Yesterday and Today|
by Bill & Connie Warren
North Church Meeting House
Yesterday, (c. 1918) the North Church was in the "heart of our city." The first North Meeting House was constructed in 1711 in what is now Market Square (see 1813 map). The original building was, said Richard M. Candee in his book Building Portsmouth, "seventy feet long and three stories high, with two galleries and three tiers of windows set with diamond-shaped glass in leaded sashes ... the pulpit occupied the middle of the western side, and was surmounted by a large sounding-board." The second church (see 1877 map) was built in 1854 on the same site at the cost of $30,000. It was designed to reflect an urban meeting house as recommended by the Congregational church. In Building Portsmouth, there is a description of the desired appearance of the new church's exterior. "... painted with three coats of the best English white lead and the best linseed oil. Each of the last two coats will have blown in them sharp clean sand. The color of the outside will be in imitation of freestone, dark color."
Today, the North Church is still in the "heart of our city." It is also the best known landmark of Portsmouth along with Market Square in which it stands. From local folk to national politicians, when in the downtown area, meeting people at the North Church is the right place to be.
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