity has its price everywhere. I had a hoop skirt once..and it was most not comfortable, but I wore it anyway..like all the petticoats and things we wore to school..they gave..somehow they went up or down or sideways if someone got in the way..and I did not wear them at home…our house was small too..maybe they did not either as much..who knows. Interesting question for sure..
I remember the first time I visited Feb 2003…. couldn’t quite believe I was there, got to the entry kitchen pantry bit where there was then a soundtrack running and erm my eyes just filled with tears. Lunch – soup and cornbread at the colonial inn . seeing LMA writing desk on the wall and understanding what a great artist May Alcott was – untangling the fictional film and reality, knowing that Bronson was nothing like his fictional counterpart and discovering that LMA wrote sensational novels and May’s descendants were German and still are . what a wealth of literature in Mass…. oh and finding the best books in Concord’s book shop and chatting to the beautiful woman who worked in Trading nation, in 2003,2005 and 2007 and finding a poem written on the back of a paper bag! hashtag wannaneedtogoback!
It is such a special place! Besides Orchard house I love visiting Emerson’s house and I enjoy the Barrow bookstore located in a building owned by descendants of the Alcotts. And Sleepy Hollow! So many ny wonderous people buried there.