Josiah Dwight House (1725)

Originally built on Main Street in Springfield between 1722 and 1733 by David Ingersoll, the Dwight House was bought in 1743 by Josiah Dwight, who added a Connecticut River Valley Broken Scroll doorway, window pediments and a gambrel roof in the 1750s. Used as a rooming house in the later nineteenth century, the building was moved to Howard Street in 1884. In the early twentieth century, its original doorway pediment was purchased by Henry du Pont for his Long Island summer house (it was later moved to Winterthur). In 1950, when the house was facing demolition, it was purchased by Henry and Helen Flint for Historic Deerfield and stored until a location on the Street in Deerfield could be found. The Italianate-style Josiah Fogg House of 1868 was then demolished to make room for a restored Dwight House, complete with a reproduction of the original doorway pediment. Opened to the public in 1954, the Dwight House was originally interpreted as a the home of a doctor (complete with doctor’s office). It now presents the two contrasting interior decorative styles of Boston and the Connecticut River Valley on either side of the house. Read More

The Old Manse (1770)

old-manse.JPG

The famous house in Concord known as the “Old Manse,” has associations with the Revolutionary War and with two of America’s greatest literary figures. It was built in 1770 as a “manse”, or parsonage, for the town’s minister, William Emerson. Emerson was there, on April 19, 1775, when the Revolutionary War began at the Old North Bridge, located just behind the Manse property (and now part of Minute Man National Historical Park). Emerson went on to serve as a chaplain with the Continental Army, but died of a fever in October 1776, during the Fort Ticonderoga Expedition. In 1778, Ezra Ripley became Concord’s new minister. He boarded at the Old Manse and in 1780 married William Emerson’s widow, Phebe Bliss Emerson. William Emerson’s son, also named William, became a minister. His son was the famous Transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who lived in the Old Manse, his ancestral home, from 1834-1835, before purchasing his own house in Concord. It was during his residence in the Old Manse that Emerson wrote the first draft of his classic work, Nature.

Ezra Ripley died in 1841 and from 1842 to 1845, the Old Manse was rented by Nathaniel Hawthorne and his new wife, Sophia Peabody. It was during this period that Hawthorne would write many of the stories featured in his collection, Mosses from an Old Manse, including his introductory description of the Old Manse that would help make the building famous. In 1846, the Hawthorne’s left the Manse because Ezra Ripley’s son, Samuel Ripley, returned to live in his childhood home, although he died the following year. His wife, Sarah Alden Bradford Ripley, who had mastered numerous subjects and seven languages, lived on for another two decades, exchanging views with many of the intellectual leaders of the times. She lived through the Civil War, which claimed the life of her younger son, Lt. Ezra Ripley.

When Sarah and Samuel Ripley’s granddaughter, Sarah Ripley Thayer Ames, died in 1939, according to her wishes the house and its contents were sold to The Trustees of Reservations. The Old Manse is now a museum where visitors can tour this National Historic Landmark.