The Longfellow House Then & Now

It’s May and that means the Wadsworth-Longfellow House is once again open for the season! Whether you’ve never been on a tour or taken several, we invite you to visit us this spring or summer. Be sure to spend some time in the gardens behind the house, one of the hidden gems in downtown Portland.

There’s something special about a historic house, especially the oldest one in a modern city. If the walls of the Wadsworth-Longfellow House could talk, imagine what they’d say about the changes they’ve seen.

Wadsworth-Longfellow House, Portland, ca. 1920

Wadsworth-Longfellow House, Portland, ca. 1920

While this ca. 1920 image doesn’t look so different from today in some ways — the house is largely the same, the gate remains, passersby and cars still congregate along the street — very little about this moment in time remains. The elms succumbed to disease and were replaced by flowering trees, the library has since been heavily renovated, and the MHS administration building now sits on the house’s right.

And that’s just the aesthetics of one small street corner. We live in a city, a state, a world that would be entirely foreign to our fore-mothers and fathers if they were to return for a tour.

Fortunately, we have great images like this one to keep their world in mind as the changes continue on.


About mainechp

Maine Community Heritage Project at Maine Historical Society
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