Climbing to Boars Head House
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Written by SeacoastNH Archive

Visitors in Hampton NH Presents
Historic Portsmouth #422

Back in the days of poet John Greenleaf Whittier a tourist could cut a few poles and set up a canvas tent on Hampton Beach with few tourists in sight. Whittier later wrote in 1867 about his youthful camping experience in “The Tent on the Beach.” His tent-mates were travel writer Bayard Taylor and editor James T. Fields.(Continued below)


Fields was a Portsmouth boy who went on to wealth and fame with his Boston publishing company Tichnor & Fields and was directly responsible for Whittier’s financial success and fame. In fact, Whittier has been blamed for attracting too many visitors to the coast with his popular poems. But the tourists were already on their way aboard the new network of trains and trolleys that made public transportation a breeze back in the post-Civil War era. In this enlarged stereo view card we see a group of heavily dressed men and women ascending wooden stairs from the beach to the hotel at Boar’s Head where other summer visitors lounge in the sun. Whittier refers to Boar’s Head and “trampling up the sloping sand” in his tenting poem.  The elongated glacial deposit that makes up Great Boar’s Head is known as a “drumlin.” The Boar’s Head House was one of the earliest New England coastal hotels. It was reportedly built in 1826 by David Nudd and later expanded to four floors that could hold 150 guests. It burned at the end of the 1893 season due to a smoldering fire in a defective chimney in the laundry area. (Courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum)


Painting of Boar's Head  in Hampton Beach, NH




Tourists climb wooden stairway

Tourists on overlook at Boar's Head House

Boar's Head House

Portsmouth Athenaeum photo
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