Around the World in 80 Models: Walden Pond

Back to overview

Hop on board as we continue our journey Around the World in 80 Models! We began our itinerary at Sketchfab headquarters in New York and are working our way through Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, South America, and North America. To catch up on past destinations, check out the rest of the Around the World in 80 Models series.

This week Abby Crawford takes us to Walden Pond, where author Henry David Thoreau lived for two years and about which he wrote his book, Walden.

Concord, Massachusetts: Walden Pond Cabin

My name is Abby Crawford and I am a freelance photogrammetrist and archaeologist based out of Santa Cruz, California. My educational background is in Roman archaeology with a focus on Roman Italy. About 3 years ago I learned photogrammetry in order to supplement my pre-existing artifact illustration skills and help cultural organizations reach audiences in new ways. Since then I have worked closely with the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History to digitize dozens of items from their collections, and have worked on smaller projects for museums such as the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History and San Jose’s Rosicrucian Museum. While my freelance work focuses on modeling cultural heritage objects, my personal 3D scans are frequently of nature and things that I run across while exploring the great outdoors in central California.

A few months ago I went to Massachusetts to visit a friend and decided to go for a hike around Walden Pond, which is a small state reservation and National Historic Landmark outside of Concord, MA that is open to swimmers, hikers, canoers, and other people looking to enjoy the woods and the water. The lake is a “kettle hole“, which means that it was formed by a piece of glacier, isolated and surrounded by sediment, that melted and left a big hole in the ground. It is 102 feet deep and about 1.75 miles around. When I lived in Massachusetts I would frequently visit the pond because it is a very pleasant spot for a short, low-intensity hike. The lake is famous for having been the site of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin (or “house”, as he called it), where he spent a couple of years living simply and documenting his time in the woods.

The cabin in the model above is a replica of Thoreau’s actual cabin, which is no longer extant. This cabin is next to the parking lot near the park’s visitor center, whereas the actual cabin was located less than a mile away on the north side of the lake. Thoreau built his cabin for $28, 12.5 cents in 1845 (roughly $874 today, taking into account inflation), according to p. 54 of his book Walden. It was a small place that afforded him the basic necessities of life. The replica cabin at Walden Pond is composed of the cabin itself and the woodshed behind it. The actual cabin location was discovered in 1945, 100 years after the cabin was initially built, by archaeologist Roland Robbins. Since then, a memorial has been erected at the site. Next to the memorial is a cairn that was begun in 1872.

Because I hadn’t really planned on photographing the cabin, I ended up taking photos with my phone. It was relatively early in the morning, and so there was a lot of dappled light, particularly on the front of the cabin. The outside of the cabin turned out much better than the inside, which was full of details that I did not have time to fully capture because other tourists were descending on the cabin and it’s so small that having more than two people in there is challenging. Thus, the inside of the cabin will just give you a general idea of what was in there – a bed with a trunk under it, a couple of chairs, a desk, a box for firewood, and a woodburning stove.

I tried processing the model in a couple of softwares, but after several failed attempts to have the inside and outside of the cabin all align together I had almost given up. In a last ditch effort to produce something usable, I downloaded a handful of exterior shots of the cabin from the internet and tried one more time in PhotoScan. Despite the fact that only one of those random photos aligned with the ones that I had taken, it was clearly the magic ticket because suddenly everything was aligned as it should be. I think that the dappling on the front of the cabin had more of an effect on alignment than I initially wanted to admit to myself. This is certainly not the finest scan I’ve done, but I’m very fond of it nonetheless. I’m not especially sentimental, but this little house always makes me think of reading and hiking and being in the woods, which are some of my favorite things.

If you want to learn more about Thoreau or Walden Pond, check out The Walden Woods Project and the Thoreau Society.

To see more of Abby’s models here on Sketchfab, check out her profile!

About the author


Abby & Néstor

Abby and Néstor are Sketchfab Masters.
Abby Crawford, Ph.D. is trained in and passionate about Roman Archaeology and works as a freelance artifact illustrator and 3D scanner in California.
Néstor F. Marqués is a virtual Heritage & cultural diffusion researcher, and an enthusiast of ancient Rome’s culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Related articles