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Friends of the South End N EI G H B O R H O O D A SS O CI AT I O N N E W S L E T T ER

SP R I N G -SU M M ER 2016

Imagine the Future The Prescott Park Master Plan BY RUTH MARON

On a sunny Sunday afternoon on June 12 in Prescott Park, you were likely to see people wandering around the grounds with clipboards and pens, carefully surveying the 10-acre site. Some walked in groups, engaged in deep conversation—others wandered alone taking pictures, writing notes and filling out a survey form.

An Exhilarating Exhibit:

Portsmouth Privateers in Two Wars BY K AT H L EEN B O D U CH

Just when you thought you knew it all about Portsmouth, along comes a small but definitive exhibit such as the Privateering exhibit currently at the Wentworth-Gardner House that upsets that notion.

Through his extensive research, Richard Adams*, President of the Board of Directors of Wentworth Lear Historical Houses, has created a clear look at the businesses and the careers continued on page 3

What were they up to? They were on a mission to ‘Imagine the Future of Prescott Park’. An estimated 140 community members took part in the kick-off event for the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Committee on the Prescott Park Master Plan. David Moore, Assistant City Manager, introduced the information sessions that were held at 12:30 and 2:30 pm. Next came informative presentations by Gene Bolinger and Cheri Ruane

Questions to answer at the Privateering exhibit:  How many privateers died as prisoners in squalid conditions aboard British prison ships in New York Harbor? Why were the British so brutal to prisoners?

 For what kinds of goods were these

 How did colonial privateers sneak up on British ships without using cannons or being attacked?

 Which of the lovely houses on

citizens risking their lives? And how did their activities affect the war effort?

Portsmouth streets were built as a result of money made by privateering? Which of those mansions housed the owners’ 22 children?

 Who hid a cache of gold in a pail of

 How many children were raised by

grease when he was captured, but returned it to its rightful owner upon his release? What was his reward for his honesty?

continued on page 6

Ichabod Nichols and his wife in the now quiet and stately Wentworth Gardner house? More questions on page 3!

FOSE newsletter • Spring-Summer 2016


A Message from the Co-Presidents

Friends of the South End Neighborhood Association OFFICERS CO - P R ESI D EN T S

Hilary O’Neil Tom Hindle TREASURER

Martin Hanssmann SECR E TA RY


Ruth Maron B R I CK S & M O RTA R


Those long New England winters definitely make summer all the more enjoyable. The South End is humming with activity this year. We are celebrating our maritime tradition with exciting new exhibits at Strawbery Banke Museum and at the Wentworth Lear Houses. And, we are glancing back at summers past in an exhibit at Langdon House on ‘Touring New England’. We are also continuing a seafaring tradition with the Round Island Regatta. You can read more about these events in this issue. Summer also brings the opportunity to get out and mingle with your neighbors. We hope to see you at the National Night Out at Four Tree Island on Tuesday, August 2. And once again this year, FOSE will sponsor the 12th Annual Fairy House Tour. We will wrap up the season with the much-anticipated Lobster Fest at Sanders Lobsters on October 16th. Portsmouth is also looking to the future with the development of a Master Plan for Prescott Park. With all that is taking place in our City — and particularly in the South End — your involvement and input is needed now more than ever. Please take the time to follow the issues that impact us all and stay tuned as FOSE works to help facilitate open dialogue. Wishing you an enjoyable summer season! Best regards, Hilary and Tom


Jamie Baker



FOSE on the web:


Facebook page:

www.facebook/fosenh southend.ports.exchange@gmail.com


South End Exchange: (for FOSE members)

John McVay

FOSE Presidents:



Newsletter Editor :



Esther Kennedy

Dave Anderson David Kovick Robin Lurie-Meyerkopf Susan Shea Kristin Ward

A special thank you to our friends at CO N TAC T


M i n u t em a nM a n P r e s s for discounted printing services. 95 Brewery Lane, Portsmouth, NH 603-431-8989 • mmpdigital.com

Newsletter design by Eleanor Bradshaw


FOSE newsletter • Spring-Summer 2016

Trending Portsmouth Stay Informed… Get Involved

Privateering from page 1

that involved a relatively large portion of Portsmouth citizens during both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 in the activity called Privateering — not pirating. Ship owners, captains, and crew were commissioned by our government during both of those wars to augment our navy’s meager forces by attacking and capturing enemy vessels and their crews and goods in order to interfere with British trade and profit from the seized cargoes. Those ships were then confiscated and the goods upon them were sold at auction, involving many Portsmouth businessmen as both buyers and sellers, with the proceeds divided up among all those involved. Pirating, on the other hand, was the illegal

Esther Kennedy, South End resident and former City Councilor, has launched a new website called ‘Trending Portsmouth’. It is a source of valuable information about our City that includes a schedule of City Council meetings and public forums. The website also covers ‘hot topics’ such as the Prescott Park Master Plan, the Waste Water Treatment Plant, zoning issues, and the parking garage — to name just a few. You can sign up for regular updates and bulletins. Visit

confiscation of property by unauthorized parties. These Privateers were licensed to do what they did. When you go through the pieces of the display, you will see the names of some of Portsmouth’s most notable citizenry: Langdon, Sheafe, Penhallow, Parrott, Shaw, Dearing, Larkin, Nichols, Haven, Tobias Lear IV, and Sherburne. The photos and accompanying text tell the tale of merchants and brave seamen, some as young as 14, who were willing to risk their lives for the “riches” they might attain.



Touring New England, 1820–1970 JULY 22–OCTOBER 16, 2016

There is much to discover at this exhibit at the Wentworth Gardner House at 50 Mechanic Street. You are invited to attend as a part of your membership or as a part of your entry fee for the house tour. The exhibit will be on display until October 16th.

Touring New England explores why the region’s natural and built environments have been tourist destinations for centuries. The exhibition explores why and how tourists traveled, where they stayed, what they purchased, and how they recorded their experiences. Touring New England touches on the distinct characteristics of each New England state: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

More questions to answer at the Privateering exhibit:  How old was Portsmouth’s first millionaire? Who was he?  Which person who had profited from

privateering built an enormous, stately mansion on Woodbury Street; had an extravagant house warming party and then hanged himself in that very house that very night? Does that house still stand?

 Which future American President was

retained for the legal cause of a Portsmouth ship owner and privateer? Did he win? How long did the case take?

 Who built a large house on Middle Street,

ous and quite a few people were extremely successful, how many of those who speculated in privateering were unable to cover even the cost of the ship(s) they had to build?

 Which signer of the Declaration of

Independence loathed privateering? Why?

 Which privateer’s home did George

Washington consider the handsomest in town?

 FACT: Did you know that more

Americans, including privateers, died as British prisoners of war in New York harbor prison ships than in all the Revolutionary War battles combined?


then, because of his privateering success built a larger house next door? What caused him to return to his original home?

 Although privateering seemed glamor-

FOSE newsletter • Spring-Summer 2016


Port of Portsmouth: War, Trade and Travel Strawbery Banke Opens New Exhibit in Montrone Family Gallery BY RUTH MARON

Nestled at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, the Port of Portsmouth once thrived as a center for shipbuilding and commerce. As the northern-most ice-free port, this small city built a maritime economy that developed rapidly and boomed in the late 18th Century. The Puddle Dock neighborhood hummed with activity. Its residents worked building commercial and naval vessels in the boatyards along the Piscataqua River. They helped ensure the success of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the first American naval base. And Portsmouth seafarers brought home foreign goods that were sold in local shops. Strawbery Banke Museum celebrates the City’s maritime history and traditions in a new permanent exhibit — “Port of Portsmouth: War, Trade & Travel” — opening July 1st in the new Montrone Family Gallery. It is housed in the Thales Yeaton House,

recently rehabilitated as part of the Heritage House program. Thanks to an extraordinary anonymous donation in memory of Joseph and Jean Sawtelle, the exhibit showcases the famed Sawtelle Collection that includes eight ship models collected by Joseph Sawtelle who spent a lifetime researching, collecting and teaching the maritime history of Portsmouth. “This important exhibit realizes Joe Sawtelle’s vision of creating a maritime history exhibition permanently, and rightly, housed in Portsmouth,” said Larry Yerdon, President and CEO of Strawbery Banke.

The exquisitely detailed models anchor the exhibit, chronicling the City’s maritime history in war, trade and travel. One of the models on display is the Raleigh that was built at Rindge’s Wharf in 1777 by master shipbuilder James Hackett under the supervision of statesman John Langdon. It was one of the first thirteen warships authorized by the Continental Navy. The Raleigh is the centerpiece of the official Seal of the State of New Hampshire and adorns the State flag that now flies at the entrance to the Montrone Gallery. Other intricate models of well-known ships include Witch of the Wave, the Nightingale and USS Kearsage. The exhibit also features paintings and artifacts that help tell the rich story of life in this historic maritime community. A painting of St. John’s Church in 1874, attributed to Fidelia Bridges, is possibly the original art for an illustration accompanying Thomas Bailey Aldrich’s story, ‘An Old Town by the Sea’. Navigational tools include a quadrant made by William Hart, the only recorded instrument maker working in the Piscataqua region in the late eighteenth century. Other artifacts provide a glimpse at life and social customs in this bustling continued on next page


