In an age when most Americans would be hard-pressed to name more than a few of their country’s poets, it might seem unlikely that poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was one of the most famous Americans of his time, and known around the world. But, with epic poems celebrating America’s history, including “Paul Revere’s Ride” and “The Song of Hiawatha,” that was exactly the case.
Longfellow spent most of the first 35 years of his life in the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, which is now open to the public. “Ah,” he wrote, “to build, to build! That is the noblest of all the arts.” When this house was constructed in 1786, it was the first dwelling in Portland made entirely of brick. Today it’s the oldest standing structure on the Porland Peninsula, and full of originial furnishing that charts the fluctuations of 19th-century American taste. Friendly tour guides make the history come alive. And don’t miss the Longfellow Garden behind the house, a peaceful place in the middle of bustling Portland.
While you’re at the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, check out the Maine Historical Society’s adjacent gallery. Here you’ll find a revolving series of exhibits displaying different aspects of Maine’s rich history, and, in the gift shop, an extensive collection of Maine history books, as well as other souvenirs.
489 Congress St.
Brown Research Library
November-April: Wednesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm
May-October: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm
Closed holidays and some holiday weekends, and the last two weeks of the year. Call ahead in inclement weather.
Library Tours on first Wednesday of Jan, Mar, May, July, Sept, Nov at noon.
Wadsworth–Longfellow House and Garden
May Tour Schedule: Mon-Fri & Sun: First tour departs at 12pm, last tour at 4pm. Sat: First tour departs at 10:30am, last tour at 4PM.
June-October Tour Schedule: Mon-Sat: First tour departs at 10:30am; last tour at 4pm. Sun: First tour departs at 12pm; last tour at 4pm.
Garden Hours: Open to the public during the season from 10am – 5pm.
November-April: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm
May-October: May-October: Monday-Saturday, 10-5; Sunday, 12-5.
Starting in June: Starting June 4, the store will also be open later on Thursdays, until 7pm
Seniors, AAA, & Students: $7
Children under 17: $2, (under 6 free)
Price includes admission to museum.
For more, visit: www.mainehistory.org