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The Wayside: Introduction

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.



Page citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/page/10213/


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