The ancestral home of John Ball’s great-great-grandfather; Nathaniel Ball (1663-1725) in Concord, Massachusetts, was originally owned and built by him. From April 1845 to November 1848 it becomes the Alcott’s “Hillside” Home the setting for Louisa May Alcott’s book; “Little Women”, and later immortalized as “The Wayside” by Nathaniel Hawthorn. (It’s not to be mistaken as Longfellow’s; The Wayside Inn which is located in Sudbury, Massachusetts.)
The Illustration by National Park Service artist; Steven N. Patricia, shows The Wayside House during the Colonial and American Revolutionary War period, circa 1775, when the house was a fairly simple structure, and the grounds were not well developed. It looked much the same as when the Ball family lived in the house in the early 1700s. Later owned and lived in by Samuel Whitney, Muster Master of the Concord Militiamen, from 1769-1775.
“The house stands within 10 or 15 yards of the Old Boston Road (along which the British marched and retreated)…” — Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1852
The dwelling cited in the 1717 deed was a typical New England farmhouse, two storied, made of wood with two rooms per floor and a central chimney.
However, the house dates back much earlier, according to National Park Service historical architects, who worked on its restoration in the 1960’s. Minuteman Samuel Whitney was living in this house, which still retained most of its original appearance, on April 19, 1775 when British troops passed by on their way to the confrontation at Concord’s North Bridge.
The Wayside in Concord, Massachusetts is a National Historic Landmark lived in by three American Literary figures: Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Sidney and Nathaniel Hawthorne.