Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Buckminster House

Located at 7 Islington Street, Buckminster House is on the northwest corner of Islington and Bridge Streets, almost directly across from The Academy (Discover Portsmouth).

A more accurate name for this mansion would be the Warner-Buckminster House because Daniel Warner built the home in 1720 soon after he moved to Portsmouth. At the time, Daniel's wealthy son, Jonathon, lived in the Warner House on Daniel Street.

Eliphalet Ladd, an important businessman in early Portsmouth history, purchased the house in 1792. Ladd Street in Portsmouth is named after him. Eliphalet lived in the mansion until his death in 1806.

Six years after her husband died, Ladd's widow married Reverend Joseph Buckminster, who moved here from the Old Parsonage on Pleasant Street. This mansion has been popularly known as the Buckminster House ever since, although the reverend only lived here for two years. A respected theologian, Reverend Buckminster served the North Church for thirty-three years, starting in 1779.  President George Washington attended his worship services in the North Church of Portsmouth on November 1, 1789. Rev. Buckminster died on June 10, 1812 while visiting Readsborough (now Readsboro), Vermont.

The house looks remarkably similar to the way it did in the vintage photograph above, taken in 1921 for An Architectural Monograph on Portsmouth, New Hampshire: An Early American Metropolis.

From the 1930s – 1950s, a funeral parlor called Buckminster Chapel (J. Verne Wood Funeral Home) occupied the building before moving to Broad Street. Over the years, the house has also been used as a boarding house and bookstore.


  1. The house looks denuded; denuded of its balustrades (roof and portico), shutters and urns on posts. But we are lucky to have it as it is and not just see an old photograph.

    WW Owens
    Boston MA

    1. Sadly, the urns on the posts have been a very popular target of local drunks. We are attempting to find something historically accurate, and less tempting to the drunks.