8. Concord Center Before the Concord Free Public Library

When William Munroe was planning the Concord Free Public Library, Main Street from the corner of Walden Street down to the intersection with Sudbury Road was considerably narrower than it is now. Also, the corner of Walden Street jutted quite a bit further into Main than it does today.

In 1872, to ease anticipated traffic problems and to open up the view of his new building from the center of town, Munroe undertook the widening of Main Street on the south side, from the corner of Walden down to the library site.

This photograph, taken about 1865 (well before Munroe's road improvements were proposed), shows Concord Center, looking west. The hip-roofed brick house at the corner of Walden and Main - the Hastings House (one of the places the Thoreau family occupied in Concord) - extended into what would soon become part of Main Street. The Brooks House at the intersection of Main Street and Sudbury Road is visible in the distance, at the far right of the image.