Since 1912, Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House has brought the Alcotts’ contributions in the realms of literature, art, education, philosophy, and social justice to life through acclaimed guided tours, interactive educational programs and outreach, and inspiring living history events. Built in the mid-17th Century, Orchard House is most noted for being where Louisa May Alcott wrote and set the beloved classic novel, Little Women, in 1868. It has become universally acknowledged as one of America’s most authentically preserved historic sites -- recognized as a National Registered Historic Landmark, placed on the National Register, and designated “an irreplaceable cultural icon” by Save America’s Treasures.
The property had a distinguished history long before the Alcotts' residency, however. In the 1600s, it served as a refuge for Christianized Native Americans who were threatened with persecution and punishment for their beliefs, while during the American Revolution, it was home to two courageous Concord Minute Men. During the 19th Century, Orchard House served as a gathering place for notables of New England's literary and cultural renaissance such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau New England’s literary and cultural renaissance. In 1879, progressive educator and Transcendentalist philosopher A. Bronson Alcott began the Concord School of Philosophy here, a highly successful adult education center that is still used today. Orchard House also has widespread international appeal, having been visited by the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan (now Emperor and Empress), First Lady Laura Bush, acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz, and thousands of visitors from more than 30 countries each year.
A visit to Orchard House enables the study of history in vibrant ways that connect to the present and inform our future. Revelations about the power of unconditional love, family and friendship, personal agency, and collective conscience that the Alcotts espoused become life lessons that have renewed relevance with each generation. Our mission to continue its survival through the highest standards of historic preservation and a groundbreaking commitment to sustainable energy truly make Orchard House a place for yesterday, today, and tomorrow.