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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

FOSE Holds Annual Meeting – New Co-Presidents at the Helm BY RUTH MARON

City Planner Nick Cracknell speaks at the FOSE annual meeting

FOSE held its Annual Meeting on a bright Sunday afternoon on January 29th at the Tyco Center at Strawbery Banke Museum. South Enders gathered to greet old friends and to meet new arrivals in our community. The first order of the day was to introduce FOSE’s new co-presidents — Esther Kennedy and Mary Thomas. They expressed the Association’s gratitude to our outgoing presidents, Hilary O’Neil and Tom Hindle. Each was presented with a beautiful framed map of the South End with their respective homes in the center. Our new presidents strongly urged members to get involved and to help strengthen our neighborhood association. Mary and Esther said that FOSE is actively looking for new board members and volunteers who will help guide the future of our organization.

City Planner Nick Cracknell Discusses HDC’s New Design Review Toolkit Then, it was on to a very informative presentation by Nick Cracknell, Principal Planner for the City of Portsmouth. With an extensive background in urban development, planning and land use, Nick has been in his present position in Portsmouth for the past five years. Primary areas of responsibility include the Historic District Commission and the Land Use Board. As Portsmouth experiences an extensive and accelerating period of growth, we face numerous issues including height, scale, massing and style. “Growth presents challenges for the individual homeowner, as well as for downtown businesses, “Nick said. He noted that within the defined area of downtown and the historic district, there are some 15 acres for potential development, along with 2.5 acres pending development and eight acres that have been recently developed. How do we get it right and preserve the unique character of Portsmouth? The first step was to build a 3-D model of downtown buildings, Nick explained. “The massing model was then textured to show what the exteriors of these buildings actually look like,” he said. “The model gives everyone a better understanding of the scaling impacts of new infill buildings on the surrounding neighborhood. It allows us to make better land use decisions and to refine regulations for scale, height and massing.”

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Nick went on to discuss design guidelines for the Historic District, with an explanation of the Historic District Commission (HDC) review process. These guidelines, presented in 12 chapters are all available online, Nick noted. They allow developers and homeowners to prepare in advance for review meetings with the HDC. The guidelines cover everything from architectural style to site elements and streetscapes; from small scale new construction and additions to commercial development and storefronts. “The new guidelines provide a better understanding of what’s expected from applicants, designers, and HDC members,” Nick said. “It also streamlines the review process and enables us to make better land use decision by the HDC, the Board of Adjustment and the Planning Board.” Nick explained that the permitting process has been updated and refined to get public input earlier and to make the review process more effective and flexible. “The number of exemptions for material upgrades or for very minor projects has been expanded,” he pointed out. “The permitting process has added administrative approvals for small changes or minor projects. The system continued on page 3

South End tee-shirts for sale at the annual meeting

FOSE newsletter • Winter 2017


Esther Kennedy and Mary Thomas are New Co-Presidents of FOSE

FOSE begins the year with two new co-presidents at the helm. Esther Kennedy and Mary Thomas share the same goals — to strengthen the organization and make it more responsive to the needs of the community. “A high priority is to bring new board members and volunteers into the organization,” Mary said.

