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The mission of Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site is to preserve and interpret the historically and culturally significant buildings, grounds, and collections which reflect the values and ideals of its occupants. As home and headquarters to General George Washington during the Siege of Boston (1775-1776), and home to poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and family (1837-1950), and one of the country’s finest examples of mid-Georgian architecture, the site offers insight into the many themes related to the country’s birth and evolving national identity.
"The Past and Present here unite
Beneath Time’s flowing tide,
Like footprints hidden by a brook,
But seen on either side. "
From: A Gleam of Sunshine
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1846
Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site was home to one of America’s foremost writers and scholars. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lived at 105 Brattle Street, Cambridge, for most of his literary career, from 1837 until his death in 1882. The site is also closely associated with George Washington, who made the house his headquarters between 1775-1776, while serving as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. In addition, John Vassall and Andrew Craigie, among the largest landowners in eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Cambridge, invested much of their wealth in this property during their respective periods of residence. The house, built in 1759 by Caribbean plantation owner and Loyalist Major John Vassall, is an outstanding example of mid-Georgian (mid-eighteenth century) architecture in the United States.
The structures, collections and grounds of Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site retain a high degree of historical integrity, making documentation and interpretation possible to a level of detail rarely realized in historic house museums. The house has also come to symbolize the embodiment of our colonial heritage and the foundation and flowering of our nation.