The Concord house where Franklin Pierce and his family lived from 1842 to 1848—christened “Pierce Manse” after his friend Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Old Manse in Salem—would have been torn down in 1971 if not for a group of locals who banded together to form the “Pierce Brigade” to save it.
The group restored the historic home and opened the Pierce Manse to the public as a museum to the 14th president of the United States. After hearing of the restoration, descendants and relatives of Pierce began donating items connected to the former president, one of the most unusual of which is a family heirloom dress worn by Pierce as a child.
During Pierce’s childhood in the early 1800s, all children wore dresses. As they got older, boys would be given a breeching ceremony to commemorate their first steps toward adulthood. Pierce’s parents kept his dress (probably worn when he was about five or six years old) as a memento of his childhood.
The small dress is kept in the children’s room of the museum on a glass-top table. It’s usually covered to keep sunlight from fading the red fabric, but the docents allow people to lift the covering to see the dress worn by a president.
Know Before You Go
There's limited parking, but it is not in a busy area so it usually isn't bad. Tours are $7 for adults. The dress is located upstairs, which is not wheelchair accessible