Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wallace Hackett House

The Wallace Hackett House address is 351 Middle Street, on the southwest corner of Middle Street and Miller Avenue.

Construction of this elaborate Colonial Revivalist house for Wallace Hackett began in 1891 and completed in 1892. The architect, a Portsmouth native named Harry Ball who worked out of Boston, also remodeled the Portsmouth Atheneaum's Reading Room in 1892 and designed the 1895 Cottage Hospital.

Wallace Hackett was destined to be a lawyer when he was born in 1856. His father, a lawyer named William Henry Hackett, was the son of another lawyer and politician named William H. Y. Hackett. The elder Hackett lived on Congress Street for more than fifty years, and after his death in 1878, his home became the city's Y.M.C.A. Building.

My knowledge of Wallace Hackett is limited to his civic record. He was a director of the First National Bank, a trustee of the Piscataqua Savings Bank, and a director of the Concord & Portsmouth Railroad. He became a member of the Federal Fire Society of Portsmouth in 1883. During a short term as Portsmouth's Mayor from 1907-1908, Hackett played a key role in preserving the Aldrich House and creating a permanent memorial to the author, Thomas Bailey Aldrich.

The vintage photograph above was published in James A. Wood's 1895 book, New Hampshire Homes, just three years after the home was constructed. The old photo below is from C. S. Gurney's 1902 book, Portsmouth . . . Historic and Picturesque.

St. John’s Lodge No. 1, the oldest continuously-active Masonic Lodge in the United States, purchased the Wallace Hackett House in 1920. The Masonic Temple behind the original home was constructed in 1928.

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