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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

W I N T ER 2019

John and Sandie Dika receive the first plaque from Portsmouth Advocates.

The Tobias Lear House in 1934 and today

South Enders Researching House Histories

Getting Ready for Our 400th Anniversary BY DAN BROWN

The Portsmouth South End House Histories Group has been meeting and working through the year to get ready for Portsmouth’s 400th Anniversary in 2023. We have had several educational meetings at the Portsmouth Athenaeum, the public library and at private homes to help our FOSE members begin to research their homes. We have worked with the Portsmouth Advocates to re-establish a Historic Plaque Program which will be verified through their experts. The program has been universally approved by the Historic District Commission (HDC) and plaques will be discounted to FOSE members. The program is up and running with our first test case at 333 Marcy Street. We are slowly developing a catalogue of highlighted historic properties in the South End on our new website which will part of a self-guided walking tour for the Anniversary. Any FOSE member who has already researched their house and would like to add their

results to this developing database please contact us and we can help facilitate that at the The crowning achievement of this website, which is private (non-searchable),

sponsored by Google and open to all FOSE members by request at (A Gmail or Google account is needed.) This website is full of tips for house investigation, links to important databases and educational sites, information on the Advocates Plaque program, and a slowly growing site of South End properties that are being researched and developed with their own histories. These properties often bring clues to interlinked owners or histories of neighboring properties. Finally, our group is planning some social events where we can discuss techniques and information discovered that may be a help to other researchers. Reading of some of the histories quickly shows how families like the Pickerings, Cottons, and Sewalls had their hands in many of our properties.

FOSE Holds Annual Meeting Guest Speaker Previews Portsmouth400 Celebration BY RUTH MARON

We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect winter day for the Friends of the South End (FOSE) Annual General Meeting on Sunday, January 27. Neighbors gathered at the Tyco Center at Strawbery Banke Museum, greeting old friends and new members of the community. Enjoying light refreshments, we looked out at this quintessential New England scene as skaters skimmed across the ice at the Puddle Dock Pond skating rink.

Co-president Mary Thomas called the meeting to order. We were given a warm welcome by Larry Yerdon, president and CEO of Strawbery Banke Museum. He reported that Strawbery Banke is enjoying a banner year with 74 special programs, as well as the ongoing ‘History Within Reach’ school program. He also noted that the Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond is experiencing record attendance this season. continued on page 3

FOSE newsletter • Winter 2019


Co-President’s Corner

A Message from Mary Thomas and Esther Kennedy Although it is always difficult to believe that yet another year has flown by, the FOSE Annual General Meeting was held at the Tyco Visitors Center at Strawbery Banke Museum in late January. It was great to see so many old friends and new neighbors at the event. In addition to discussing old and new business, we were excited to welcome guest speaker Susan Labrie, director of Portsmouth400, the city’s quadricentennial celebration. You can read more about her very interesting talk in this issue.

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

Esther Kennedy Mary Thomas TREASURER

Martin Hanssmann SECR E TA RY





Dan Brown AT L A RGE

Robin Bettencourt Paige Trace Joanne Wolfe

The AGM is meant to be both informative and fun — to hopefully inspire residents to lend a hand in the management and direction of the FOSE organization. New board members this year have stepped up to head projects like the House Histories Group, the Little Free Library located in Haven Park, and the revamping of our dues paying system. Any organization is richer for a diversity of opinions, ideas, and input from its membership and this leads to more creative and productive brainstorming discussions. FOSE Co-Presidents Mary Thomas and Esther Kennedy

Looking ahead, we have another busy schedule of events planned for 2019 and of course our success depends largely on the participation of our members. Volunteers play a vital role in all of our special events from National Night Out and the Lobster Bake to the Fairy House Tour to the Candidates Forum. We will be putting out a call for volunteers to help as we prepare to launch each event. Sadly, we are losing some key board members who are stepping down after many years of service. They include Judy Nerbonne, the founder of the Fairy House Tour and steadfast South End community advocate. We wish to thank Judy for her many years of leadership and dedication. Ruth Maron will also be stepping down. Ruth has served on the board for over ten years and has published the FOSE newsletter since joining the board. We are most grateful that Ruth has agreed to continue to produce our very professional newsletter. And finally, we say goodbye to Sue Shea. Sue has orchestrated our special events with the ease of a wizard for many years. She and her husband Rick have taken to the road in their RV - hopefully we will see them back in the neighborhood soon. If you are interested in joining the board or volunteering, please contact us at fose. We meet once a month for discussion, wine, and cheese! We look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood. Mary and Esther Both Mary and Esther are eager to hear what FOSE members have to say. You can send comments or suggestions to



