Disposable Camera Tour
Inside the Whittier Home|
Part 1: The Amesbury House
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Romantic poet John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 - 1892) was a Victorian superstar in the latter half of the 19th century. Many of his New England ballads are set in New Hampshire where he immortalized characters from the mountain, lakes and seacoast areas. Whittier is still big in Amesbury, just over the border from the NH seacoast area. His image looms large in this 1999 mural by artist Jon Mooers.
Whittier's birthplace in nearby Haverhill is also open to the public and until this visit, we didn't know there were both Whittier "home" and "homestead" museums. A writer, devout Quaker, teacher, editor and staunch abolitionist, Whittier moved to Amesbury with his mother, aunt and sister in 1836 and lived here 56 years. Everyone in town we asked proudly pointed us toward this old house on Friend Street. Open seasonally, we arrived for one of the last open days on a gorgeous fall afternoon.
Whittier enlarged the house, raising the original building at the left up and adding another story, then adding the section to the right. The house is an amazing "discovery" for literature fans, one of the most authentic and engaging author homes we've ever visited. It remains literally unchanged since the poet's death in 1892.
Around back is the garden area where the live-in guide was raking autum leaves. An old Amesbury sleigh sits in the back yard. The keeper's home has been added to the back of the building.
The el of the original kitchen was removed and placed at the back of the yard when the museum was opened soon after the turn of the century. (See old postcard of exterior). Today the "Garden House" is used for occassional functions.
CONTINUE WHITTIER HOME TOUR
Disposable images and text by J. Dennis Robinson
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