Longfellow House Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site, Cambridge

#15 of 69 in Things to do in Cambridge
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The Longfellow House–Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site (also known as the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House and, until December 2010, Longfellow National Historic Site) is a historic site located at 105 Brattle Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was the home of noted American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for almost 50 years, and it had previously served as the headquarters of General George Washington (1775–76).

The house was built in 1759 for John Vassall, who fled the Cambridge area at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War because of his loyalty to the king of England. George Washington occupied it as his headquarters beginning on July 16, 1775, and it served as his base of operations during the Siege of Boston until he moved out on April 4, 1776. Andrew Craigie, Washington's Apothecary General, was the next person to own the home for a significant period of time. He purchased the house in 1791 and instigated its only major addition. Craigie's financial situation at the time of his death in 1819 forced his widow Elizabeth to take in boarders, and one of those borders was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He became its owner in 1843 when his father-in-law Nathan Appleton purchased it as a wedding gift. He lived in the home until his death in 1882.

The last family to live in the home was the Longfellow family, who established the Longfellow Trust in 1913 for its preservation. In 1972, the home and all of its furnishings were donated to the National Park Service, and it is open to the public seasonally. It presents an example of mid-Georgian architecture style.

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Longfellow House Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site reviews

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  • We were sad to have missed the last house tour of the day (which you need to do in order to enter the house), so instead we went for a quick walk through the gardens which were also free. It was very....  more »
  • We passed by the Longfellow house on a recent trip to Cambridge and joined the 60 minute guided tour by an NPS park ranger. He was extremely knowledgeable and gave a fantastic accoun of Washington's.....  more »
  • The full house tour (on the hour) with ranger, Nicole Mello was spectacular! Nicole is extremely knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor, making this the best tour I've been on in the area. The home is filled with original furniture, objects, and art work. There were also art supplies to use in the garden, which is lovely. There is also a first floor, half-hour tour half past each hour. Free, Ranger led tours are the only way to your the home to protect the objects. There is also free parking on the streets nearby making this a great activity for budget minded folks.
  • This place is really charming and filled with history: a former headquarters of General George Washington during the siege of Boston and the home of Longfellow (the house was a wedding gift to Longfellow given by the father of the bride, Nathan Appleton). The tour around the house is very informative and absolutely free. Great little tour, had Anna as our leader and her enthusiasm for the place really shone through, making the tour all the more interesting. Also happened to be the park service anniversary.

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