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

Esther Kennedy Mary Thomas TREASURER

Martin Hanssmann SECR E TA RY



Alan Gordon B R I CK S & M O RTA R



Kathleen Boduch FA I RY H O USE TO U R CO O R D I N ATO R

Judy Nerbonne GREEN SPACES


Another important goal is to begin preparing for the 400th Anniversary of Portsmouth in 2023. “It all started here in the South End in 1623,” Esther said. “Our houses have stories to tell and we are the stewards of their history.” She asked that we start researching the history of our houses and collecting stories and photos to share as part of the anniversary celebration. These can be stored on a USB thumb drive to help compile the history of the South End spanning four centuries. She noted that the Portsmouth Library and the Athenaeum are good resources for research. Esther and Mary also share a love of Portsmouth — though each came about it by different routes. Esther grew up in the Finger Lakes district of Upstate New York and started coming to Portsmouth when she was one year old. Her father, a Congregational Minister, took the family to the Isles of Shoals every summer. As a teenager, she worked as a ‘Pelican’ at the Shoals, and eventually moved here as a young adult, earning a Master’s degree in education from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH. Her days are long and busy, working as a public school administrator and Director of Student Services for the Guilford School District. She also teaches graduate classes in special needs studies at Plymouth State University, where she was named graduate professor of the year. Esther served on the Portsmouth City Council from 2007-2015. Among her many honors, she also serves on the Governor’s Committee for Marine Fisheries. Esther bought her house and the marina on Pickering Street in 2002. “There are a lot of stories to tell about this house,” she said. “I am also getting ready to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Esther’s Marina.” With her roots in New England, Mary Thomas grew up in Connecticut and is a graduate of Tufts University. She was first introduced to Portsmouth when her husband, Greg, was Operations Officer at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from 2005-2007. “We were fortunate enough to have housing on the base, but we spent a good deal of time in Portsmouth,” Mary said. “With Greg’s career as a naval officer, we moved every two or three years, along with our three young children. When Greg retired from the Navy in 2012, we decided that Portsmouth was at the top of our list of where we wanted to be. We moved into our Portsmouth home in 2012, ready to put down roots.” Today, Mary works full time at restoring their historic house. She too is busy gathering stories about their stately brick home on Pleasant Street. Both Mary and Esther are eager to hear what FOSE members have to say. You can send comments or suggestions to president@fosenh.org

Tom Hindle David Novis O F CO U N SEL

Jamie Baker, Esq. CO N TAC T


A special thank you to our friends at

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 • Winter 2017


Annual Meeting from page 1



is more user-friendly and cost effective, providing incentives for homeowners to upgrade and to improve their properties.”

FOSE on the web:


Facebook page:


South End Exchange: (for FOSE members)


Design guidelines are available on the City of Portsmouth website: http:// www.planportsmouth.com/hdcdesignreviewtools.html

FOSE Presidents:


Newsletter Editor :


Business Meeting Reviews Highlights of 2016 Martin Hanssmann, who has served treasurer for the past ten year, reported on FOSE’s 2016 financial statement. “We had a very successful year financially,” Martin said. “In total, the Fairy House Tour and membership raised over $50,500. Of that total, we were able to donate $25,000 to non-profit organizations in the greater Portsmouth area. With almost $24,000 on the balance sheet, we are in an exceptionally strong position for a neighborhood association. We welcome new members and officers to help us provide programs and direction for the future.” Board members also reported on membership, events and the newsletter. Judy Nerbonne provided an overview of the highly successful Fairy House Tour and plans for 2017.

400th Anniversary Celebration In 2023, Portsmouth will celebrate its 400th Anniversary as the longest continuous neighborhood in the nation. And the South End is where it all started in 1623. Esther presented a novel idea to help us get ready for this big event. “Start by getting to know your house,” Esther said. “Research dates, history, stories and pictures and put them on a USB thumb drive to begin gathering our history.” More details will follow soon as we develop plans for our big anniversary. Tee-Shirts with the FOSE logo proudly proclaim “South End Since 1623”. Designed by a committee of board members, they can be purchased for $7.00. Contact president@fosenh.org to order your shirt today.

FOSE Helps Build Community through Special Interest Groups BY DAV I D NOV IS

You may have noticed small bands of men and women, sometimes sporting blue Friends of South End T-shirts, pacing briskly past your home. They are the South End Walkers. Every Tuesday at 2 PM, they meet at Sanders Fish Market 367 Marcy St, determine a route and for the next 90 minutes, enjoy each other’s’ company as they stride along the quaint streets of our historic community. South End Walkers is what FOSE is about — creating community; meeting neighbors whose interests and passions mirror your own. South End Walkers launched with notices on the Nextdoor website and the South End Exchange email list serve. The group has grown to have a life of its own. If you would like to join them, contact Kyle LaChance at kylemariel@ yahoo.com. Or even better, just show up at Sanders, Tuesdays at 2 PM on Tuesdays.