Eleanor Bradshaw O F CO U N SEL

Jamie Baker, Esq.

A special thank you to our friends at

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


FOSE newsletter • Winter 2019


 Annual Meeting from page 1

Our keynote speaker was Susan Labrie who is the Portsmouth400 Director. She works with a Steering Committee to plan the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Portsmouth scheduled for 2023. “Portsmouth will be one of the first cities in the country to celebrate this landmark quadricentennial,” Susan said. “We are also working with our neighbors in Newcastle, Rye and Dover who are part of this elite group.” She explained that Portsmouth400 is a collaboration Susan Labrie speaks between the about Portsmouth400 at City and the the FOSE annual meeting Portsmouth Historical Society. “Our goal is to build community…to educate…and to inspire,” she said. “And, of course, it should be fun!” It’s never too soon to begin planning for this historic occasion. “Most importantly, the celebration will be planned by and for the people of Portsmouth,” she said. “It will be community-driven with a shared sense of ownership. And like any important birthday, it will be more than just a one-day event. We also want to create legacy programs that will carry us into the future for this dramatic and dynamic old seaport.” The first in a series of input sessions was held in June 2018. “We want to hear from all stakeholders,” Susan remarked. “We have been meeting with young adults and seniors… businesses and non-profits…schools…people who were born here and those who chose to move here. This first year has been one of outreach and discovery. People have incredible ideas and are excited to be involved. I want to hear your ideas as a group as well.” Susan urged everyone to get involved and contribute to the upcoming

birthday. The committee also plans to incorporate existing events such as the Tall Ships as part of the celebration. “And, of course Portsmouth always loves a parade,” she added. The next steps are to summarize and analyze the information received from the public to create a Portsmouth400 brand and logo, and to begin developing content for the website. As plans move forward, the committee will also create a comprehensive calendar of Portsmouth400 events. U S E F U L

“Stay engaged…be active…and participate in this historic occasion,” Susan urged the audience. “Please share your ideas with us at Susan offered to hold additional input sessions for FOSE to share information. Looking ahead, FOSE has an exciting calendar of events on the schedule for 2019. Mary and Esther urged FOSE members to participate…volunteer… join the board to help guide the organization’s future.



FOSE on the web:

Facebook page:


South End Exchange: (for FOSE members)

FOSE Presidents:

Newsletter Editor :


New England Museum Association Honors Lawrence Yerdon with Lifetime Achievement Award

New England Museum Association executive director Dan Yaeger and former NEMA Board member Funi Burdick present the 2018 NEMA Lifetime Achievement Award to Lawrence J. Yerdon, president and ceo of Strawbery Banke Museum. (C R E D I T M A R I N A P I E D A D E )

At its 100th Annual Convention in Stamford CT, the New England Museum Association (NEMA) honored Lawrence J. Yerdon, president and CEO of Strawbery Banke Museum with the association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In announcing the award NEMA Executive Director Dan Yaeger noted, “From time to time NEMA honors

individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the museum field over the course of a distinguished career. Our Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a professional’s commitment to excellence, leadership in the field, service to others, and support of NEMA. We are honored to present the 2018 NEMA Lifetime Achievement Award to our good friend and colleague, Lawrence J. Yerdon. Larry, President & CEO of Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH, has had a distinguished career in museums, is an active supporter of NEMA, including as its Past President, and has mentored countless museum professionals as they built their own careers in the field.” NEMA is a professional association of more than 2600 museum members, NEMA inspires and connects people engaged with the museum field, provides tools for innovative leadership, and empowers museums to sustain themselves as essential to their communities.

