The Middle Arsenal at the Springfield Armory was constructed in 1830 and was the first three-story building on the Armory grounds. Used to store arms, it was here that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow visited during his second honeymoon in 1843 and that his wife, Fanny, compared the stored arms in their racks to a pipe organ. Encouraged to write an anti-war poem by his wife, Longfellow was inspired to use her imagery and write the poem, “The Arsenal at Springfield” (1845). After the completion of the Main Arsenal, in 1851, the Middle Arsenal was converted to other purposes, including being used during the Civil War, along with other earlier arsenal buildings, as part of an assembly line, leading to the Main Arsenal, where finished weapons were stored. The building is now part of the campus of Springfield Technical Community College.
The Wayside Inn in Sudbury is the oldest operating Inn in the United States and was immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow‘s sequence of poems, Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863). Built in 1716, the Inn was first known as Howe’s Tavern, for its first innkeeper, David Howe. His descendants continued to operate the Inn, adding to the original structure over time, until 1861. These included Howe’s son, Ezekiel, who led the Sudbury militia to Concord for the battle of April 19, 1775. After passing from the Howes to new owners, the Inn served as a boarding house for temporary lodgers. In October of 1862, Longfellow and his publisher, James Fields, visited the Inn and this inspired the poet to write Tales of a Wayside Inn, which became a bestseller. Although it continued to serve as a boarding house, the Wayside Inn soon began to attract tourists, anxious to see the place which had captured the public imagination. In 1896, Edward Rivers Lemon, a wealthy Medford wool merchant, purchased the Inn as a business venture, inviting the Society of Colonial Wars to meet there in 1897. On that occasion, the orator Samuel Arthur Bent gave a speech entitled: “The Wayside Inn—Its History and Literature.” Lemon intended the Inn to be a literary and artistic retreat and a group artists, poets, and writers, known as the Paint and Clay Club, met there frequently.
The Wayside Inn entered a new phase of its existence when it was purchased by Henry Ford in 1923. He intended to create a living museum of Americana centered on the historic building and bought many acres of land around it. He built a gristmill and the non-denominational Martha-Mary Chapel on the property and and also relocated a schoolhouse from Sterling, which he believed was the actual building mentioned in Sarah Josepha Hale‘s poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The property was placed in a non-profit trust in 1947, with many representatives of the Ford family on the Board, and this transitioned to governance by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1957. Restoration of the Inn was necessary, with help from the Ford family, after a devastating fire in December 1955. As of 1960, the Inn came under the governance of local trustees. There would be no further support coming from Ford interests and there was no endowment, but by this time the Inn had become self-sufficient as an inn, restaurant and museum.
Below are pictures of some interiors in the museum section of the Inn: Read More
The Nathan Appleton House, at 39 Beacon Street, and its partner, the Daniel Parker House, at no. 40, were designed for the two former business partners by Alexander Parris, a noted Boston architect. Built in 1818, a fourth floor was added to both houses in 1888. These two bowfront row houses which are transitional between the Federal and Greek Revival styles, at one time mirrored each other more closely, but the Appleton house had an extra window added on each of its floors. Nathan Appleton was a pioneering textile manufacturer. The marriage of the poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, to Appleton‘s daughter, Fanny, took place in the house in 1843. From 1914 into the 1990s, the building housed the Women’s City Club of Boston. In more recent times, it has been subdivided into condominiums. There is a video of the house’s exterior on YouTube.
At 115 Brattle Street in Cambridge is a Colonial Revival style house built in 1887 for Annie Allegra Longfellow Thorp, a daughter of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Inspired by her father’s eighteenth century Georgian house nearby, the daughter’s home was designed by her cousin, Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow, Jr. Having worked in the office of H.H. Richardson, A.W. Longfellow started his own firm and was known for his Romanesque and Colonial Revival designs.
Next to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s home on Brattle Street in Cambridge is the house of one of his three daughters, Edith, who had married Richard Henry Dana III, son of the author, Richard Henry Dana, who was a friend of Longfellow. Built in 1887, it is a Queen Anne house with twin gables on the facade. The house is now home to the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
The Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House has important associations with both the Revolutionary War and nineteenth century American literature. This impressive Georgian-style mansion was built in 1759 by Maj. John Vassall on what is now Brattle Street in Cambridge. The area was known as Tory Row because of the many houses built there by loyalists, like Vassall. When anti-Tory sentiment rose during the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1774, Vassall and his wife, who was the sister of the royal lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, fled to Boston and eventually left for England. The abandoned house was occupied by the Marblehead Regiment in 1775 and then became the headquarters of General George Washington from July 1775 to April 1776 (during the Siege of Boston).
After the war, the house came into the possession of Andrew Craigie, who had been the Continental Army’s first Apothecary General. He added porches to the sides of the house and an extension on the back. When he died, in 1819, he left his wife, Elizabeth in debt. Over the next two decades, she would take in boarders to make ends meet, including many Harvard students. In 1837, one of her boarders was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, then a professor of modern languages at Harvard. In 1843, when Longfellow married Fanny Appleton, her father, the wealthy industrialist Nathan Appleton, acquired the house to give the newlyweds as a wedding gift. Longfellow would live there until his death in 1882, passing the property on to his children. His daughter, Alice Longfellow, later commissioned a new garden in the Colonial Revival style.
In 1913, his surviving children established the Longfellow House Trust to preserve the house as a monument to their father and George Washington, as well as to Georgian architecture. In 1962, the house became a National Historic Landmark and the Trust donated it to the National Park Service and it is today open to the public as the Longfellow National Historic Site.