FOSE newsletter • Spring-Summer 2016

Port of Portsmouth from previous page

Seacoast town. A gold mourning ring was made in memory of Elizabeth Hickey, daughter of Captain James Hickey. Elizabeth died in 1783 at age 14, and was buried in St. John’s churchyard. Also on display are stoneware jugs used to carry rum and molasses to our shores. And a reconstructed earthenware punch bowl inscribed ‘Success to Trade’ was found during an archaeological excavation on Deer Street in Portsmouth. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is commemorated in a series of medallions of ships built there during more than 100 years in operation. This historically important exhibit opens a window to life on the shores of the Piscataqua. Told by skilled artisans and crafts people, ‘Port of Portsmouth’ takes the visitor on a maritime journey back through times of war, trade and travel.



There is a busy summer ahead in the South End. Be sure to mark your calendar for these upcoming events: National Night Out

The Annual FOSE Lobster Bake

Tuesday, August 2, 5:00 to 8:00 pm Four Tree Island

Sunday, October 16, 12:00 to 2:00 pm Sanders Lobster Company 54 Pray Street, Portsmouth

Join your fellow South Enders for the 32nd annual National Night Out picnic at Four Tree Island. National Night Out is an annual campaign to build police and community relations in our neighborhood. It’s a great way to meet new neighbors, touch base with old friends, and mingle with Portsmouth Police and Fire personnel. Flyers will be distributed to households in July with more information..

Volunteers are needed starting at 10 am for set up. The work is mostly easy, but some muscle is required for moving tables. Some other jobs would include table and chair set up, boil bag assembly and serving. We will also need a hamburger griller during the early part of the bake, and a clean-up crew at the end. It’s all in fun for the neighborhood. Come on out! Come help! Come eat! Come enjoy!

Seafarers Get Ready for the Round Island Regatta Celebrate Portsmouth’s maritime tradition by taking part in the sixth annual Round Island Regatta on Saturday, July 30th, 2016. This year, the Gundalow Company will host the race with Executive Director Molly Bolster at the helm. She will have an able assist from many of the volunteers who have contributed to the success of the race since its founding. Circling Round Island, the race will consist of five classes: Class 1 Sail for any boat that can sail around the island; Classes 2, 3, and 4 Single Paddle for kayaks, paddle boards and the like (broken into three age brackets); Class 5 multi-paddle for rowing boats, shells and double kayaks. They will be cheered on by enthusiastic spectators who line the banks of the Back Channel. Following the race, competitors and spectators are invited to attend the post-race picnic and awards ceremony at the Wentworth Lear Houses.

The 2015 Round Island Regatta

“We are honored to continue the Round Island Regatta tradition,” said Molly Bolster. “Proceeds from the race will help support the Gundalow Company’s award-winning program known as Celebrating our Rivers for 2,000 local students each year.”

In case of rain, the event will be held on July 31st .All competitors must pre-register for the event. Visit www. roundislandregatta.com or www. gundalow.org for details and registration forms.

FOSE newsletter • Spring-Summer 2016


Fairy House Builders Wanted for 12th Annual FOSE Fairy House Tour BY CAROLINE PIPER

2016 Tour Coordinator

Fairy house builders are wanted for FOSE's 12th annual Fairy House Tour on September 24 and 25, 2016. The proceeds of this long standing collaborative community event benefit Strawbery Banke, Prescott Park Arts Festival, the Governor John Langdon House, Prescott Park and the Portsmouth Elementary Schools. Since the Fairy House Tour began, FOSE has reinvested more than $250,000 in these important South End organizations and in the Portsmouth community as a whole. The Portsmouth Fairy House Tour is the world’s largest fairy house tour and features more than 200 handcrafted fairy houses made by local artists, florists, garden clubs club members, businesses, families and local school children. Fairy houses are great projects for grandparents, parents, babysitters and children to build together over the summer. From collecting natural materials to delivering the finished fairy house during the Tour weekend, families can

experience the magic that comes with creating an enchanted home for a fairy or gnome. Interested builders must register their entry by August 15 at portsmouthfairyhousetour.com. Inspired by local author Tracy Kane’s Fairy Houses Series®, and produced by Friends of the South End with the assistance of Canoe Harbor Consulting, the annual Fairy House Tour attracts more than 8,000 families and fairies each year. The event is sponsored by Pickwick’s Mercantile, Parenting NH, Infinite Imaging (design & print sponsor), Geno’s Sandwich and Chowder Shop, Piscataqua Savings Bank, Rolling Green Nursery, Sandra Dika of Keller Williams Coastal Realty, and Sander’s Fish Market. Tickets will go on sale this summer. Advanced tickets are $25 per family, $12 per adult, $8.00 per senior and $4.00 per child ages 3-12. Tickets purchased on the day of the event are $15.00 per adult, $10.00 per senior, $5.00 per child ages 3-12, and $30 for families of two adults/ two children or one adult/ four children.

