Haven School Neighborhood Project

Puddle Dock and the South End are the oldest neighborhoods in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which was settled in 1623. The first school building in Portsmouth was built and opened in 1713 and was located close to the site that would become the Haven School in 1846. When it opened, Haven School contained four graded schools: infant, primary, intermediate, and grammar. In 1969, Little Harbour School was built to replace Haven School. In 1978, the Haven School’s brick building was turned into condominiums.

The Haven School Neighborhood consists of the South End and Puddle Dock areas. Strawbery Banke Museum now occupies the space once known as Puddle Dock. The Haven School Neighborhood is central to all that has happened in Portsmouth since its settlement. It is no exaggeration to say that the history of this neighborhood is at the core of the history of the entire city. Whether the focus is settlement, revolution, maritime activity, economic decline, revitalization, or even acculturation, the Haven School Neighborhood provides the core for study.

Library staff have endeavored to make the Haven School Neighborhood Project public to increase access to this important collection and to the history of the neighborhood. The members of this community within a community, past and present, have a story to tell and the nature of that community has dramatically changed.

The core of this collection was scanned from photo albums of historic images of people and places from Portsmouth’s South End; created from the history and stories contributed by the people who lived there. The subjects include the South End neighborhood, Puddle Dock neighborhood, and Haven School alumni and span the late-19th to mid-20th centuries. These photographs were gathered in 1982 as part of a reunion of the Puddle Dock area (also known as the Haven School neighborhood for the purposes of this project). Copies of the resulting photo albums were given to Portsmouth Public Library following the Reunion. Former residents have also generously contributed additional photographs and documents to our digital archive project. Comments have been, and continue to be, added via the commenting feature available with each image.

This project was made possible by a group of volunteers from the Haven School Neighborhood. Special thanks to Sherm and Cathy Pridham who scanned the majority of these images and provided background information including names, dates, and locations. Images and memories will be added to the project as appropriate over time.

If you have stories and photos you would like to share, please contact Special Collections Librarian Katie Czajkowski at
Browse 515 items in Haven School Neighborhood Project