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October 2000
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Take a Hike With Henry
by Linda C. Joseph, Columbus (Ohio) Public Schools, Library of Congress

[Editor's note: URLs mentioned in this article appear in the chart that follows.]

Henry Hikes to Fitchburg by D. B. Johnson is a picture book for ages 4 to 104. It is based on a passage from Walden written by Henry David Thoreau, a writer, naturalist, and surveyor from the mid-1800s.

One says to me, “I wonder that you do not lay up money; you love to travel; you might take the cars and go to Fitchburg today and see the country.” But I am wiser than that. I have learned that the swiftest traveller is he that goes afoot. I say to my friend, suppose we try who will get there first. The distance is thirty miles; the fare ninety cents. That is almost a day’s wages. I remember when wages were sixty cents a day for laborers on this very road. Well, I start now on foot, and get there before night; I have travelled at that rate by the week together. You will in the meanwhile have earned your fare, and arrive there some time tomorrow, or possibly this evening, if you are lucky enough to get a job in season. Instead of going to Fitchburg, you will be working here the greater part of the day.
— “Economy,” from Walden; or, Life in the Woods


In the book, Henry and his friend are two large brown bears traveling from Concord to Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Henry hikes the 30 miles while his friend works at odd jobs for the train fare. Henry is dressed in hiking clothes while his friend dons a tailored suit. As the story unfolds, the two journeys are juxtaposed on opposite pages. Henry enjoys nature while his friend works for people who may sound familiar, like Mr. Hawthorne, Mr. Emerson, Mrs. Thoreau, and Mrs. Alcott. Who arrives first? Read this delightful book to find the answer. Then, choose your path to Fitchburg using the activities at the CyberBee Web site. Be sure to keep a record of your journey.
 

Henry Hikes to Fitchburg
Begin your adventure by visiting the Henry Hikes to Fitchburg Web site. Meet the author D.B. Johnson. Hike excerpts from the book. Then, listen to the National Public Radio show in which Daniel Pinkwater reads the story.
 

Author Sites

The Thoreau Reader
Learn about Henry David Thoreau and his writings. This is a comprehensive site with lots of links and annotations. You may want to use excerpts from the material as introductory pieces with elementary and middle-school students.

I Hear America Singing
I Hear America Singing celebrates American concert song and its cultural context. Short vignettes about Emerson, Thoreau, and the Alcotts are sprinkled among biographies of other artists. A selected chronology of people, places, and events in Concord’s history is also presented.

The Old Manse
The Old Manse, or minister’s home, was the place in which Ralph Waldo Emerson lived as a young man. He completed the first draft of Nature in the upstairs study. From 1842 to 1845 Nathaniel Hawthorne rented the Old Manse. He wrote about the house and surrounding landscape that later appeared in his American Notebooks and Mosses from an Old Manse. Featured on this Web site is a nature exhibit of color photographs with passages from Nature.

The Wayside
The Wayside is the only National Historic Landmark lived in by three literary families, Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, Bronson Alcott, Louisa’s father, Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, and Margaret Sidney, creator of The Five Little Peppers. Before Hawthorne purchased the house from the Alcotts in 1852, it was named Hillside. Many scenes from Little Women came from Louisa’s childhood years at Hillside. Concise biographical information, historical timeline of the house, illustrations, and quotes make this site a great resource for students.

Orchard House
The Alcotts moved to Orchard House in 1858 and lived in this home until 1877. Louisa May Alcott wrote her classic story, Little Women, here. Take a virtual tour of the house and discover interesting facts about the artifacts and individuals who shaped the literary landscape during that time period.
 

The Library of Congress

Amos Bronson Alcott—Today in History
Ralph Waldo Emerson—Today in History
Henry David Thoreau—Today in History
Panoramic Maps, 1847-1929—American Memory
Prints and Photographs Online Catalog—Reading Room
Railroad Maps, 1828-1900—American memory
Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920—American Memory

If you are hunting for old photographs, engravings, maps, and documents that are contemporary with Thoreau and his friends, examine the American Memory collections and other sources at The Library of Congress. Today in History features biographies of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Amos Bronson Alcott. Touring Turn-of-the-Century America contains pictures of Concord, including the Old Manse, Wayside, Orchard House, and Walden Pond. Photographs of Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne can be found by searching the Prints and Photographs online catalog. By browsing the map collections you can retrieve early railroad and panoramic town maps of Fitchburg. Students will be fascinated by the way they can zoom in on city blocks with a three-dimensional view to them. The Library of Congress is a resource you will not want to pass up.
 

