Concord is home to plenty of historical treasures, but perhaps none so directly tied to national history as the Pierce Manse. The manse was home to our nation’s 14th president, New Hampshire’s own Franklin Pierce.
Pierce hailed from Hillsboro, but before becoming president he spent much of his life in Concord. Along with his wife, Jane Appleton Pierce, he occupied the house that would become known as the Pierce Manse.
The house was originally located on Montgomery Street. It was scheduled for demolition in 1971 as part of an urban renewal project, but it was instead relocated thanks to the newly formed Pierce Brigade, which raised money and secured the land on Horseshoe Pond Lane where the manse now sits.
“This was a great place for it to come,” Brigade president Joan Woodhead said. “Right in the historic district of Concord.”
Nowadays, over 100 Brigade members keep up maintenance on the Manse, stock it with Pierce memorabilia, and staff it for guided tours.
“We’re always on the lookout for Pierce items,” Woodhead said.
The manse is home to many pieces of Pierce, from his trademark beaver hat and walking stick to official White House china. It’s a popular spot for vacationers and class trips alike. Woodhead estimates that at least 1,300 people from all across the country visited the manse last year. They get to experience a little bit of what it was like to live like Franklin Pierce and his family did. That, Woodhead said, is the most exciting part of touring the manse.
“Every time I walk through the house and think about the family that actually lived here, I realize how amazing it is.”