Strawberry Banke Historic District
Jefferson Street within the Strawbery Banke district
Bounded by Court and Marcy Sts. and both sides of Hancock and Washington Sts.
|NRHP Reference #||75000236|
|Added to NRHP||June 20, 1975|
Strawbery Banke is an outdoor history museum located in the South End historic district of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It is the oldest neighborhood in New Hampshire to be settled by Europeans, and the earliest neighborhood remaining in the present-day city of Portsmouth. It features more than 40 restored buildings built between the 17th and 19th centuries in the Colonial, Georgian, and Federal style architectures. The buildings once clustered around a waterway known as Puddle Dock, which was filled in around 1900. Today the former waterway appears as a large open space.
The neighborhood's history traces back to 1630, when Captain Walter Neal chose the area to build a settlement, naming it after the wild berries growing along the Piscataqua River. Strawbery Banke existed as a neighborhood for four centuries from 1630 to the late 1950s. The neighborhood's buildings were saved from 1950s urban renewal by the efforts of a large group of historic preservationists. Strawbery Banke opened as a museum in 1965.
Ten houses are open to the public as furnished historic interiors. Guests learn from staff interpreters the history and lifestyles of each house and how it reflects the social changes of its time period. In a few locations, costumed roleplayers portray characters from time periods past. There are also five formal exhibits on archaeology, architecture, woodworking tools and skills, post-and-beam construction, and amusements and entertainment. Hearth cooking and coopering demonstrations and tours are offered during a daily program season. Seasonal events are also held around major holidays.
Across the street from the museum are the riverside gardens and entertainments of Prescott Park.
Robinson, J. Dennis (2008) Strawbery Banke: A Seaport Museum 400 Years in the Making, ISBN 978-0-9603896-2-9
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