Town Profiles and Histories

Concord
Concord Community Profile—DHCD
Welcome to Concord, Massachusetts

Fitchburg
Fitchburg Community Profile—DHCD
Fitchburg Line—Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
A History of Fitchburg
Welcome to Fitchburg, Massachusetts

The Department of Housing and Community Development has assembled an almanac of facts about Massachusetts’ communities. A brief historical narrative, seal, geography, government, demographics, and transportation are some of the topics covered for each town. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority furnishes schedules, maps, and fares for bus, subway, boat, and commuter rail services. In addition, each town has a Web site with visitor and travel information.
 

Activities for Students
After reading Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, use it as a guide. Whether you hike or take the train to Fitchburg, there are many engaging activities that students will enjoy. Have them begin their trek by plotting their routes using both old and new maps. Then, design projects around the story in the book. If you follow Henry and hike, you might want to have students make leaf prints, press flowers, or go bird watching via Webcams. If you follow Henry’s friend you might want to create a commemorative postage stamp about one of the famous literary figures, grind flour and make biscuits, or calculate the fare and how long it will take to travel between Concord and Fitchburg.

Nature Crafts
Adventure Kids—Make a Bark or Leaf Rubbing
Golfview Elementary School: Art Projects
Pressing flowers, leaf rubbings, fern collages, and drying flowers are wonderful craft ideas for children of all ages. Simple step-by-step instructions are given at both of these teacher-friendly sites.

Bird Cams
Cohasset Live Birdfeeder
WBU Bird FeederCam
Webcams are live shots that are updated every few minutes. You click the reload button in your browser and the picture changes to a new image. This technology has become very popular for hobbyists and as a marketing tool. Because you cannot rely on the birds to always be at the feeder cam site, at times you may only see the feeder. Wild Birds Unlimited Bird FeederCam archives images. This is a nice feature when no birds are around.

Stamps
Autobiographical Stamp and Grading Sheet
Mary O’Haver, a retired teacher from Fairland Elementary School in Maryland, has created many student projects around the theme of commemorative stamps and has posted these on the school’s Web site. The autobiographical stamp instructions and grading sheet can be easily changed to a biographical commemorative. Visit the school Web site to see examples of student work, then unleash your students’ creativity to make their own.

Smithsonian National Postal Museum
Have you ever wondered what it cost to mail a letter in the past? Did you know that the United States Postal Service delivers over 600,000,000 pieces of mail a day? What two individuals were on the first stamps in 1847? Visit the National Postal Museum Web site and explore a variety of exhibits online.

Flour Milling
Flour Advisory Bureau
Take a bread byte and get your “breaducation” at the Flour Advisory Bureau. From field to table, you will find out how wheat is turned into flour and the tasty bread we enjoy every day. With sections for both primary and secondary school students there is something for everyone, as well as ideas for teachers.

Pond Lily Restoration
Unique sketches of flourmills, water-powered wheels, and other operating equipment complement the history of milling. Phrases like milling around, keep your nose to the grindstone, and wait your “turn” are a few examples in the collection of Mill-Speak sayings. Since most of the articles are text-based, you may want to paraphrase or pull out portions to use in your classroom.

Blackberry Recipes
Gingerich Farms Products Blackberry Jam Bars
Crescent City Farmers Market
The Blackberry Hill Review
Mouth-watering recipes for blackberry cobbler, fruit smoothie, jam bar, blackberry-almond cream tart, or layered dessert will make a yummy culminating activity for your students. Why blackberries you ask? Henry stopped for blackberries.

What’s the railroad to me?
I never go to see
Where it ends.
It fills a few hollows,
And makes banks for the swallows,
It sets the sand a-blowing,
And the blackberries a-growing.

