Monday, July 18, 2011

The Academy Building

The Academy building is located at 10 Middle Street, on the southwest corner of Islington and Middle Streets.

A private school called the Portsmouth Academy constructed the building in 1809. For more than 150 years, locals believed that renowned architect Charles Bullfinch designed the Academy. The truth is that a local house carpenter named James Nutter created the design.

The building served as Portsmouth Academy until 1868 and then became a public school. I will always remember it as the old Portsmouth Public Library, which occupied the Academy building for more than 100 years: 1896-2006.

When the library moved to a new facility on Parrott Avenue in 2006, the Portsmouth Historical Society renovated the interior and opened Discover Portsmouth for the 2008 summer tourist season. The building also houses the Seacoast African American Cultural Center (SAACC).

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