Hidden Treasure

The state's oldest wood-frame house (and probably the oldest, period) is tucked away in Portsmouth




In 1664 Richard Jackson - a woodworker, farmer and mariner - built this house on his family's 25-acre plot of land in Portsmouth. Seven generations of his descendants would live there; at points a whole passel of people crowded into the four rooms.

A census in the early 1700s showed that 12 adult men occupied the house. If that seems like a lot, it doesn't include the women and children that the census didn't bother to count. "Back then it wasn't that unusual to have people live cheek to jowl," says Craig Tuminaro, regional site manager for Historic New England, which now owns the house.

As time went along, he says, first a lean-to and then more rooms were added to accommodate all the people and their belongings. When Historic New England bought the property in 1924, Tuminaro says the rooms were "taken back to as early as they found evidence for." Some 18th-century sash was replaced with the diamond-pane casements like those the house originally had.

The house sits above North Mill Pond on a hillside dotted with a variety of apple trees. "It's a really evocative house," Tuminaro says. "It's been witness to so much change. You really get a wonderful sense of time passing."

He'd like to have more people experience the Jackson House, which is a little off the beaten track: "There are people who have lived in Portsmouth all their lives and have never heard of it. Our other sites in Portsmouth are better known."

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. Exercise in Disguise
    Fitness can be fun — if it’s camouflaged. Here’s how to dance, drum and surf your way to a...
  2. Counterpoint: The Positive Effects of Rail
    In our July issue, James Pindell discussed the politics of a Boston-NH rail line. Here, a local...
  3. Host an Outdoor Harvest Party
    Friends gather for a harvest dinner at the historic Canterbury Shaker Village - find inspiration...
  4. Hang Gliding in New Hampshire
    Want to be a bird? Try a little flying.
  5. A Feast on Main Street
    After a year off, The Farmers Dinner returns to Nashua this September for a one-of-a-kind formal...
  6. The Best Events on the Water This August
    Check out our favorite lake and oceanfront events.
  7. Local Yoke Jerry Courser
    Old-fashioned friendly farmer Jerry Courser talks ox
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags