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Bankers Row Long Before Ri Ra

29100SeacoastNH.com Presents
Historic Portsmouth #291  

Someone could write a book about Bankers Row in Portsmouth’s Market Square. The banks have come and gone and changed names often leaving Piscataqua Savings Bank (1877) as the longest surviving and only independent bank remaining. Nearby, the new Ri Ra Irish Pub (one of 11 across the uSA) occupies two bank buildings at 22 and 26 Market Street. (Read more below)

The site was originally one company in 1803, giving rise to its claim as the "oldest bank building in the United States" -- although nothing of the original structure, burned in the great fire, is visible today inside or out. The building split into two banks in 1869 and has since had many occupants including stores, a real estate office and saloon. The units were reunited last year as Ri Ra. This booklet, (above) published by the First National Bank in 1912, shows the 1803 façade of the original large building on its cover (below). First National occupied the smaller south side of the building in 1912 as seen in the center photo. (Note the brass spitoons on the floor of the bank.) So why does the booklet say 1824? Because that was the year First National was incorporated, although in was then called the Piscataqua Exchange Bank, now extinct. The domed ceiling was added in 1904 when the building operated under the name Portsmouth Savings Bank. Confused? So are we. (Courtesy SeacoastNH.com collection)

National Bank in 1912, Portsmouth, NH

SEE ALSO this early photo of same building   

 1912 Portsmouth Bank brochure

Portsmouth's National Bank in 1912

 

 

 

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