Photograph Record

Image of P45_405_168, Print, Photographic
Catalog NumberP45_405_168
CollectionNorth End Neighborhood Collection
TitleRaitts Court
DateSeptember 1971
Year Range from1965
Year Range to1973
DescriptionFrom School Street and looking across a recently cleared lot to the former Assembly House on the corner of Vaughan Street and Raitts Court, Portsmouth, NH.

The recently cleared lot in the foreground was the site of the Meserve-Webster House, 129-131 Vaughan. The buildings pictured were not immediately razed due to the historic significance, but ultimately, these were demolished. Today, this site is part of the Portwalk complex.


Built by Michael Whidden III about 1771, the Assembly House was rented for dances, concerts, exhibits, lectures and religious services. In 1789, President George Washington attended a gala ball and praised the building as ”one of the best I have seen anywhere in the United States.”

About 1820, assemblies moved to Franklin Hall on Congress, and in 1838, the Assembly Hall’s large center hall was removed and the building was divided into two separate tenements with one unit (the gray-shingled structure) moved several feet to the left. The driveway between the two structures was called Raitts Court.

This is one of 327 images attributed to Thomas Minichiello who documented the destruction of the North End from c. 1968-1972. The neighborhood was demolished as part of the Vaughan Street Urban Renewal Project, c. 1968.
Object NamePrint, Photographic
PhotographerThomas Minichiello
Print size3.5” x 3.5”
Search TermsNorth End (Portsmouth)
 North End (Portsmouth, NH)
 Vaughan Street Urban Renewal Project
 Vaughan Street
 Assembly House (Vaughan Street & Raitts Court)
 Meserve-Webster House (Vaughan Street)
 Raitts Court
PeopleWhidden, Michael (Capt.), c1731-1818
Portsmouth Athenaeum (603) 431-2538

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