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The Henry and the Huckleberries Website: About the Places in our Story
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Main Street, Concord ca. 1865
looking at what is now the Vanderhoof Hardware building.
The Town House is the dark building on the far right.

Concord, Massachusetts is an historic town, founded in 1635, about 20 miles west of Boston, where the Sudbury and Assabet Rivers meet to become the Concord River. It has an important place in colonial and revolutionary history as well as for its many famous authors, including Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Sidney, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and others. Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord on July 12, 1817, in a house on Virginia Road now known as the “Thoreau Farm.” When Henry was 8 months old, the family moved to the center of town on Main Street. The population of Concord was about 2,000 during Henry’s lifetime; today it is over 17,000. Concord had a rural character to it at the time of our story, with many farms. It was a progressive agricultural community--the Concord Grape was developed in Concord in 1849 by Ephraim Bull.

In the 1850’s, Concord was an important center for the anti-slavery movement and an important stop on the underground railroad. The Thoreau family was very involved in the abolitionist movement and assisted many slaves en route to freedom.

Concord was also a busy commercial center. It had a woolen mill and a pail factory, and the Thoreau family manufactured the finest pencils in America. It was also an intellectual and literary center, attracting many people to the town.

Map of Walden Pond made by Henry David Thoreau, showing depths of the pond.
His cabin was located near letter D, circled in red.

Walden Pond, located in Concord and Lincoln, Massachusetts is one of the most famous ponds that is not really a pond, but a very deep lake called a “kettle hole.” The pond was formed when the glaciers retreated over 10,000 years ago. A very large underground block of ice melted, leaving a hole which filled with water. Walden Pond is an unusually deep kettle hole, measuring over 100 feet at its deepest point.

Pine Cobble is a small hill located to the west of Walden Pond. It would have been a fairly short hike for Henry and his huckleberry party, over a path through the woods. Today you can access Pine Cobble from a path by the Thoreau Institute. From the top of Pine Cobble in Henry’s time, one could see Mt. Wachusett off in the distance (if it was a clear day). Today trees have grown up obscuring the view. The Town of Concord maintains a water storage tank there now.

Replicas of Henry’s cabin can be found at Walden Pond State Park and at the Concord Museum. The Concord Museum also has Henry’s original cabin furnishings and his flute. Henry had a garden near his cabin, where he grew vegetables, and he got his drinking water from a spring. Henry built the cabin himself.