Among the many things that I learned this weekend, and it turned out to be a real learnin’ time, I found out that Portsmouth was originally called Strawberry Banke. The reason was that when the settlers arrived in 1630, there were masses of wild strawberries all over. Then they decided that a shipping and business hub needed to have a more ‘professional’ name and so changed it to Portsmouth. I actually like the name Strawberry Banke better.
Anyhoo, back in the 1950s when urban renewal was in, all of the old buildings in the Puddle Dock area were going to be torn down for new construction. This was the oldest neighborhood in Portsmouth. A group of people bought the 10 acres of the property and have been working on restoring all of the old buildings and created the outdoor museum complex of Strawberry Banke.
There are 36 buildings and they left all the buildings were they stood except for several homes that were moved from another site to be saved from demolition, like the Governor Goodwin mansion.
Can you believe a developer was going to tear this down? 😯 Unbelievable. It was saved and brought to Strawberry Banke. They restored it to period pieces of the late 1700s, I believe.
Including an old kitchen. Pretty spacious, too!
They also recreated his wife’s garden based upon her writing, including a greehouse with period plants.
Of course, I had to find the resident kitteh! His name was George? and he was very friendly.
Each of the houses was different in terms of what year it was brought back to look like. Some buildings were left as is to show building construction. Some were done in older periods.
Some were relatively newer.
There was the general store, which was stocked as it would be in the 1940s.
Several of the places had period characters that would describe life in the time period they were in, including the grocer who told us about the rationing and how hard it was to get certain foods like butter and milk.
The nice thing about Strawberry Banke is that your admission ticket is good for 2 days. So, we saw some on Saturday and then went back Sunday morning. It was neat because we were there right when it opened on Sunday and got pretty much private talks, which was neat!
Demonstrations also were done like blacksmithing, gardening, weaving and cooking.
We went to a weaving cottage and saw all the old machinery.
We were the only ones there, so the guide let us take a chance on the small looms.
That was fun, but I don’t see me wanting to buy a loom. 😀
BTW, the flags were to designate which buildings were open for visitors that day. Some buildings are still being restored. Definitely a very good place to visit. Admission was $17.50, although we saved $3 with a coupon. It’s nice having the option of going both days.
Bye Portsmouth! We enjoyed our weekend!