Harvard MA

Living in Harvard

Harvard residents enjoy an intimate community with an Apple Blossom Festival, Fourth of July Celebration and other events taking place around the Town Common throughout the year. There is sailing, canoeing and ice-skating on Bare Hill Pond, the 300-acre lake and walking trails interconnect much of Harvard's conservation land. Colonial and Victorian homes, stone walls and historic farms dot the area connected by winding roads and tree lined streets.

Harvard History

The 250-year history of Harvard marks it as the location of the first Shaker village in Massachusetts and the second in the US. The settlement got its start when Shaker founder, Mother Ann Lee, came to Harvard in 1791. At that time, a number of dissidents abandoned their protestant roots for the religious organization that sought Utopia via communal ownership of property, plain living and celibacy. At its peak, the Shaker community covered over 2000 acres of land and had a membership of 200. By 1890, the membership had declined to 40 and in 1917, Shaker Village was closed and sold.

The dream of a Utopia in Harvard did not die out with the Shakers. In 1843 Transcendentalist Amos Bronson Alcott moved his family to Harvard and established the socialist farm, Fruitlands. Fruitlands, named for the belief that people should live from the fruits of the land instead of being corrupted by intellectuals and politicians, lasted 7 months. Notable visitors included Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Alcott's daughter, Louisa May, was ten years old at the time but later used Fruitlands as the setting for her novel, Little Women. Today, there is a museum on the sight.

In 1918, Fiske Warren, a follower of Henry George, attempted to institute a single-tax system in Harvard based on Henry George's single-tax theory, which states land and natural resources be communally owned and managed. Warren and his enclave bought up property and managed it but the group fell apart when Warren died in 1938. Fiske Warren's home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Interesting Fact

For art lovers, a visit to the Fruitlands Museum is a must! Stroll through the Fruitlands Museum, founded in 1914 by Clara Endicott Sears, where you will find 19th century paintings, Native American arts and crafts, as well as a look into Shaker life. For those looking for an outdoors adventure, you will want to walk along the white loop trail which crosses through the old meadow bringing you to the Pergolas ruins. The ruins are all that remain of the once magnificent mansion and equally impressive gardens, known as Pergolas, where Ms. Sears enjoyed her summers from 1912 through 1960.

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Harvard MA Schools

The Bromfield School (6-12)

Hildreth Elementary School (K-5)