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Over the weekend, we dodged a dangerous storm as Lee moved further east through Maine and Maritime Canada, but nearly 70 years ago, the Portsmouth area wasn`t as fortunate.🌀
On August 31, 1954, Hurricane Carol struck the seacoast with 100 mph winds, making landfall in Connecticut & heading straight through New Hampshire. A week later, Hurricane Edna impacted the area as the storm hit Cape Cod before veering east through the Gulf of Maine.
Within our online catalog, we have a series of "Hurricane, 1954" negatives by prolific commercial photographer Douglas Armsden (1918-2009) of Kittery Point, Maine. The images depict local storm cleanup by the New England Telephone & Telegraph Company (NETT)🔔. While the catalog record doesn`t offer more information, these Armsden images most likely capture the aftermath of Carol.
According to the Portsmouth Herald, Carol knocked out 8,000 telephones in the Portsmouth area & 4,000 in the Dover area.
The newspaper also reported a large crane from the Newington (Pease) air base contractor that aided in "materially" lifting trees and other heavy objects from the lines. This crane is believed to be in the first image clearing downed tree limbs.
With widespread damage, there were 500 emergency workmen in the state, including 350 from Vermont, New York, and New Jersey. The second image shows NETT workmen mobilizing at the Boston & Maine depot, which formerly stood on Deer Street in the vicinity of the intersection of Maplewood Avenue. NETT emergency headquarters were established at the Rockingham Hotel to direct and coordinate the repair efforts. While not pictured here, one of the Armsden photos shows a scene inside the Rockingham.
Finally, the third image shows a workman clearing a downed tree from a fallen telephone pole in the Portsmouth area. Does anyone recognize the street? You can also see a boy on his bike watching the man from inside the damage area.😳
[Armsden Photograph Collection, P15.0083]
#hurricanecarol #hurricaneseason #newenglantelephoneandtelegraphco #DouglasArmsden #collectpreserveshare📖 #localhistory #PortsmouthNH #nh #Maine #seacoast❤
Back to school!🚸🍎
It`s been a few weeks for most, but we hope everyone is settling comfortably into their routines.🤞
Here is a class photo of the Cabot Street School kindergarten standing outside of the school on the corner of Cabot and State streets in Portsmouth, circa 1907.🥰
The students are all unidentified except for one child: Mary Washburn Shimer (1902-1938), the young girl with flowers on her hat, upper right, standing on the school steps.
[Gift of Virginia Shimer Fitts, daughter of Mary Washburn Shimer, PS3022_01.]
According to our records, William F. Currier of Portsmouth designed and built the Cabot Street School on the site of an earlier school in 1860. Originally, plans were for a single-story structure, but it was amended to two stories with a belfry and fire bell. In the 20th century, the city`s district schoolhouses consolidated into modern and larger school buildings.
In 1974, historian and librarian Dorothy Vaughan (1904-2004) gave a historical presentation on the Cabot Street School. She shared a memory of one of the teachers.
"I would like to mention the name of a very lovely lady whom I knew when I was a girl, she lived next door to me and her name was Bertha Colburn. She was the kindergarten teacher at Cabot Street School. I used to play whist with Miss Colburn and her land-lady, Mrs. Abby Rowell Tredick; they were dear, sweet, beautiful people."
By the 1970s, the old school was the home of the Church of God, as seen in this circa 1975 film negative from the Portsmouth Advocates.
[Portsmouth Advocates, P0040_0082]
Today, the wooden school house has been converted into condos.
