Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Portsmouth Cottage Hospital

The Portsmouth Cottage Hospital is located at 5 Junkins Avenue, on the hill south of the South Mill Pond.

In 1749, Portsmouth purchased a small island with a house to be used as a quarantine hospital for patients with small pox and other contagions brought on merchant ships from overseas. The building was known as the pest-house, or The Pest, and the island is still known as Pest Island. In 1782, the hospital moved to Henzell’s Island and provided small pox inoculations. Patients had to remain on the island for at least twenty-one days and could not leave until they received a clean bill of health from a physician. 

Aldrich House

The future Portsmouth Hospital opened at the Aldrich House on Court Street in 1884. With only ten beds, the building soon proved to be too small.

During the 1890s, Portsmouth built a new brick hospital overlooking South Mill Pond. Known as the Cottage Hospital, the facility opened in 1895. The building could accommodate thirty patients in large wards with lines of hospital beds.

Portsmouth Cottage Hospital
Portsmouth Cottage Hospital was in use for seventy years, until 1965, when the city built a more modern hospital facility nearby. In 1987, Portsmouth Regional Hospital moved to its present location on Borthwick Avenue. The replacement hospital on the hill, east of the old Cottage Hospital, became and remains Portsmouth City Hall.

Developers refurbished the vacant building and reopened it as senior housing in 2004. It is now known as Connors Cottage, named for Timothy Connors, a former mayor of Portsmouth who developed the property.

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