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Yesterday and Today
by Bill & Connie Warren
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The Prescott House


Yesterday, circa 1906, approximately across from the intersection of Ladd Street into High Street (Ladd Street runs off of Market Street, just down from Market Square), there was the historic Prescott House; see the 1850 Map of Portsmouth. Once located on the 1850 map, the building can be seen and identified in the aerial photograph. High Street is almost opposite the North Church. Prescott House is the white "L" shaped building to the far left of the photo; it can be further identified by the metal fence with an arbor entrance and the paved walk leading into the building. Prescott House was built around 1780 by Nathaniel A. Haven. In 1906, the house was managed by W. A. Wentworth as a boarding house. It advertised itself as, "... one of the most homelike and desirable places in which to reside, briefly or regularly, in this section of the state. In a historic section of the city, near the leading business houses, churches, car lines, &c., and convenient in every respect. There are 24 well furnished rooms and the dining room seats 50. Thirty people board here regularly and board and rooms, or board without rooms, is furnished at modern rates, while the table is first-class in every particular."


Today, there is no Prescott or Nathaniel A. Haven house here. It was a casualty of urban renewal and the downtown parking garage. Where it stood is partly the left side of the downtown parking garage and partly the right end of the building that reads 'Newberry' as well as the open space between these two brick buildings. Instead of an ornate iron arbor and fence with lawn on either side of a walk leading to a fine old house, there is a dirt parking space, a few cars and a generally 'seedy' look.

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