Building on that success, FOSE is bringing together neighbors who share a myriad of diverse passions. Again, responding to our Nextdoor and Exchange posts, South Enders have told us they would like to meet others with interests in Billiards, Chess, Computers, Crafts, Cycling, Sewing, Gardening Music, History, Hiking, Model Building, Cribbage, Model Trains, Woodworking, Theater, Dinner, Wine Tasting, Mah Jongg, and Volunteering. We will begin to assemble as many of these groups as we can. For those activities that yet comprise only single individuals, we will work with interested parties to help them engage South End neighbors who share their interests. As always, we welcome suggestions and ideas from fellow South Enders. If you would like to get together with neighbors who share your hobbies, pastimes and activites, please contact Dave Novis at dnovis@dnovis.com.

FOSE newsletter • Winter 2017



Finding the Magic in the 2016 Fairy House Tour BY CAROLINE PIPER

2016 Fairy House Tour Coordinator

Over the years, many have talked about the Fairy House Tour as a magical event. Certainly, seeing thousands of people in wings, chasing bubbles and peering intently at fairy houses that represent the best of people’s imaginations is magical. However, it seems the real magic is that for 12 years, The Friends of the South End has produced an event that inspires people to put down their smartphones (except of course for taking photos) and to really experience the beauty that is around them. The Fairy House Tour has become a neighborhood open house where people from far and wide are invited to wander the gardens in Prescott Park, admire the view from the Arts Festival stage, feel enchanted in the Langdon Woods, weave in and among the historic buildings and landscapes here at Strawbery Banke, and sit for hours in the grass on Peirce Island channeling their own creativity into an enchanted home for a fairy or gnome. It is probably safe to assume that at one time or another many of us are guilty of taking the South End and Portsmouth for granted. Anything that is familiar and everyday eventually runs the risk of being under-appreciated. The


FOSE newsletter • Winter 2017

Upstairs Downstairs by Therese LaBrecque.

Marilyn Stowe and Game of Faeries. CAROLINE PIPER

Fairy Houses, the Ballet. Courtesy of Southern NH Dance Theater

Fairy House Tour serves as an annual reminder that very few places are as special as Portsmouth and the people and organizations that make it what it is. The Fairy House Tour of course is a collection of parts that together are greater, and in fact more magical, than they would be on their own. Certainly, any one of the participating organizations could host a fairy house event on their own, but by joining forces and connecting the adjoining properties with bubbles, fairy wings and a strong dose of imagination, that we see with new eyes what is possible in this special neighborhood. This year 6,000 people attend the Fairy House Tour. Ticket revenue — combined with sponsorship money from Pickwick’s Mercantile, Infinite Imaging, Parenting NH Magazine, Cunningham & Associates Insurance, Geno’s Chowder and Sandwich Show, Piscataqua Savings Bank, Rolling Green Nursery, Sander’s Fish Market and Realtor Sandie Dika — generated nearly than $33,000 that FOSE reinvested back into the community. This event is greatly enhanced each year by the 10 creative professionals who take time away from their paid work to create fairy houses for the Artist Invitational. This year, hearty congratulations to go to photographer Marilyn Stowe for winning the competition with her “Game of

NH Theatre Project Youth Repertory as Shakespeare's Fairies.

Faeries” dragon. The image of her wonderful creation will be featured in next year’s publicity materials. Second place was awarded to Nancy Zechel, winner of the two previous competitions, for “Dragonfly Cottage.” Third place was awarded to “Fairy Winds and Following Seas” by Nate Piper of Piper Boatworks and the Boatshop at Strawbery Banke. Honorable mentions in creativity, innovation and use of natural materials were awarded to Kevin Blair of Exeter Flower Shop, Theresa LaBrecque, and Nikki Lewis of Outdoor Pride of Rye respectively. The Portsmouth Elementary Schools turned the Prescott Park gardens into an urban fairy landscape with another record number of houses and more than 75 community members, nonprofit groups and families built houses that decorated the grounds of the Langdon House and Strawbery Banke. Ongoing thanks goes to Tracy and Barry Kane provide a range of support for this event every year: Tracy serves as a judge for the Artists Invitational and is a big




South End Salutes ‘Lister Leaf Busters’ BY JU DY NERBON NE

Glinda the Good Witch in front of Pickwick’s Fairy Carriage.

