Windmill Cottage

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Windmill Cottage
Windmill Cottage Longfellow East Greenwich RI.jpg
Windmill Cottage in 2008
Windmill Cottage is located in Rhode Island
Windmill Cottage
Windmill Cottage is located in the US
Windmill Cottage
Location East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Coordinates 41°39′49″N 71°27′23″W / 41.66361°N 71.45639°W / 41.66361; -71.45639Coordinates: 41°39′49″N 71°27′23″W / 41.66361°N 71.45639°W / 41.66361; -71.45639
Built 1790
Part of East Greenwich Historic District (#74000036)
NRHP Reference # 73000051[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP May 22, 1973
Designated CP June 13, 1974

Windmill Cottage is a historic house and former windmill at 144 Division Street in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. It was the home of George Washington Greene, a former American consul to Rome and historian. It was purchased for Greene by his friend, the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


The house was built around 1790. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow bought the cottage in 1866 for his friend, historian George Washington Greene, and had a circa–1818 windmill moved to the site in 1870 and attached to the cottage.[2][3] The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.[1]

ca. 1900 image of the cottage

Longfellow first met Greene while traveling from Toulon to Pisa. Greene had moved to Italy for his health and the two bonded over a common interest in Italian language, antiquities, and contemporary art.[4] It was Greene who first introduced Longfellow to the Italian poet Dante Alighieri.[5] In the 1860s, Greene was one of the members of the "Dante Club", a group of scholars who assisted Longfellow in his translation of Divine Comedy.[6]

The windmill allegedly inspired Longfellow's poem, "The Windmill."[2] About ten years after it was attached to the home, Longfellow sent Greene a copy of the poem and, in a letter dated April 18, 1880, speculated "I think this is the first ever poem on the subject." It was published in The Youth's Companion issue for May 27, 1880, edited by Hezekiah Butterworth.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b Paul Pence, "Longfellow's Windmill Cottage," Rhode Island Roads.
  3. ^ "Narragansett Bay" By Edgar Mayhew Bacon (New York: Putnam, 1904) [1] (accessed on Google Book Search November 15, 2008).
  4. ^ Calhoun, Charles C. Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004: 55–56. ISBN 0-8070-7026-2
  5. ^ Lansing, Richard. The Dante Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis, 2000: 571. ISBN 0-8153-1659-3
  6. ^ Calhoun, Charles C. Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004: 237. ISBN 0-8070-7026-2
  7. ^ Gale, Robert L. A Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Companion. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003: 29. ISBN 0-313-32350-X