Longfellow House - Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site, Boston

Longfellow House - Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site, Boston

This Brattle Street house, like many in its vicinity, was constructed by Colonial-era merchants loyal to the British Crown during the Revolution. When the original owner fled back to Europe, American revolutionaries seized the property, and it served as George Washington's headquarters during the long Siege of Boston, from July 1775 to April 1776.

The renowned poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow resided here in 1837, received the house as a wedding gift in 1843, and called it home until his passing in 1882. It was within these walls that he penned his most celebrated poems, including "Tales of a Wayside Inn" and "The Song of Hiawatha". The first floor remains perfectly preserved from his time, complete with his personal belongings, including his writing desk and papers, making it feel as though the poet had just been working on a poem.

While tours of the house are mainly offered during summer months, you can enjoy the grounds and the formal garden year-round. The garden is a true gem, nestled far enough from bustling Brattle Street to provide a peaceful escape. On sunny spring Sundays, you'll experience unparalleled serenity as you sit in the shade of the pergola, savoring the fragrance of lilacs, blooming ornamental fruit trees, or roses, all while listening to the distant church bells of Cambridge. A 2006 restoration faithfully recreated the garden's original design and color palette, introducing 1,700 tiny Korean boxwoods to replicate the low hedges that Longfellow himself had laid out.

Alas, the imposing tree with a canopy on the side lawn is a linden, not the spreading chestnut celebrated in Longfellow's famous poem about the village blacksmith. When that original tree had to be removed, local schoolchildren raised funds to craft a chair from its wood, which they presented to the poet. Today, that chair still occupies a place of honor in Longfellow's study.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Boston. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Longfellow House - Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site on Map

Sight Name: Longfellow House - Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site
Sight Location: Boston, USA (See walking tours in Boston)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Boston, Massachusetts

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