Prescott Park from page 1

representing Weston & Sampson, the consulting firm spearheading this visionary undertaking. Headquartered in Peabody, MA and with an office in Portsmouth at Pease, the Weston & Sampson Design Studio includes environmental and infrastructure consultants, architects, engineers, and landscape architects. They explained that the development of the Master Plan is a six-month process that will result in a high-level strategic analysis and action plan to improve performance of all aspects of the Park. Scheduled to be completed in December 2016, the plan includes a thorough site analysis with input from


FOSE newsletter • Spring-Summer 2016

A fairy lighthouse by 2015 Artist Invitational Winner Nancy Zechel

Fairy House tickets include full admission to all the Strawbery Banke Museum historic houses and to the Governor John Langdon House. Tracy Kane, the Fairy Houses Series® author and illustrator will be on hand both days of the Tour to greet ticket holders and sign autographs. In addition, visitors can expect to see performances by the Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater and the NH Theatre Project. For more information about the 2016 Portsmouth Fairy House Tour or to sign up to build a fairy house, please visit portsmouthfairyhousetour.com.

the community. The multi-disciplinary effort will assess every aspect of the park including infrastructure, landscaping, buildings, lighting, signage, sculptures, fountains, pathways, piers and seawalls, and the Prescott Park Arts Festival. The Weston & Sampson team pointed out that the site includes Four-Tree Island and a small parcel of land to the right of the entrance to the Peirce Island Bridge. “We are now in listening mode,” said Gene Bolinger. “We want to hear from people who live with and use the park.” Cheri Ruane described the development of the Master Plan as a legacy undertaking. “It’s the most important project of this generation,” she said. The team is analyzing traffic patterns and how continued on next page

Prescott Park from previous page

people move about in the park with an eye toward improving usage. She pointed out that forty percent of the park is paved, surprising many in the audience.

Grilled Lobster with Garlic Parsley Butter

Participants were then invited to look at the Park through a new lens, using a ‘Walkabout Guide’ with a map and a survey to record their observations — their likes, their dislikes, what needs to be changed and what could be improved. They were encouraged to take pictures and email them with captions to prescottpark@wse.inc. Most importantly, they were asked to give their imaginations free reign — to envision a creative future for this landmark site.


1 cup unsalted butter 4 large lobsters, cooked

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Garlic Parsley Butter, melted

5 garlic cloves, minced

Lemon wedges

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice 2 tsp. kosher salt 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Cut lobsters in half lengthwise from head to tail with a sharp knife. Scoop out the head sac and discard. Grill shell-side-down over medium hot coals, brushing frequently with butter, about 5 minutes or until meat is warmed through. Serve warm with lemon wedges and remaining butter for dipping. Make-ahead notes: The cooked lobsters can be split 2 hours in advance, covered and refrigerated. The parsley butter can be made ahead and refrigerated for 2 weeks. For the perfect accompaniment, South Street & Vine recommends: ‘Cambria Chardonnay’ or ‘Oxford Landing Viognier’.



If you missed the kick-off session, there will still be ample opportunities to provide input and suggestions about the Park’s future. A schedule of meetings and input sessions is available on the Prescott Park Master Plan page of the City website at www.cityofportsmouth.com. Survey materials are also available on the website where community members can print and submit surveys or respond via the comment form. You can also view the June 12 presentation on the website and subscribe to the project mailing list for updates.




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It’s time to renew your membership! Current members should check out the year printed at the bottom of their address label. If the number is “2015”, your membership has lapsed. If the number is 2016, you are due for renewal this year. Please use the form below to renew now in order to continue receiving FOSE Newsletters, Alerts and the South End Exchange. One year membership: $15 per household

Five year membership: $75 per household

Please complete this form, make check out to FOSE and mail to: Friends of the South End, PO Box 443, Portsmouth, NH 03802 N A M E : _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A DDR E S S : _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

P H ON E : _______________________________________________________________

EM A I L : ____________________________________________________________________

Not yet a member? You can fill out and mail in this form to join.

FOSE newsletter • Spring-Summer 2016


Friends of the South End P.O. Box 443 Portsmouth, NH 03802-0443

Prescott Park, by Jan Marx.


FOSE newsletter • Spring-Summer 2016

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