PRESERVING THE WAYSIDE, "HOME OF AUTHORS"
Home to Nathaniel Hawthorne and, in childhood, Louisa May Alcott, The Wayside in Concord, Massachusetts owes its existence to the lives of two women who also lived within its walls: children’s author Harriet Lothrop and her daughter Margaret.
Originally a two-story, wood-frame New England farmhouse, The Wayside is part of the Minute Man National Historical Park (MMNHP). Lived in by three American Literary figures, it is a National Historic Landmark.
Boston-based children’s book publisher, Daniel Lothrop, and his wife, Harriet, purchased The Wayside in 1883. It is here that Harriet Lothrop, the author of Five Little Pepper series, became a preservationist. Properties saved through her efforts include the Grapevine Cottage, home of Ephraim Wales Bull who developed the Concord grape, the Tollman House in Monument Square, and Orchard House, next door to The Wayside, where Louisa May Alcott wrote her book Little Women.
Harriet’s daughter Margaret Lothrop inherited The Wayside in 1924 upon the death of her parents. For the next 45 years, until her death in May 1970, Margaret devoted most of her life and energies to saving the "Home of Authors," as she called The Wayside. She opened her home for tours and conducted guided visits of the property for more than thirty years. Throughout her lifetime, Margaret sought to complete the preservation work begun by her parents at The Wayside, fulfilling the purpose for which her parents had originally bought the house.
The Wayside barn serves today as a MMNHP Visitor Center and exhibit area.
Source: National Park Service