Free spirit Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was a social critic, poet, and naturalist who built a house on Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts and lived there alone for two years and two months (1845-1847).
"In solitude especially do we begin to appreciate the advantage of living with someone who knows how to think," he said.
Located about 20 miles west of Boston on a woodlot owned by fellow Transcendentalist and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, the one-room house Thoreau built was 10' x 15', made of 1,000 bricks, and cost $28.12.
"Our life is frittered away by detail," Thoreau said. "Simplify, simplify." His words inspired many, including Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
At Walden Pond, Thoreau kept a daily journal that when published in 1854, provided a window to Nature and the soul. With keen observation and reflection, he championed the human spirit.
Thoreau discovered by connecting with Nature, life could be a celebration of freedom and self-sufficency. He said, "Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain."
In celebration of his dream, The Walden Woods Project was founded by musician Don Henley. Since 1990, the conservation organization has collected over $23 million to preserve and protect historic Walden Woods.
More THOREAU Quotations
Dance to the music you hear.