FOSE newsletter • Winter 2019



Fairy House Tour



Fairy House Tour Coordinator

The 2018 Fairy House Tour brought the South End of Portsmouth to life with winged fairies of all ages for two days last September. The event attracted 5,100 people and raised $24,500 in support of The Governor John Langdon House, Strawbery Banke Museum, Prescott Park Arts Festival, the Prescott Park Flower Fund, New Hampshire Theatre Project, Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater, Dondero Elementary School, Little Harbour Elementary School, New Franklin Elementary School, Saint Patrick Academy, Police Explorer Cadets, The Gundalow Company and the Portsmouth High School Eco Club.

We thank our corporate sponsors for investing in this event finically, the dozens of volunteers who staffed the event, the students, families and artists who built more than 250 fairy houses and the staff at each of the partner organizations who provided planning support and helped to make the weekend a success. Planning for the 2019 Fairy House Tour, which will take place September 21 & 22, is underway and we are currently seeking sponsors. In addition to business sponsorships, which range from $275-$2,000, we have created a new Fairy House Tour Community Supporter program for individuals and families who want to provide direct financial support to this charity event. Please see the inset box for details.

Fairy House Tour Community Supporter Program Individual community members can now make contributions in any amount to directly support the Fairy House Tour (and its 12 nonprofit and school beneficiaries, see full list in article text)! This support program is geared towards individuals or families in the community who wish to support the charity event beyond attending or volunteering and who either do not own a business through which they can sponsor or for whom a corporate sponsorship of $275 or more does not make financial sense. Community Supporters will be recognized in the FOSE newsletter, on the FOSE website and at the 2020 annual meeting. To become a Fairy House Tour Community Supporter* mail a check to FOSE, PO Box 443, Portsmouth, NH 03802 with “FHT COMMUNITY SUPPORTER” written in the memo line. Are you a business owner? Increase your exposure by being an event sponsor! Contact Caroline Piper at for a sponsorship brochure. *Please remember, FOSE is a 501c4 nonprofit organization and contributions are not eligible to be tax-deductible.


FOSE newsletter • Winter 2019

Over the span of two days, 5,100 children parents and grandparents toured three historic sites and marveled at the creativity of more than 250 naturally build fairy houses. BARRY K ANE

No family event would be complete without face painting and the students and parents from Saint Patrick Academy did a beautiful job adorning all the fairy faces.

The Gundalow Company decorated a Fairy Wherry and created a photo booth in Prescott Park. More than 150 fairy houses, built by the three Portsmouth elementary schools and Saint Patrick Academy filled the flower beds in Prescott Park.

The Ice Dance International Fairy Skaters glided their way into everyone’s hearts and drummed up excitement for winter skating at Puddle Dock Pond.

Youth performers from New Hampshire Theatre Project and Director Genevieve Aichele performed “Fairy Poems & Stories” in the wooded grove at the Governor John Langdon House. W E N DY A L I P

Rebecca Romanoski of Arts in Reach won first place in the Artist Invitational with “Inside the Fairy Ring.” B A R R Y K A N E

Tracy Kane, author and illustrator of the Fairy Houses Series® was on hand both days to greet young readers and sign copies of her books. This year, Strawbery Banke Museum took over the management of the community fairy house building activity and created an enchanting landscape for inspired builders. Prescott Park Arts Festival hosted the Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater’s performance of “Fairy Houses—The Ballet!” on the festival stage. Aspiring fairy ballerinas were invited on stage after the performance to learn a few dance moves.

FOSE newsletter • Winter 2019


The Little Free Library world. The 501C3 he started has been honored by the Library of Congress, the National Book Foundation and the Library Journal.

agreed to install it. Selecting the site was easy: the intersection of Pleasant, Gates, and Hancock Streets is perfect for a drive-by, drop-off, or pick up; the bench that will be reinstalled at the site once the roadwork is completed will give a reader a chance to sit and browse; and the park itself is a great place to find a patch of grass or share a bench under a tree and read a book.