Nancy Zechel works on Dragonfly Cottage.

draw for attendees. She and Barry help promote this event to their extensive network of Fairy House enthusiasts. Barry serves as head bubble maker and staff photographer, capturing the special moments that sum up the magic that is the Fairy House Tour. The Southern NH Dance Theater and the NH Theatre Project make an important investment each year by recruiting, rehearsing and performing original works. Their ongoing partnership enables the Fairy House Tour to

showcase young people pursuing theater and dance and their involvement truly brings fairy magic to life. Lastly we are grateful to the City of Portsmouth for their annual support and encouragement of this event and to the Police Explorer cadets and the Lister (Academy) Leaf Busters. Their contributions cannot be under estimated. Without these two groups of dedicated high school students, Peirce Island would be a chaotic mess of improperly parked cars and fallen-down fairy houses. As winter sets in, may we all carry a bit of fairy magic in our pockets as a reminder of how special Portsmouth really is.

South End Celebrates National Night Out BY SUE SHEA

Over the past three years, the South End has been serenaded with African style marimbas at National Night Out by a talented group of individuals including Ruby and Dillen Palen-Hackett, Anthony Ipolito, and Ari Montville. This is an exclusive group of students as there are no other marimba bands for youth in the Northeast. The group is lead by their teacher and mentor, Tchukki Anderson. We hope this treat becomes an annual tradition!

The ‘Lister Leaf Busters’ have worked with the South End in numerous ways over the past six years, participating in our spring and fall clean-up events, and helping to maintain our historic cemeteries and playgrounds. They have provided much-needed support for the Fairy House Tour with helping hands for set-up and clean-up. Over the years, we have come to admire this group of hard working students and staff. Robert J. Lister Academy was created in 1990 as part of the Portsmouth School District's commitment to excellence in education. This Academy is an innovative high school designed for students who have been unable to succeed in more traditional settings. The Lister Leaf Busters program provides students with real world work experiences. They work together as a team and they work hard! The funds they earn go toward a school trip. Students plan three trip options that fit within their budget. Then the students pick the trip they want for the year. It has been a great partnership. We love working with the staff and students and we are proud to support the Lister Leaf Busters.

Marimba players joined South-Enders for National Night Out..

FOSE newsletter • Winter 2017


What’s going on at Strawbery Banke?

Activities, Exhibits and Events for All Seasons BY RUTH MARON

Once again this year, Strawbery Banke Museum takes us back to the days of old fashioned New England winters. There is skating daily at the Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock pond where lights twinkle…figure skaters twirl…and hockey players take their turn on the ice in a setting reminiscent of a Currier & Ives painting. Skating is scheduled to continue till the end of February — weather permitting, as we say here in New England. A series of hearth cooking workshops provide a dramatic and delicious demonstration of how our forebears once cooked. Held on the second and fourth Saturday each month from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, each workshop features authentic seasonal recipes. Participants learn traditional hearth techniques and savor the results at lunch. Workshops are scheduled through April 22 and are limited to ten participants. Visit www. strawberybanke.org for the schedule, menus and registration. Workshops are limited to ten participants. When spring returns, so do the baby animals. Back again this year by popular demand, Baby Animals: Heritage Breeds at the Banke is scheduled for April 22nd to April 30th, during school break. More than a dozen heritage breed baby animals (along with their moms) will take up residence under a tent. The A fire bucket owned by Leonard Cotton, a Portsmouth cooper and later, landlord. Beautifully painted by renowned local painter John Blunt, it features a barrel as a nod to his Cotton’s profession. Two of Cotton’s tenant houses are open to the public during the regular season. DAVID J. MURRAY/CLEAREYEPHOTO.COM]


