|Authors Ridge, Concord MA|
|Authors Ridge in Concord's Sleepy Hollow Cemetery shelters the graves of Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and his family, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Sidney, Ephraim Bull, and other famous persons.|
Authors Ridge in Concord's Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, less than a 15-minute walk northeast of Monument Square (map), is a place of pilgrimage for many Americans.
Young girls enthralled by Louisa May Alcott's Little Womencome to visit her grave. Independent thinkers indebted to Ralph Waldo Emerson's life and work pay their respects at the rough marble boulder that is his tombstone. Naturalists and conservationists leave votive offerings at the headstone of Henry David Thoreau, America's first great ecologist.
How to Get There
Authors Ridge is less than 15 minutes' walk from Concord's Monument Square (map). From the square, go to the left of Holy Family Roman Catholic church on MA Route 62 (Bedford Road) toward Bedford. After one block you'll come to the pedestrian entrance to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, and if you're walking or biking you can enter the gate here, turn right and follow the lane northeast.
If you're driving, don't enter the Pedestrian Gate. Bear right onto Bedford Road (MA Route 62) and drive a short distance to the next gate, Prichard Gate, designated for auto entry. Enter here, bear right at the Y, then immediately left on a one-way lane; a stone marker points the way to Authors Ridge. Follow the curve of the lane to a small parking area, then walk up the paved path to the ridge.
Walk up the hill as indicated by the stone waymarker. Here are the authors' graves, in the order you pass them:
Henry David Thoreau no doubt knew this ridge well. He knew all the land in Concord from his daily walks as recounted in his journals and books, including Walden.
His simple headstone in the Thoreau family plot is always surrounded by votive offerings left by devoted readers of his works who come from around the world to pay homage to America's first great naturalist. More...
Novelist and short-story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne was painfully shy in life. He probably receives more visitors in death here on Authors Ridge than he had during his lifetime. His wife, Sophia (Peabody), and daughter Una, moved to England after Nathaniel's death, and were buried there (1870s) in Kensal Green Cemetery, but in June 2006 their remains were brought to Concord and re-interred here in the Hawthorne family plot. More...
Little Women author Louisa May Alcott, her father Amos Bronson Alcott, her mother Abigail May Alcott and her sisters are buried in the Alcott plot just past the Thoreau family plot. Her headstone is marked by a veteran's medal and American flag because of her service as a nurse during the Civil War (described in her Hospital Sketches.) More...
Emerson gave a speech at thededication of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (1855), with the thought in mind that he would one day lie here. Now he does, his grave marked by a large, rough boulder of New England marble—a non-religious symbol for a man who started his career as a Christian minister. Next to him are his second wife, Lidian Jackson Emerson, their children, and Emerson's aunt, Mary Moody Emerson. More...
You may also want to visit the grave of Daniel Chester French on the ridge you curved along on your way to Authors Ridge. French was the sculptor of The Minuteman, statue at Concord's Old North Bridge; the Seated Lincoln (in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC); and the Melvin Memorial, not far from his grave on the other side of the hill. Visitors leave pennies on his tombstone with the reverse side, bearing an image of the Lincoln Memorial, up.
—by Tom Brosnahan