— “Sounds” from Walden; or, Life in the Woods

Be sure to visit the MultiMedia Schools Home Page (http://www.infotoday.com/MMSchools) with active links to all of the Web sites mentioned in this article. Then fly over to CyberBee (http://www.cyberbee.com) for the Henry Hikes to Fitchburg WebQuest, plus more curriculum ideas, research tools, and activities to use with your students and staff.

Henry Hikes to Fitchburg

Author Sites

The Thoreau Reader
http://www2.cybernex.net/~rlenat/thoreau.html

I Hear America Singing
http://www.thirteen.org/ihas/icon/concord.html

The Old Manse
http://www.concord.org/town/manse/old_manse.html

The Wayside
http://www.nps.gov/mima/wayside/index1.htm

Orchard House
http://www.gis.net/~lmama/
 

The Library of Congress

Amos Bronson Alcott—Today in History
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/today/nov29.html

Ralph Waldo Emerson—Today in History
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/today/may25.html

Henry David Thoreau—Today in History
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/jul12.html

Panoramic Maps, 1847-1929—American Memory
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/pmhtml/panhome.html

Prints and Photographs Online Catalog—Reading Room
http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/print/

Railroad Maps, 1828-1900—American Memory
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/rrhtml/rrhome.html

Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920—American Memory
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/detroit/dethome.html
 

Concord

Concord Community Profile—DHCD
http://www.magnet.state.ma.us/dhcd/iprofile/067.HTM

Welcome to Concord, Massachusetts
http://www.concordma.com/
 

Fitchburg

Fitchburg Community Profile—DHCD
http://www.magnet.state.ma.us/dhcd/iprofile/097.HTM

Fitchburg Line—Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
http://www.mbta.com/schedmaps/commuter-rail/fitchburg.cfm

A History of Fitchburg
http://www.ci.fitchburg.ma.us/users/fitchburg/dstreb/history.html

Welcome to Fitchburg, Massachusetts
http://www.net1plus.com/users/fitchburg/
 

Nature Crafts

Adventure Kids—Make a Bark or Leaf Rubbing
http://www.21stcenturyadventures.com/AdventureKids/naturecraft.html

Golfview Elementary School: Art Projects
http://www.brevard.com/golfview/wildflowers/art.htm
 

Bird Cams

Cohasset Live Birdfeeder
http://www.birdhouses.com/feedercam.html

WBU Bird FeederCam
http://www.wbu.com/feedercam_home.htm
 

Stamps

Autobiographical Stamp
http://www.inform.umd.edu:8080/UMS+State/UMD-Projects/MCTP/Technology/School_WWW_Pages/stamp/stamp.html

Grading Sheet
http://www.inform.umd.edu:8080/UMS+State/UMD-Projects/MCTP/Technology/School_WWW_Pages/stamp/grading.html

Smithsonian National Postal Museum
http://www.si.edu/postal/start.html
 

Flour Milling

Flour Advisory Bureau
http://www.fabflour.co.uk/bytes/bytesf.htm

Pond Lily Restoration
http://home.earthlink.net/~alstallsmith/
 

Blackberry Recipes

The Blackberry Hill Review
http://www.coax.net/people/blackberry/berry.htm

Crescent City Farmers Market
http://www.loyno.edu/ccfm/recipes/ArugulatoZucchini/blackberries.html

Gingerich Farms Products Blackberry Jam Bars
http://www.gingerich.com/recipe_blkjambar.html
 

Baking Powder Biscuits

Recipe From Rosiland W. Noble

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup to 1 cup milk
1/3 cup shortening (I use lard.)

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening. Make a well. Add milk to make a soft batter. A fork is better than a spoon for mixing milk into the flour mixture. Turn out on floured board and knead quickly about eight times. Roll to 1/2 inch thick. Cut with biscuit cutter and place on greased pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
 

Linda Joseph is the author of Net Curriculum: An Educator’s Guide to Using the Internet, published by CyberAge Books. The recipient of numerous awards, in addition to her work in the Columbus Public Schools and the Library of Congress, Linda is a part-time instructor for Ohio State University. Communications to the author may be addressed to her at Columbus Public Schools, 737 East Hudson Street, Columbus, OH 43211; 614/365-5277; ljoseph@iwaynet.net.
 
 

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