FOSE newsletter • Winter 2017

A hearth baking workshop at Strawbery Banke

Banke barnyard will include lambs, kids, calves, piglets, bunnies, chicks and ducklings. Visitors will learn about the domestic livestock typical on Northern New England farms from the 17th Century to the present. As summer approaches, an exciting new exhibit called The Painted Past will open on May 1st at the Rowland Gallery. Chief Curator Elizabeth Farish reports that the Museum has collected objects since 1960, many safely stored

because their story wasn’t ready to be told. “The Painted Past is an opportunity to see many of these rarely or never-before seen objects,” Elizabeth said. “The exhibit will include furniture, architectural elements, ceramics and other artworks. The objects vary from decorative to utilitarian…from precise to whimsical. Paint, the medium that can be applied to nearly everything, is the common denominator in the exhibit.”

Scallops en Casserole GAIL AND JIM SANDERS

2 lbs. fresh scallops, cut into uniform size

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

½ cup flour

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup evaporated (not condensed) milk

2 Tbsp. parsley flakes, or 6 Tbsp. fresh parley, chopped

4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter, melted

1 tsp. garlic powder

Place scallops in bottom of a lightly oiled 2-quart casserole dish. Toss scallops with next 4 ingredients. Sprinkle with lemon juice, then milk, then butter. Top with a thin layer of breadcrumbs, then a sprinkling of paprika. Cover, and bake at 350 degrees for an hour.


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Wentworth Lear Houses Getting Ready for the 2017 Season BY SANDIE DIK A

During the winter months when the Wentworth Lear Houses are closed and all seems quiet, there’s lots of activity behind the scenes planning the schedule for the 2017 season. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the coming programs. Opening in June, the exhibit for this year is entitled ‘Lost Portsmouth’. It will feature approximately 30 ‘then and now’ images of Portsmouth scenes. An example will be the Cutter-Langdon mansion. Until 1956, it stood at the corner of Congress and Middle Streets. Demolished by its owner, former Governor Charles Dale, it was replaced by the building that is now the home of

Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Cafe. Explanatory texts will accompany the images. The popular ‘Participating in the Past’ program is back again with several opportunities for participants to observe and practice activities from our historic past. Leading off the 2017 schedule will be a Chamber Music Concert featuring musicians from the prestigious Julliard School of Music in New York. This very special concert will be on Mother’s Day, May 14 at 3:00 p.m. Admission is $20. Also on the schedule is an heirloom quilt workshop. Participants will learn about the various types of quilts and techniques. Then, they will actually

make a quilt of any size desired. The four-session class will be held June 4, June 18, Sept. 3, and Sept. 17 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. The weeks between the sessions will allow time for individuals to create the number of squares necessary for their quilt. Then in Sept. students will learn how to piece the top together, and the final session will be an old-fashioned quilting bee to finish the projects by hand. The Board is very excited to have experienced instructor and antiquarian Kristin Goodwillie who will lead this workshop. The fee of $125 includes a starter kit for the first class. Restoration carpenter and instructor John Schnitzler will lead a one-day workshop on the styles and function of architectural mouldings in 17th and 18th century homes. John will discuss the different configurations that identify each period, and will lead participants through the process of producing a sample moulding. The participants will learn how the process could be employed to enhance the visual interest of a home. A date for this workshop is yet to be determined. Two other possible classes could include a repeat of last season’s popular ‘Bellamy Eagle’ carving class; plus a floor cloth painting workshop. If there is interest in any of the 2017 programs, please contact Sandie Dika at 603-426-9282; or Margie Beck at 917-940-5976 for details.

A warm weather view of the Wentworth Lear houses from Peirce Island




It’s time to renew your membership! 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 • Winter 2017


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

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City Hill in snow, by Jan Marx.


FOSE newsletter • Winter 2017

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