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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: His Homes

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lived in one of two houses for most of his life: the Wadsworth-Longfellow House on Congress Street in Portland, Maine, where he grew up; and Craigie House, the 1759 colonial mansion in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he lived from 1837 until his death in 1882.

Both houses reflect the family's ties to the American Revolution. The house in Portland was built by the poet's grandfather, General Peleg Wadsworth, in 1785-1786. Craigie House served for a time as George Washington's Revolutionary War headquarters.

Longfellow's descendents occupied Craigie House until 1950. It became a National Historic Site in 1972, and is now known as the Longfellow National Historic Site. Learn more of the history of Craigie House, get information about visiting the house, and take a virtual tour at https://www.nps.gov/long/.

Wadsworth-Longfellow House

Wadsworth-Longfellow House, Portland, Maine

American Writers Museum affiliate

Anne Longfellow Pierce, the poet's sister, bequeathed the Wadsworth-Longfellow House to the Maine Historical Society upon her death in 1901; it opened as a museum later that year. The following pages give an overview of the 2001-2002 restoration of the Portland home and take you on a virtual tour of the "Old Original" as the family referred to it.

In addition to his homes on Congress Street in Portland and Brattle Street in Cambridge, there were two other houses in the United States that Henry briefly called home, one of which is still standing and operating as a museum.

The first home Henry knew was the one where he was born on February 27, 1807 and spent the first few months of his life. The house was his aunt and uncle Abigail and Captain Samuel Stephenson’s home, a three-story Federal style house that stood at the corner of Fore and Hancock Streets in Portland, Maine. The house was demolished in 1955.

While teaching at Bowdoin from 1829 to 1835, Henry rented 3 rooms in a two-story cape in Brunswick, Maine. That same house was later purchased in 1856 by another Bowdoin professor and later Civil War hero and Maine governor Joshua L. Chamberlain, who would make significant changes and renovations to the property over the years. Now the Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum, the house is in the care of the Pejepscot Historical Society.

The information on the following pages was drawn largely from Laura Fecych Sprague's essay, "The Wadsworth-Longfellow House: Its History and Restoration" in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and His Portland Home. For more information on this and other sources, please see the bibliography.

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