Thursday, August 11, 2011

19 Market Street

The mercantile stores at 19 Market Street are on the east side of the avenue, between Commercial Alley and Daniel Street.

I can find very little information about the history of this property. The Great Parade Fire of 1802 burned every building on Market Street. In 1803, Portsmouth widened the street and built many of the brick buildings that still remain near Market Square. Although the Great Market Street Fire of 1845 destroyed several brick blocks, I believe the flames traveled only as far as Ladd Street and Commercial Alley. For those reasons, I estimate the date of construction to have been 1803.

The photograph below appeared in my favorite source for vintage photographs of the city, C. S. Gurney's 1902 book, Portsmouth . . . Historic and Picturesque. Like the Portsmouth Brewery building and several other merchants on Market Street, a dry goods store sold their wares here at the turn of the 19th Century. This one belonged to D. F. "Fred" Borthwick, who was also a trustee of the Portsmouth Savings Bank.

The Portsmouth Directory of 1905 lists the address of D. F. Borthwick's as 11 and 13 Market Street; however, the street has been renumbered. To find the building, I printed the old photograph and carried it with me on a search down Market Street. The 2nd and 3rd floors are almost identical in both pictures and helped me to identify the building.

The store front has changed considerably! Later owners removed the door on the right to expand the retail space, installed a new entrance on the left, relocated the hexagonal sales pavilion to accomodate the new configuration, and lowered the awning. The left door in the vintage photo now opens on two clothing stores: Angelica's Muse on the left and Clay's on the right. The new entrance opens on LeRoux Kitchen, which occupies the building next door.


  1. Your historical knowledge of portsmouth is absolutely fantastic. I was wondering if you possibly have a picture from the same time period of a building just down the street from this one at what is currently 41 Market Street. it is just on the other side of commercial alley from this building, my architecture firm is redoing the storefront and we are interested in possibly attempting to preserve or revert to some of the older historical elements from the building. thank you!

    1. Thank you, Brendan! I learn something new about Portsmouth with every article.

      A post about 41 Market Street is in the queue for publication; however, it is on hold until I can photograph the building without a line of vehicles blocking the shot. I will get lucky one of these mornings!

      For now, I have temporarily added a "hidden" page with an old photograph and some information about the building. Please use the following URL to view it:

      I hope this helps!
      Ron Campbell

  2. My great aunt worked at 19 Market Street around 1912. At the time, it was a stationery store.