Once Robin had found out what she needed, she contacted the company and then brought the idea to the FOSE Board of Directors, who also thought it was a “cool” idea and voted to fund it. Robin contacted the Department of Public Works, and Corin Hallowell, the new Parks and Greenery Foreman,

It’s just a little box at the side of the road, but it can help you open a world of adventure through reading. There are no fees, no requirements. The idea is simple: Take a book; share a book. Check it out! It’s part of how FOSE is reaching out to good neighbors in a great community.

FOSE’s new book installation at Haven Park BY K AT H L EEN B O D U CH

“It’s pretty cool!” That’s what Robin Bettencourt thought when she saw a little school house shaped “Little Free Library” box at the side of the road during one of her driving adventures. And now you have probably seen our “cool” new Little Free Library at Haven Park. Robin, during her 30 years in the neighborhood, repeatedly wanted to organize a little swap shop, a shed of sorts where people could drop off a lamp or a quilt or, well, anything, and have the space serve as a free trade spot, so when she saw that little library she thought that swapping books in a little school house shaped box might be the perfect solution. She researched the idea and found that the boxes, which are located in 88 countries, were the idea of a Wisconsinite named Todd Bol. The website for the not-for-profit he founded calls him a “man who wanted to inspire the love of reading, build a community, and spark creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges.” He thought the symbol of a little red school house building would work perfectly, so he set about creating his design and the swapping began. As of August 2018 there are 75,000 boxes throughout the


FOSE newsletter • Winter 2019

Lister Leafbusters Work with FOSE Members on Fall Cleanup BY JU DY N ERBON N E

On a brisk day in mid-November, members of Friends of the South End joined the students of the Lister Academy for a fun and productive clean-up morning at the Historic Point of Graves Cemetery. Known as the ‘Lister Leafbusters’, this group of young energetic students helped rake and distribute two loads of wood chips to control the weeds around the plantings to make our cemetery look well kept. They have worked with FOSE on our neighborhood cleanups for several years

Many of our members enjoyed chatting with these young people. We asked the Leafbusters to tell us more about the program. Here’s what they said: “Lister Leafbusters is a not-for-profit lawn care and yard work business that the students and staff at Robert J. Lister Academy run each fall and spring. Students say that participating in Lister Leafbusters is an enjoyable way to get gym or elective credits and is a way to raise the necessary money for an end of year trip. The funds also allow for continued on next page

Leafbusters continued from page 6

educational trips throughout the year in order to enhance learning and experience something new and fun. Some of the money also helps pay for driver education for students who cannot afford it, opening doors of possibilities for their futures. Through Leafbusters, students are given the opportunity to help others in the community and learn the value of hard work. There are some rough days where students test their stamina and perseverance but students say that they “always work through it and get the job done no matter how long it takes.” The real-life learning that occurs outside of the traditional classroom, the community relationships, the physical activity and the fresh air make it all worthwhile.” If you would like to hire Leafbusters for your own spring or fall cleanup, you can contact The Lister Academy at 603-427-2901.



M a r k You r C a l e n da r Here are some of the events on the FOSE schedule this year

May 19

Spring Fling Ice Cream Social Details to follow

August 6

National Night Out 5:30 pm to dusk Four Tree Island

September 21 & 22

Fairy House Tour

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Be part of the magic at our signature event

October 20

Lobster Fest

Noon to 2:00

Sanders Lobster Company Hosted by Gail and Jim Sanders. (Setup at 10:30 am)

October 29

City Council Candidates’ Forum

Meet the candidates and take part in a lively debate. Time and place to be announced.

November 14

Fall Clean-up

Grab your rakes and join the Lister Leaf Busters. Rain date: November 15.

December 8

Holiday Gathering

6:00 pm

Hosted by Dave and Catherine Anderson. If you are interested in caroling, meet at 5:00 pm at Wentworth Senior Living on Pleasant Street.

Look for FOSE messages with details on these events, along with announcements on new happenings.




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

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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 : _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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FOSE newsletter • Winter 2019


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

Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Portsmouth,NH Permit No.103


Portsmouth’s South End Welcomes Winter. Photo by Jan Marx


FOSE newsletter • Winter 2019

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