Friday, September 2, 2011

Portsmouth, NH

I left my friends in the WINs and headed towards Fremont, NH, to visit a friend. We set off one day to explore the historical sites around Portsmouth, NH.

Phillips Exeter Academy, founded 1781.

Exeter Town Offices. Exeter is considered the Revolutionary Capital. Founded in 1638, it was one of the four original towns in the colony. Following New Hampshire provisional declaration of independence in January 1776, it served as the capital of the new state during the American Revolution.

A lighthouse in the middle of Portsmouth Harbor.

Fort Stark was one of 7 forts built to protect Portsmouth Harbor. Although some earthen fortification as early as the mid 1800s, it was reinforced during WWII.

I saw numerous homes built in the early 1600s through the 1700s. This home was built in 1676.

My friend Regina standing in from of the main entrance to Fort Constitution.

Standing in front of the north sally port. Fort Constitution was original called the William and Mary Castle. Some say the first battle of the American Revolution actually occured here, when in December 1774, four months before his famous ride, Paul Revere rode from Boston to Portsmouth to warn the colonists that the British were sending reinforcements to the Castle William and Mary.

Wentworth by the Sea, a luxury resort hotel and spa, was originally built in 1874.

The lighthouse at Fort Constitution. The current lighthouse was built in 1877, but the first lighthouse built on this spot was built in 1771 out of wood. It was the 10th lighthouse built in North America.

Looking across the harbor at Fort McClary.

Portsmouth Naval Prison, modeled after Alcatrez by being placed on an island with tidal currents to deter escape, looks like a castle and was occupied from 1908-1974. Prior to the naval prison, this was also the site of Fort Sullivan from 1775-1866. Nearby was built Camp Long, where in 1898 over 1600 Spanish prisoners from the Spanish-American War were held in the stockade. Camp Long was dismantled in 1901.

North Congregational Church in Portsmouth, NH, organized in 1671. The original structure was built on this site in 1712 and replaced by this structure in 1855. Portsmouth was founded in 1623.

This building was originally built in 1780, then rebuilt in 1880. It looks as if part of the building burnt at one time. It is still in use today.

A man was playing this instrument on the sidewalk. If anyone recognizes it, please comment and let me know what it is. Notice he is winding it up with one hand, and pressing down wooden keys with the other. He played a lot of celtic music with it.

Another look at downtown Portsmouth. Notice the different building fronts, each painted a different color or have different color bricks.

The Moffat-Ladd house, built in 1763. It was the home of William Whipple, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The U.S.S. Albacore, a naval submarine, commissioned and in use from 1953-1972. It was a research vessel and never saw battle, but was significant in the design of the teardrop hull form used in modern vessels.

The stockade, built in the mid 1800s, at Fort McClary. This site though, has been used for nearly 275 years to protect the river mouth and harbor. It was actively manned through 5 wars, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and World War I.

I did not get to go by Sir Williams house, but his history in interesting. William Pepperell was a shipping magnate, worth $1,000,000 in todays money, with over 150 of his ships plying these waters. He owned the property on which the fort is located and back in the early 1700s erected Fort William in his name. But he was a Tory, and during the revolution the colonists confiscated his property, including the fort and his home, and renamed it Fort McClary. Eventually the Pepperell family repurchased the property and descendents still live in the home on Kittery Place today.

During the Civil War large masonry forts were being constructed. But before many of these forts could be completed, new weaponry made them obsolete. These blocks lay in the same spot today as they were when construction was stopped. The concrete masonry wall was never finished.

This is called a 'saltbox' house. Since the sloping roof it has only one story in back, but 2 stories in front. It was popularized by the Queen Anne's taxation of houses of more than one story. Since the roof sloped in the back to the first floor, the house was exempt from the tax. This home was built in 1725 and the owner allowed me to come in and take a look. It still has the original 4 fireplaces, 2 downstairs and 2 upstairs. The inside walls are large wooden planks, much like a log cabin.

It was a lot of fun visiting with Regina and her family, but now its time to move on to Boston.

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