Archive for April, 2006

"In tracking down Thoreau’s haunts, Gleason was a Thoreau scholar as well as a photographer. He painstakingly identified and located the many places to which Thoreau had referred to in his writing.

. Gleason used Thoreau’s writings as his starting point. He consulted the 1852 and 1856 Walling maps of Concord and the extensive collection of manuscript Thoreau surveys in the Concord Free Public Library.

He made many field trips, retracing Thoreau’s footsteps through close reference to the author’s own written accounts of his wanderings.

He talked to Concord residents (Frank Sanborn, John Shepard Keyes, and Edward Waldo Emerson among them) who remembered Thoreau.

Thoreauvians will always be indebted to Gleason for his careful research in preparing the map of Thoreau localities included in Volume 20 of the 1906 Manuscript and Walden Editions of Thoreau’s writings."

Gleason’s map of 1906 Concord environs takes on new significance 100 year later because many of the specific sites and trails referred to by Thoreau in his writing and located on that 1906 map are still available to be found and experienced today.

Gleason’s 1906 map may be accessed COURTESY CONCORD FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY at http://www.concordnet.org/library/scollect/Gleason/Map.html

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Thoreau worked as a land and property surveyor from 1840-1860’s, both for the Town of Concord and for private property owners.
Many of these maps now are preserved by the Concord Free Public Library and accessible for viewing on-line.
One such map was created for a public auction of land then known as John B. Moore’s Farm.
The land was bounded in part by Cambridge Turnpike, Hawthorne Lane and Lexington Road and traversed by the Mill Brook.

Figure 1– Thoreau Maps the Mill Brook



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has definitely sprung in the Mill Brook.

This week I have heard the shrill warble of peepers in the Mill Brook tributary
which borders our home, my criteria for the official start of spring.

“The male frog’s advertisement call is a series of sharp,
piercing, bird-like peeps repeated about once per second or faster. A distant
chorus may sound like tinkling of sleigh bells”.

Ellen and I also are seeing from three to six painted turtles each sunny day.

They sun themselves lying bunched up on logs floating next
to the sidewalk on either side of the Mill Brook culvert passing under Cambridge
Turnpike by the Mill Brook Farm stand.

Irises plants and skunk cabbage are also
sending up their rebirth adding new color to the wetlands.

Ellen and I revel as we share our daily “walk around the
block” including Hawthorne Lane,
or as Walter Brain referred to it: “Lover’s Lane”. A fascinating road with a rich history of
Mill Brook notable residents including the Alcott sisters who are said to have
swum in the brook where it passes near their home under Hawthorne Lane.

The Brook at that point has a broad shore. A natural swimming hole for the Alcott girls.

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