Logo   Site of Thoreau's House, Walden Pond
There's a replica of Thoreau's little house by the Walden Pond parking lot, but the actual site of the house is off the hiking trail around the pond, a 15- to 20-minute walk away.

Henry David Thoreau came to Concord's Walden Pond in 1845 "to live deliberately."

He built his little one-room house in a clearing just uphill from a quiet cove. The cove, now named for Thoreau, is northeast of the present parking lot and public beach, near "Wyman's meadow," a flooded, swampy area that's really a smaller subsidiary pond (map).

The house site is a quiet, pretty spot which would have had good views of the lake when Thoreau lived there. Thoreau wrote:

I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor.... My house was on the side of a hill, immediately on the edge of the larger woods, in the midst of a young forest of pitch pines and hickories, and a half dozen rods [100 feet, 30 meters] from the pond, to which a narrow footpath led down the hill.

The approximate site of Thoreau's house had been known for years. His old friend, the Concord sage Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May Alcott) had walked out from Concord in 1872 with a visitor and placed a stone at what he remembered to be the site of Thoreau's house.

This began the custom, and later visitors—ecological and literary pilgrims, really—also brought stones until the stones formed a substantial cairn.

Exactly a century after Thoreau built his little house and moved here, amateur archeologist Roland Wells Robbins spent three months digging the ground near the cairn until he discovered the footings for the chimney of the house.

Today an inscribed stone marks the place of the chimney, and granite standing stones frame the area the little house covered. A wooden plaque next to the cairn bears Thoreau's most famous words:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

The replica of Thoreau's little house, with chimney and woodshed, is near the Walden Pond parking lots. (The Concord Museum used to have another replica, but it was removed in 2019.)

You can walk from the Emerson House to Walden Pond along the Emerson-Thoreau Amble, a forest-and-field footpath.

—by Tom Brosnahan

Walden Pond

Geology & Ecology of Walden Pond

Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau's Birthplace

Emerson - Thoreau Amble

Photo Essay: Walden in Winter

Ralph Waldo Emerson


A Walking Tour of Concord

What to See & Do in Concord

About Concord

  Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Site of Thoreau's House, Walden Pond, Concord MA

Above, visitors explore the site of Henry David Thoreau's house at Walden Pond, marked by standing stones, in Concord MA.

Below, replica of Thoreau's house
near the parking lot at Walden Pond.


Replica of Thoreau's House at Walden Pond, Concord MA

Replica of Thoreau's house
near the parking lot at Walden Pond.

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