Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site | PARK AT A GLANCE

Longfellow House

Longfellow House

PARK OVERVIEW

Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site preserves the house that was once used by General George Washington as his headquarters from April 1775 to March 1776 during the Siege of Boston, an attempt by the American Patriots to drive British troops out of the city in the early stages of the American Revolution. Sixty-one years later, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow began renting a room in the house when he was a Harvard professor. After marrying Fanny Appleton in 1843, his father-in-law purchased the house as a wedding present for the new couple. Longfellow lived there until his death in 1882.

Today the interior of the house can be seen by guided tours only, which are held from late May through the end of October. While both Longfellow and Washington are associated with the house, the main focus of the tour is Longfellow. The house is fully furnished with items that once belonged to him or to his heirs who lived there after his death. Park Rangers also conduct a walking tour of the Cambridge neighborhood and a guided tour of the gardens.

The National Park Service acquired the house in 1972 after the Longfellow descendants could no longer afford its upkeep. The park was originally called the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow National Historic Site. The name was changed to include George Washington in 2011.


PARKING

There is no visitor parking lot at the Longfellow House other than a few spots for disabled visitors. Everyone else must park on the street, and all spaces near the home are for permit holders only due to it being a residential neighborhood. The closet general street parking that I found is a five-minute walk from the house. Just keep driving around until you find a spot that does not say Permit Required. These spots are limited to two hours, but this is plenty of time to tour the house.

The National Park Service acknowledges that people often come to visit the house by vehicle, but leave without stopping because they can’t find a parking spot. Therefore, the better option is to take the subway (aka The T). The closest station is Harvard Station, a half-mile walk to the house (10-15 minutes for most people).


OPERATING HOURS

The Longfellow House is open from Memorial Day weekend through the end of October on Wednesdays through Sundays. Doors open at 9:30 AM and the house closes at 5 PM. The gardens and surrounding grounds are open every day from dawn to dusk.

Times can always change, so before making travel plans be sure to check the National Park Service’s official Operating Hours and Seasons web page for Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site. For a current tour schedule, see the park’s Guided Tours web page.


FEES

There are no fees associated with visiting or touring Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site.


SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

A typical visit to the Longfellow House entails a tour of the house and a walk around the small garden outside. There is a one-hour and a twenty-minute tour option. The garden, which is no bigger than the front yard of a typical middle-class house, can be seen in roughly fifteen minutes. If you plan to attend a neighborhood walking tour, add an hour.

Arbor in the Longfellow House garden was completed in 1905

Arbor in the Longfellow House garden was completed in 1905

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Last updated on July 12, 2020
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