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Yesterday and Today
by Bill & Connie Warren
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Stoodley Tavern


Yesterday, circa 1910, there was a fine 3 story, wooden building that was Stoodley Tavern. In the old picture postcard, the identity of its site is made possible by the cupola (that used to be atop of the Portsmouth High School building) seen near the right margin. There are also 2-3 other wood-framed house between Stoodley Tavern and the high school. By the date of this postcard, the high school had been replaced by a newer one on Islington Street, and, the City had moved into that vacated site from their City Rooms in Pleasant Street.

Stoodley Tavern was built around 1763 by Col. James Stoodley. Col. Stoodley built this one on the same location as a previous one which burned in 1761. Prior to the Revolution, James Stoodley had also kept a hotel on this site. In the 1770 tax payers' list (Rambles About Portsmouth, 2nd Edition, publ. 1873, page 165), James Stoodley is listed as one of 32 named tax payers (total list 666) and he paid the city 10 pounds. If one looks at the 1813 "fire" map, the big fire of that same year roared down the other side of the Daniel Street missing Stoodley's Tavern altogether.


Today, the site is part of the Thomas J. McIntire Federal Building and Post Office. It seems a bit ironic that the Stoodley building was lucky enough to escape the great 1813 fire, but almost not the wrecker's ball (to make room for the 1964 planned federal building). In 1966, however, funds were found to save and move the Stoodley Tavern onto Hanover Street. It sits opposite the Daniel Webster house in Strawbery Banke. In the 1968-69 aerial view of Portsmouth, the Federal Building is seen on Daniel Street. At that time, it took up less space than it does today because the parking lot was quite small and the building had not been extended.

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