Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow’s House

Front of the house
Front of the house

A few months ago, I was on vacation in Portland, Maine, and decided to visit Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow’s childhood home where he lived until he was 14 years old. Built in 1785 by the poet’s grandfather, Peleg Wadsworth, it is a neoclassical-style building and the oldest standing structure on the Portland peninsula.

Parlor
Parlor

Anne Longfellow Pierce, the poet’s younger sister lived in the house until her death in 1901, and left it to the Maine Historical Society with a set of instructions to follow. For example, she asked that the portrait of George Washington stay over the mantle in the parlor. She also stipulated that all the windows on the west side of the house stay shuttered. They were originally bolted shut because she didn’t want to see the ugly new building next door.

Summer Dining Room
Summer Dining Room

Among the highlights of the house is the summer dining room where Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow wrote his poem “The Rainy Day” – the author published his first poem in the Portland Gazette when he was 13. In another room, there is a leather trunk the poet used for his European travels between 1826 and 1829.

Sitting Room
Sitting Room

A few blocks away, a statue of Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow sits proudly in Longfellow Square at the intersection of Congress St. and State St.

Wadsworth-Longfellow's Statue
Wadsworth-Longfellow’s Statue
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Written by Cecile

Cécile Sune was born in Lyon, France, and her obsession with books started when she was 14. Her grandparents had lent her Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, and she spent part of the summer indoors reading. Needless to say, her tan didn't really improve that year! It was also around that time that Cécile fell in love with the English language. Several years later, in 1999, Cécile moved to Toronto, Canada, with her cat and 5 suitcases. Her love of reading greatly increased when she discovered that English books were much cheaper than French novels. In 2013, she decided to start a blog to share her passion. Cécile now lives in Ottawa, Canada, with her husband and their daughter, and works as a freelance translator (CS Revision).

Cecile