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Portsmouth Wharves: 1907

Circa 1907. "Coal wharves at Portsmouth, New Hampshire." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Circa 1907. "Coal wharves at Portsmouth, New Hampshire." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Same place?

In response to jondapicam's comment, here is a contemporary shot by Larry Richardson -- "Tugboats In Portsmouth - Portsmouth NH early in the morning, tugboats sitting patiently, waiting for there next ship to guide through the harbor."


This shot was also used for a ca. 1910 Post card.


They still keep them in the same place. The cams on the news always show them tied to the dock like in this picture.

Not so scenic any more

I just came to think that the major commercial ports are not so scenic any more. All you get to see, most of the time, are container ships in varying sizes, plus the respective shore installations, with the odd cruise ship thrown in.

Impressive no doubt. But so boring.


The three cities I've lived in over the course of 67 years are all on rivers. Two of them, Hickman, Kentucky, and Memphis, are on the Mississippi River. The third, Little Rock, is on the Arkansas River. So I always feel a kinship with the long-gone denizens of places such as this 1907 city of Portsmouth, NH. Most of the time rivers seem so placid and inviting. On occasion, tides of flood waters roll down their channels, cascading onto the surrounding land because there simply isn't enough room in the normal channel of the river for all the water to flow. In such times the rivers don't seem so peaceful. The Piscataqua River is, I assume, the one we see in this photograph. I learned from the all-knowing Internet that this is a "tidal river" and is 12 miles long from source to sea. I also learned that there has been flooding several times this decade along its shores. So, as peaceful as it appeared on this day in 1907, it would probably sometimes become a ravening mass of floodwaters, even back then. Knowing that, I still find these river photos fascinating, and peaceful.

But in looking at this 1907 photograph the thing that caught my eye in the enlarged version sits on the left edge of the frame. A doorway with these words painted above it: "Antique Furniture." And here I thought that was a trend that developed in the 1970s! From years of following this pictorial blog I should have known that nothing is all that new. Even those of us who can clearly recall adult years spent without any personal computer existing at all should know that to those born since the turn of this century, even PCs seem old-fashioned.

What reminds me of could be summed up as: With change comes continuity.

Thanks to Dave and all the Shorpy followers who make my days better.

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