Tuesday, January 10, 2012

South Mill Bridge

The South Mill Bridge, or South Bridge, is located just south of the intersection of Marcy and Pleasant Streets. The bridge carries Marcy Street (Route 1B) across South Creek.

Site of the Old Meetinghouse

Early Portsmouth settlers built a meetinghouse at the triangle of roads leading to New Castle and South Street in 1657. The building was forty feet square, with twelve windows, three doors, and a low belfry.

The following year, Portsmouth gave John Pickering permission to build a mill and dam here. The approval required that he also construct a bridge over the dam for townspeople walking to the meetinghouse. Pickering’s original bridge was only six feet wide.

Around 1731, Portsmouth dismantled the old meetinghouse. The congregation had divided into the North Parish, which worshiped at the North Church in Market Square (built in 1712) and the South Parish, which worshiped at the South Church on Meetinghouse Hill (built in 1731, at the current location of the South Meeting House).

The original John Pickering died in 1668. His son, also named John Pickering, buried him at the Point of Graves burial ground. Pickering descendants continued to own the mill property until 1790. Portsmouth purchased the mill in 1881, demolished it, and built the store at left in the photographs below.

The vintage picture above is from C. S. Gurney's 1902 book, Portsmouth . . . Historic and Picturesque. My photograph was taken a few feet right of the original because I would have had to stand in the road to duplicate the exact location, and my vantage point prevents the signs at the left from obstructing the store.

The building near the center (it is yellow in my photo) is the same in both pictures and was the location of the original Portsmouth meetinghouse. The building on the right also still exists (it is blue in my photo).

Today, the store at 367 Marcy Street is home to Sanders Fish Market.

No comments:

Post a Comment