Longfellow House/ Washington’s Headquarters


Built in 1759, this house was home to its builder, John Vassal, for 15 years. In 1774, however, a mob of angry Patriots attacked the Loyalist houses along Tory Row, and the Vassals fled.

At this opportunity, the house was seized for George Washington’s quarters in 1775. Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and George’s fearless and faithful wife Martha would join George in these rooms.

After the Revolution, Andrew Craigie bought the mansion, along with half of the Fresh Pond area and most of East Cambridge. His widow turned it into a boarding house at which a young Henry Wadsworth Longfellow would rent two rooms.

When Longfellow married Fanny Appleton in 1843, the house became a wedding gift from textile tycoon Nathan Appleton, the bride’s father. He would also buy them the lot across the street so their view of the Charles River would never be obstructed. After his death, a memorial park dedicated to him would, in fact, block the view.