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Yesterday and Today
by Bill & Connie Warren
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Hett Brothers Freight Forwarders

Yesterday, circa 1906, freight hauling was part of everyday commerce in New England, New Hampshire and the "heart Portsmouth" in Congress Street and Market Square. Traffic was two ways and horses (and sometimes bullocks) provided the power to pull heavy wagons, but freight arriving at the Portsmouth freight Boston & Maine Railroad station (corner of Bridge and Deer Streets) had to be either picked up or delivered. The freight forwarders and teamsters at the station, as well as at 47 Deer Street, was Hett Brothers. In their advertisement they stated, "Prominent among the foremost teaming concerns of the Granite State, and the best equipped and largest operating concern in this section, is Hett Brothers. The business was established in 1873 by Valentine A. Hett, and Joseph Hett was admitted to the partnership in 1876. Hett Brothers are forwarding agents for the B & M Railroad, forwarders of all government freight to and from the Navy Yard, facts that show the firm's high standing and reputation in the special field of work".

Hett Brothers, by the 1956, was a trucking & rigger company located in Richards Avenue, Portsmouth. The Boston & Maine Railroad stations were taken down in the 1969 Vaughn Street urban renewal project that drastically changed the northern downtown central business district area, ie., "the North End." In the 1877 Bird's Eye View Map, the area involved is the big tract bordered by Market, Congress, Bridge, Deer Streets, the railroad tracks from Bridge Street to the Piscataqua River, plus those two small peninsula-like areas that jut out into the North Mill Pond north of the railroad tracks.

Today, Hett Brothers is no long listed in our yellow pages. The urban renewal project in "the North End" was mostly completed but continues spasmodically with the downtown parking garage and other projects. Congress Street is one way. Trucking companies still have their drivers, prime movers and trailers rumbling through Market Square and Congress Street as they head to downtown (central business district) deliveries or suburban points south and west and to other areas of New Hampshire, New England and across the United States.

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