Keywords: Workers housing
The Wadsworth-Longfellow house is the oldest building on the Portland peninsula, the first historic site in Maine, a National Historic Landmark, home to three generations of Wadsworth and Longfellow family members -- including the boyhood home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The history of the house and its inhabitants provide a unique view of the growth and changes of Portland -- as well as of the immediate surroundings of the home.
The collector of Portland was the key to federal patronage in Maine, though other ports and towns had collectors. Through the 19th century, the revenue was the major source of Federal Government income. As in Colonial times, the person appointed to head the custom House in Casco Bay was almost always a leading community figure, or a well-connected political personage.
Throughout New England, barns attached to houses are fairly common. Why were the buildings connected? What did farmers or families gain by doing this? The phenomenon was captured in the words of a children's song, "Big house, little house, back house, barn," (Thomas C. Hubka <em>Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn, the Connected Farm Buildings of New England,</em> University Press of New England, 1984.)
Gradually workers could commute into the city and they worked in offices in taller buildings. In this view, a hard-top coupe is parked in front of…