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.
Since the establishment of the area's first licensed hotel in 1681, Portland has had a dramatic, grand and boisterous hotel tradition. The Portland hotel industry has in many ways reflected the growth and development of the city itself. As Portland grew with greater numbers of people moving through the city or calling it home, the hotel business expanded to fit the increasing demand.
Two shipyards in South Portland, built quickly in 1941 to construct cargo ships for the British and Americans, produced nearly 270 ships in two and a half years. Many of those vessels bore the names of notable Mainers.
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow loved his boyhood home of Portland, Maine. Born on Fore Street, the family moved to his maternal grandparents' home on Congress Street when Henry was eight months old. While he would go on to Bowdoin College and travel extensively abroad, ultimately living most of his adult years in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he never forgot his beloved Portland. Years after his childhood, in 1855, he wrote "My Lost Youth" about his undiminished love for and memories of growing up in Portland. This exhibit, using the poem as its focus, will present the Portland of Longfellow's boyhood. In many cases the old photos will be followed by contemporary images of what that site looked like 2004. Following the exhibit of 68 slides are five suggested lessons that can be adapted for any grade level, 3–12.
Grade Level: 3-5
Content Area: Social Studies
Lemuel Moody and the Portland Observatory Included are interesting facts to share with your students and for students, an interactive slide show available on-line at Maine Memory Network. The "Images" slide show allows students to place historical images of the Observatory in a timeline. Utilizing their observation skills students will place these images in chronological order by looking for changes within the built environment for clues. Also available is the "Maps" slide show, a series of maps from key eras in Portland's history. Students will answer the questions in the slide show to better understand the topography of Portland, the need for an Observatory and the changes in the landscape and the population centers.
Grade Level: 3-5
Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies, Visual & Performing Arts
This lesson is an overview of Captain Lemuel Moody's (builder of the Observatory) signaling system used at the Portland Observatory. Activities range from flag making to mapping and journal writing. The "Signals" slide show allows students to look at Captain Moody's general and private signals notebooks. Students are asked a series of questions about the notebooks and Moody's signaling system allowing for a better understanding of the principles behind the Observatory.