Plan of the City of Portsmouth by J.B. Beers & Co., 1876 [M0083]
#cabotstreetschool #cabotstreet #kindergarten #collectpreserveshare📖 #localhistory #PortsmouthNH #Maine #seacoast❤
For four decades, Ralph "Gilley" Gilbert (1908-1986) operated a hot dog cart in Market Square. Each evening, the dog cart was towed into the Square, and each time, Gilley paid a 50 cent fine for parking his cart in a restricted area next to the North Church. In addition to hot dogs, he served hamburgers, coffee, and the like to locals, servicemen & nighthawks. 🌭🍔☕️
In 1974, when Gilley planned to retire, city officials & members of the community organized a retirement party for him, naming it Gilley Day. About 2,000 people bought tickets to the event, which was held on August 26. #onthisdayinhistory
The day began with a parade through Market Square, followed by a presentation at Leary Field with a hot dog & bean supper and a beer garden. People also wore Gilley t-shirts!
Gifts were presented to Gilley during the day, including tickets to the Caribbean for him and his wife, Allah M. Gilbert (1909-1991).🏝
Gilley`s final tow out of the Square occurred in the early hours of September 30, 1974. The Kennedy family had owned the dining cart, & afterward, the cart was moved to Fleet Street permanently, where the business has since changed hands, but it`s still known today as Gilley`s.
The legality of Gilley`s in the Square seemed to be debated over many years. On Dec. 2, 1974, a Portsmouth Herald editorial opposed any effort to re-establish "the dog cart" in town.
"Gilley`s, with all due respect to Ralph Gilbert, who had no control over the situation, was a public nuisance, attracting, like flies around a honey cage, all the town`s undesirables at weird hours of the early morn."
Photographer J. D. Lincoln (1933-2022) captured the photo of Gilley, circa 1974, and he featured the image in his book "People of Portsmouth" published in 1982. 👉Lincoln`s work is now on display in our latest exhibit, "Peace, Love & Portsmouth: Celebrating the City`s Cultural Renaissance through the Lens of J. D. Lincoln." The free exhibit is open from 1 to 4 p.m., Tuesday thru Saturday, in our Randall Gallery. ☮️❤️⚓️
📸 J. D. Lincoln, PS0520c & PS0518.
#ralphgilbert #gilleys #marketsquare #jdlincoln #PeaceLovePortsmouth #collectpreserveshare📖 #localhistory #PortsmouthNH
On the Portsmouth homefront during World War II, Mayor Charles M. Dale (1893-1977) and Comdr. Richard A. Pinkham (1898-1976), of the Frank E. Booma Post, Amercian Legion, presented Andrew Jarvis, chairman of the Portsmouth Red Cross chapter, the keys to a new Red Cross ambulance. Legionnaires, nurses, and others of the Red Cross look on during the Aug. 8, 1943, ceremony at the Rockingham County Court House on State Street in Portsmouth. 🔑🚑⛑️
Born in Greece, Jarvis (1890-1990), at center, was a restauranteur, owning Dore Confectionary, Jarvis Candy Store, Apollo Lunch, and Jarvis Tea Room. He served as mayor in 1958-1959. In the photo, Pinkham was at Jarvis` left & Dale at right.
On the steps of the court house stood another future mayor. At the time, Mary Carey Dondero (above Dale`s shoulder, at left) was a member of the Red Cross, and 16 months after this photograph, Dondero (1894-1960) was elected as the first female mayor of Portsmouth and NH. Dondero had won in a recount, defeating her opponent by just seven votes.🗳 #everyvotecounts
Who was her opponent? Rockingham County Commisioner Ira A. Brown (1887-1975), who was in this photo standing on the first step on the far left and wearing a dark blazer and white pants.🫖🍵
On Aug. 11, 1943, the Portsmouth Herald described the ceremony and included this first photograph (one of three) by A. L. Belcher of East Kingston, NH. #otd
The sign on the left stated that the court house was the Red Cross Recruiting Station for Army and Navy Nurses. Erected in 1891, the court house was originally home to both the superior and probate courts. In 1968, it was demolished for bank parking.
[📸 P0050_099 & P0001_0187]
#RedCross #PortsmouthMayors #RockinghamCountyCourtHouse #StateStreet #WWII #LostPortsmouth #collectpreserveshare📖 #localhistory #PortsmouthNH #seacoast❤
Today (Saturday, July 22) marks the anniversary of blowing up Henderson`s Point in 1905.💥⚓️🚢
At the time, it was the largest man-made explosion on earth, using 36 tons of dynamite implanted inside the coffer dam, which was constructed off Henderson`s Point.
