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Wayfinding Portsmouth a Century Ago

Market Suqare sign in Portsmouth, Presents 
Historic Portsmouth #464  

This century-old Market Square photo shows that we have long been searching for ways to direct our visitors to their destinations. Back when Market Square still had a drinking fountain for horses, we also had a curious bit of signage. (Continued below) 


The directory in the middle of the street says "PORTSMOUTH WELCOMES YOU" and points visitors (from top to bottom) to Boulevard, Turnpike, Newburyport, Boston, Rye Beach, and Manchester. Try giving tourist directions to those spots today with two bridges out of order. It ain't easy. I've cranked up the contrast on this formerly washed-out photo and turned up the magnification to see what other signs are visible. They include a large sign for the HERALD and a Herald newspaper delivery truck, the law offices of Charles Dale, a chiropractor, a restaurant, a laundry, a druggist, the Atlantic (what's that?), a sign on a tree pointing to Dover, an express taxi, a bookstore, a bakery, and the New Hampshire National Bank. (Courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum)   

Market Square, Portsmouth, NH turn of 20th century


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Images copyright Portsmouth Athenaeum
as sseen on



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Friday, February 23, 2018 
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