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Monday, November 26, 2012


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(image from Poetry Lovers' Page)
no copyright infringement intended

The poet I first encountered when coming to America was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Of course, there were indirect encounters: passing by his house in Cambridge, and walking on the Longfellow Bridge over the Charles River.

I was visiting my son's family and they were living by that time in Watertown, MA. I liked to walk every day up to Cambridge, it was about forty minutes, and the house of the poet on Brattle Street was each time coming in my view. Sometimes I was going further toward Boston,  passing over the Salt and Pepper Bridge, as Longfellow Bridge is nicknamed (of course, much more times I was using the T - but the occasions I walked on the bridge were really rewarding).

(image from The Boston Globe)
no copyright infringement intended

Longfellow's mansion had also served as headquarters for General Washington during the Siege of Boston, for almost a year (July 1775 - April 1776). But that had been long time before Longfellow's birth. The poet moved there in 1837.

And the house is older than Longfellow and Washington. It's known as the Craigie House, and its history is pretty long - I'd give you here a short explanation though: built in 1753 for John Vassal, it passed to Andrew Craigie, Washington's Apothecary General; after Andrew Craigie's death, his widow was forced by financial troubles to take in boarders; it was so that Longfellow came there as a tenant; later Mrs. Craigie sold the house to Nathan Appleton, who eventually gave it to the poet as a wedding gift.

Brattle Street, where the historic house is situated, used to be named in the old times the King's Highway. And that makes sense, as Longfellow was a king in his poetry realm.

(image from Rainy Day Magazine)
no copyright infringement intended

(A Life in Books)


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