In the first photo, you can see two men standing at or near the bottom of the coffer dam in what would normally be the Piscataqua River bed. The coffer dam was just offshore from Seavey`s Island at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.
In the second photo, you can see the Piscataqua River and the coffer dam from the vicinity of today`s naval prison. We zoomed into the photo so you could see the coffer dam and the scenery behind it. On the far left is the road and bridge to New Castle. Directly behind the dam is Peirce Island, and the hummocks are the earthenworks of Fort Washington. Built during the Revolutionary War, the fort was later used in the War of 1812.
Finally, the last image is the massive explosion from the vicinity of the naval prison. The removal of the ledge enabled the modernization of the shipyard.
The photographer for inside the coffer dam and the explosion was Richard D. McDonough (1876-1954), a journalist who worked for several local newspapers, including the Portsmouth Herald. In 1898, he was the only journalist to gain access onto the St. Louis, a ship transporting the Spanish prisoners to the navy yard. He also covered the S-10 running aground off New Castle, the Squalus disaster, and the will of Mary Baker Eddy. He served as the truant and probation officer for Portsmouth schools from 1912 until 1949 and owned a sporting goods store.
The photographer for the river view was William M. Lamson (1870-1962). From 1900 to 1907, Lamson was an officer stationed at the navy yard, where he served as the expert aid for the Bureau of Yards and Docks. During WWI, he was a major in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
[Images from the Thomas C. Wilson Collection, P0001_1624, 1628 & 1638.]
#hendersonspoint #pullandbedamned #PiscataquaRiver #PortsmouthNavalShipyard
#kitterymaine #PortsmouthNH #nh #Maine #seacoast❤
Tipping our hats to the weekend. 🎩
Here`s a view of the horse watering fountain and gas lamp that once stood in Market Square, circa 1890.🐴⛲️💡
Behind the fountain, a small crowd has gathered around the foot of Daniel Street to see a man perform atop the former Pythian Hall flagpole. Impressive. 🤔
Pythian Hall is most often referred to as the Pickering Block. Some of the storefronts seen in the photograph include the following: M. Goodrich`s Books & Stationery in Market Square; Western Union and W. J. Sampson and Co. on Daniel Street; and Lewis E. Staples, J. K. Manning boots, and J. W. Davis, all three on Market Street. 🛎📝👢
We zoomed into the picture to see the stores and the flagpole performer better.👀
While we don`t recommend climbing any flagpoles (ascending our old stairs is an accomplishment around here), we sure hope you reach the proverbial summit in whatever you do this weekend. Stay safe and enjoy the view!
[Patch Collection, P0002_006]
#marketsquare #pythianhall #pickeringblock #acrobats #fountains #collectpreserveshare📖 #localhistory #portsmouthnh #nh #Maine #seacoast❤
Here`s a circa 1900 view of the North End, looking from Market Street and up Green Street toward the intersection of Vaughan.
During the early 20th century until its destruction, the North End neighborhood was predominantly Italian immigrants, but for much of the 19th century, Irish immigrants lived in the North End.🇮🇪🇮🇹🇺🇲
For many years, the cape with dark shutters was the home of the widow Bridget Corcoran (Cochrane), an Irishwoman who immigrated to America with her family in the early 1850s. Her husband, Michael (1817-1872), was from County Cork, and records list him as a laborer in Portsmouth. The couple had at least three children who died young, and one son, Daniel (1854-1901), who lived with his mother on Green Street.🇮🇪☘️
But Bridget (1826-1911) even outlived her son. Upon Daniel`s death, the Portsmouth Herald described him as "formerly a well-known printer and one very skilled in his work, [who] died at the insane ward of the Brentwood house of correction." His cause of death was general paresis, a form of neurosyphilis, which generally occurs in people suffering from untreated syphilis for many years.
