Friday, August 30, 2013

Shapiro House

The Shapiro House, sometimes called the Dr. John Jackson House or the Augustus Odiorne House, is located on the southwest corner of Jefferson and Atkinson Streets within the boundaries of Strawbery Banke Museum.

This house was built in 1795 for Dr. John Jackson to use as a home and apothecary. Dr. Jackson, a Portsmouth native and son of Deacon Daniel Jackson, served as the ship’s surgeon aboard the Raleigh, a Continental Navy warship commanded by Captain Thomas Thompson in 1777. After Dr. Jackson's death in the early 1800s, his widow continued to live here. The building was later subdivided, and by 1894 was a two-family rental property.

The story of the Shapiros begins with Abraham Millhander, a Jewish man who was born in the Ukraine of Russia. When he was a young man, Abraham followed the example of his older brothers, Simon and Samuel, by emigrating to the United States. His siblings had adopted the more Americanized name of Shapiro, so after reuniting with them, he became Abraham Shapiro.

In 1905, he married Shiva (Sarah) Tapper, his sister-in-law. Abraham and Sarah Shapiro moved to Portsmouth in 1909, the same year their daughter, Mollie Mary Shapiro, was born. 

At the time, this area of the city was known as Puddle Dock. It was a melting pot of Irish, English, Canadian, Italian, Polish, and Russian immigrants, as well as native-born Americans.

Abraham was an active member of the local Temple of Israel and was instrumental in the negotiations for the purchase of the Methodist Church on State Street in 1912. The building remains the Temple Israel synagogue to this day.

Abraham made his living working in shoe shops and factories. After the end of World War I, he owned a Portsmouth pawnshop. The Shapiro family sold the home in 1928.

The Shapiro House was recorded by the National Park Service's Historic American Building Survey (HABS) in 1961. Strawbery Banke Museum restored it in 1996-1997.

No comments:

Post a Comment