Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dennett House

The Dennett House, sometimes called The Beehive, stands at 73 Prospect Street, on the west corner of Prospect and Walker Streets.

One of the oldest extant structures in Portsmouth, the Dennett House was built by John Dennett back in the year 1680. This was the second home built in this part of the city, known as Christian Shore. The first still exists: the Richard Jackson House at 76 Northwest Street. 

John Dennett’s property extended east to the North Mill Pond. Just south of his house is Dennett Street, named in his honor. 

The Dennett family thrived here for many generations. The most famous Dennett to live here was Ephraim, a founder of the Portsmouth Mill Company, a woolens mill established in 1821. During his ownership, Ephraim Dennett expanded the building to its current size. The house was once known as the ‘Bee Hive’ or ‘Beehive’ because a Widow Dennett kept bees on the property. Other Dennetts who were born here included a shipbuilder named Jeremiah, a farmer named Mark, a joiner named John, a boat builder named George, and two more sons named Richard and Joseph. 

The vintage photograph above was published in my favorite resource, C. S. Gurney's Portsmouth . . . Historic and Picturesque, in 1902. Now a multifamily home, the Dennett House looks remarkably well for a 334-year-old building.