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Yesterday and Today
by Bill & Connie Warren
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Looking Into Market Square


Yesterday, (c. 1910) looking into 'the square' from the intersection of Middle and Congress Streets. In this old view, the steeple of the North Church is seen in the right background as is the Pierce Block. The Sheafe Block and other buildings in Market Square lack detail but are recognizable by their location. The buildings in the foreground, starting with the grand yellow house on the right and the yellow-ish house opposite, as well as all of the wooden-framed buildings in the left foreground have been removed. In all the historic maps (1813, 1850, and 1877), the intersection of Middle with Congress and Islington streets is a "T" intersection. The first tall brick building, identifiable by its raised pediment on the roof and its over-hanging (the sidewalk) eaves was the Portsmouth YMCA. Seen in the foreground of Congress Street is the trolley track from Market Square to points south.


Today, the scene is considerably different. Now there is a light controlled, four-way intersection: Maplewood Avenue to the left, Congress Street straight ahead, Middle Street to the right, and Islington Street from where the picture was taken. Where there were wooden houses in the immediate left foreground of yesterday, there is a parking lot today. In the older world of yesterday, the downtown area was concentrated around Market Square. But today, the central business district has sprawled into Islington Street.

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