Tuesday, November 26, 2013

John E. Sise House

The Sise House, for years known as the Sise Inn, is located at 40 Court Street, on the southeast side of Haymarket Square, where Court and Middle Streets intersect.

Before 1881, a three-story Federal mansion stood in this location on the south side of Court Street. Built in 1798 as an L-house for Charles Treadwell, the last owner was the family of L. E. Marsh.

John E. Sise became a relative by marriage of the Marsh family when he wed Lucy Maria Marsh in 1857. The couple had four children, born from 1862-1876. After purchasing the Marsh family mansion in 1879, they immediately had it removed. By 1881, they had replaced it with the current Stick Style house, an elaborate Queen Anne home.

John Sise was an insurance agent with an office in the Peirce Block, where Foye's Store (left) relocated after his death. He served as a proprietor of the nearby Portsmouth Athenaeum from 1865 until 1898.

His eldest child, Mabel Sise, later owned the house. She married Alfred Gooding, a minister of the South Church, in 1887. Reverend Gooding served the parish for thirty-seven years, was president of the Portsmouth Historical Society, and a proprietor of the Portsmouth Athenaeum from 1922 until his death in 1934. While living in the Sise House, Reverend Gooding built an addition that doubled the size of the original home. 

In his book, Portsmouth . . . Historic and Picturesque, C. S. Gurney refers to this house as the “modern Sise dwelling”. It was only twenty-one years old when he included it in a photograph of Haymarket Square (below). The enlarged close-up of the Sise House in 1902 shows how remarkably similar it looks today.

The John E. Sise House opened as the Sise Inn with thirty-four guest rooms in 1986. It was sold to new owners in November 2013 and will soon reopen as The Hotel Portsmouth.

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