Over a year later, on August 11, 1902, Bridget headed for a midday walk to Freeman`s Point (in the vicinity of Atlantic Heights and the I-95 bridge). City Councilman Daniel J. Scott (1879-1959) and his wife Mary Clarke (1873-1955) accompanied the older woman, taking a shortcut along the railroad tracks. The son of Irish immigrants, Daniel Scott worked at the Jones Brewery and later the navy yard. Mary was 20 when she immigrated from Dublin. The couple raised three children at 30 Dover Street.
We include a full transcription of the Herald`s account of Bridget`s ill-fated walk across the Portsmouth and Dover railroad trestle, which still exists off Market Street near the new Bohenko Gateway Park.
By the early 1970s, urban renewal destroyed nearly the entire North End.
In the photo, the only feature that remains today is the hill (at left), a well-known hang-out for the North End kids who played King of the Mountain & other games.
#bridgetcorcoran #northend #Irish #collectpreserveshare📖 #localhistory #portsmouthnh #seacoast❤
Pictured is the launching of the first three wooden steamships at the Shattuck Shipyard in Newington, NH, on the Fourth of July in 1918. #onthisdate
During WWI, Louis H. Shattuck (1874-1919) opened the shipyard in 1918, and it was one of New England`s last and largest wooden building yards, closing in 1919.
The three vessels were the Roy H. Beattie, Chibiabos, and the Milton. Launched first was the Chibiabos, center, and christened by Althea Louise Shattuck, daughter of L. H. Shattuck, the president of the Shattuck shipyard.
These ships were part of the Fourth of July "Tidal Wave" of 95 ships launched across the country in 1918 for the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation.
Today, the Shattuck shipyard site is part of the Sprague Terminal River Road off Shattuck Way in Newington. From the Piscataqua River (or Google satellite 👀), you can still see the remnants of the old shipyard, including the rotting hulls of unfinished ships.
[Given in memory of L. H. Shattuck and his daughter Althea,
Shattuck Shipyard Collection, P0065_007]
#shattuckshipyard #fourthofjuly #independenceday #newingtonnh #PiscataquaRiver #collectpreserveshare📖 #localhistory #portsmouthnh #nh #Maine #seacoast❤
Happy Father`s Day!👨🍼👨🏻
Here is marine artist and architect John Prentiss Benson (1865-1947) with his eldest child, Marjorie, in 1896.
Born into a well-to-do family from Salem, MA, John wanted to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Frank, who was an artist, but he was advised that one artist in the family was enough. Instead, John trained as an architect at two Paris schools, and when he returned to the States, he joined the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White in New York City. Later, he started his own firm with a Paris classmate. It seemed, though, his passion was elsewhere.🎨
According to family lore, while vacationing in England for his birthday in 1921, John received a wire from Frank, now a well-known artist. His brother wrote, "If you`re going to paint—PAINT!" 😤
And with that encouraging ultimaum, John shipped the first paintings to New York, where six were sold. At age 56, he became a full-time painter with a focus on seascapes. 🌊⛵️
Fittingly, in 1925, he purchased "Willowbanks," a grand home overlooking the Piscataqua River off Whipple Road in Kittery. His studio was across the street on the corner of Tilton Avenue.
With his wife, Bessie, they raised five children, but by the time the couple had moved to Kittery, they were grandparents, affectionately known as "Poppity" and "Goggity." 😊
In June 2004, the first major exhibit of his work "A Retrospective Exhibition: The Artistic Legacy of John Prentiss Benson" was held in the Randall Gallery here at the Athenaeum. Co-curators were Nick Baker and Margaret Betts, grandchildren of Benson. Much of the above information was gathered from a 2004 profile on Benson by Proprietor Rose Eppard.
#happyfathersday #johnprentissbenson #willowbanks #kitterymaine #collectpreserveshare📖 #localhistory #PortsmouthNH #nh #seacoast❤