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A quick history of Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site

The Brattle Street house has connections to notable historical figures.

The bright yellow front facade of the Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site

The brightly-colored facade of this home stands out on Brattle St.

Photo courtesy of NPS / © Photography Rhode Island James P. Jones

Located at 105 Brattle Street, the Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site boasts connections to several notable figures and remains a very popular visitor attraction in Cambridge.

The Georgian-style mansion’s origins date back to the early 1700s, when properties were purchased on the then road to Watertown.

The home was used as headquarters for the Continental Army during the Siege of Boston, under the leadership of General George Washington. Washington arrived and spent approximately nine months there from 1775-1776.

Following subsequent changes in ownership and name, American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow became the most synonymous figure connected to the home. Upon his move to Cambridge in 1836, some of his most well-known works would be written while he was living in the city.

The library at Longfellow House has ornate rugs and books on shelves.

Take a glimpse at the many books and ornate decor in the Longfellow House’s library.

Photo by James P. Jones | Photography RI

With his marriage to Fanny Appleton, his father-in-law would purchase the land and home (known at that time as Craigie House) in 1844 and granted it to the couple. Longfellow would live in Cambridge for 45 years, until his death in 1882.

According to site manager Christopher Beagan, the National Park Service took ownership of the site back in 1973, when it was acquired by the Longfellow House Trust. Following an Act of Congress (PL 111-333) in 2010, its current name was adopted.

Featuring two floors and an attic, you can visit the mansion and grounds. It is open to the public from May 24-Oct. 28 and is free to enter. Programs and events are held on the site, with past ones done in conjunction with its previous relationship with Cambridge’s Henry Wadsworth Longfellow School.

Today, Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Site continues to present programs to visitors and has fostered a keen interest in local history.

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