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Gardner House: 1907

Gardner House: 1907

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, circa 1907. "Gardner House." Built in 1760 by Mark Hunking Wentworth, with subsequent additions. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative. View full size.


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Modern landscape

At least they are mowing the lawn now that "those excrescences were removed"!

To restore or not to restore

According to the Wentworth-Gardner website, the house was sold in 1854, so it's very likely that the new owner added the Italianate porches about then. They were almost certainly removed by Wallace Nutting after he bought the house in 1915. The door that's now on the house appears to be entirely a product of the restoration -- there doesn't seem to be anything of it in the 1907 photo. Even the pilasters now have bases and different proportions. I wonder if the restored doorway was based on any documentation, or if it was Nutting's own design, an expression of 1915 rather than 1760. Admittedly, it is magnificent, either way.

On the whole, I agree with Winstrol that it's rather a shame to have lost the Victorian porches. Their classical design echoed the classicism of the original house while adapting it to the tastes of a different era, adding a layer of architecture that expressed a change in ownership and the passage of time. I find that sense of history as an ongoing process that adds layers of meaning, rather than a single moment, to be very powerful.

Victoriana Shorn

The modern photo from Bodych shows they’ve restored-away the later additions. I know that’s normal, but I’m not sure replicating the past is better than preserving the full history of a house. Tough decision.

[We have no idea when those excrescences were removed. - Dave]

Better than ever now

Looks like it's a stately, beautifully restored historic site now, as seen here:

It also looks like they changed its address from Gardner Street to 50 Mechanic Street.

[Nothing changed. The address is the street the house fronts on, not the side street. - Dave]

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