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Yesterday and Today
by Bill & Connie Warren
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Market Square looking into Pleasant Street


Yesterday, (c. 1904) from Market Square looking into Pleasant Street, one could see the change from horse and buggy years to an electric era as running the whole length of Congress Street, through 'the square' and then into Market Street, were trolley tracks belonging to the Portsmouth Electric Railroad, and shared by the Portsmouth, Dover, Kittery and York Railway. On the east side of Pleasant Street are several old buildings. The first one is the Pierce Block. The next "appearing as two buildings" was the single building that housed the old Portsmouth Savings Bank, the Piscataqua Bank and the First National Bank. It was redesigned in 1904 to become the First National Bank on the left side and Piscataqua Savings Bank (Greek revival style) on the right side. The last building, which is set nearer to Pleasant Street, was the Old Brick Market in which the 'City Rooms' were located (see 1877 Bird's Eye map).


Today, looking into Pleasant Street, the 19th century flavor of the banking district is still present. The buildings on the east side of the street have been saved and recycled. The roof tops are not the same, mainly due to a fire in the building next to the Piscataqua Bank during the winter of 1942. The trolley tracks are gone, as are the horses, wagons, and unpaved streets.

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