Thoreau’s House


    Henry David Thoreau set out into the woods near Walden Pond, near Concord, Massachusetts and proceeded to build own house and live in it for over two years as he wrote the book “Walden”. However, for all we know of his literary works, we know next to nothing about the house he built and in which he spent two years of his life.

    Our project was to build a replica of Thoreau’s house as accurately as possible given the sparse amount of descriptions Thoreau left behind in his writing and combine them into a workable structure using our own research into woodworking tools and techniques of the era. Our replica was built entirely with 19th century woodworking methods and technology. We chopped down each tree, roughly hewn them to 4”x4”s or 6”x6”s, and cut into them joints and mortises without the use of electricity or even modern power tools. Everything we used could and most likely was used by Thoreau in the construction of his own home.

    The actual building of the house was only one portion of what we hoped to accomplish during this class. Our accompanying goal was to create a documentary recording not only the build itself but also interviews with various experts on the topics we attempted to cover, including but not limited to: a modern day woodworker, a scholar of Thoreau's literary works, someone who has built a home in the woods and lived in it, as well as cognitive science expert dealing with the interaction between tools and the mind.

    We were an Honors Program seminar at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and more importantly we were Thoreau Housing Construction Inc. under the instruction of Professor Hugh Crawford, CEO. Over the semester we built this timber frame replica, fully documenting the entire process and posting pictures, blog postings, and anything else we can get our hands on or think up in the mean time.

    Here one can find our cabin plans, biographies on ourselves, photos and videos of every stage, blog postings describing our learning experience, all the resources we used, from Walden to tool use to our interviews with the experts. Hope you enjoy!

Our Project

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