Photograph Record

Image of P7.55_02, Print, Photographic
Image of P7.55_02, Print, Photographic
Catalog NumberP7.55_02
CollectionHarriman Photograph Collection
TitleOld Assembly House
Year Range from1937
Year Range to1938
DescriptionThe former Assembly House on the corner of Vaughn Street and Raitt’s Court, Portsmouth, NH.

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 the Franklin Hall on Congress Street. In1838, James Raitt, a local blacksmith, bought the property. The Assembly Hall’s large center hall was removed and the building was divided into two separate tenements (as seen in the photograph) with Raitts Court between them.

During the Vaughan Street Urban Renewal Project, c. 1968, the former Assembly House was spared the initial rounds of demolition, but ultimately due to a lack of historical evidence, it was demolished in the early 1970s.
Object NamePrint, Photographic
PhotographerHarriman, Arthur I. (Portsmouth)
Search TermsVaughan Street
 North End (Portsmouth)
 Raitts Court
 Assembly House (Vaughan Street & Raitts Court)
PeopleWashington, George, 1732-1799
 Whidden, Michael (Capt.), c1731-1818
Portsmouth Athenaeum (603) 431-2538

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