What is New Hampshire’s First State House?
New Hampshire's First State House was built in 1758 in Portsmouth as the seat of New Hampshire’s colonial government. The resource currently in storage under State stewardship consists of 480 18th-century building pieces from the third of the building that survived sale to private ownership and conversion into a townhouse in 1836. The remaining original building pieces include mostly major framing members, wall sheathing, and floor boards.
What was New Hampshire’s First State House project?
The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources’ project, supported by an Economic Development Initiative grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has been a planning project to explore New Hampshire’s First State House’s value as a historical artifact and potential catalyst to heritage tourism in New Hampshire, and to determine the best use or uses of the resource based on a series of targeted studies and public comment.
The project’s intention has been to appropriately preserve the remnants of New Hampshire’s First State House and to create greater opportunities for the public to enjoy and benefit from the resource’s history and values by:
• understanding exactly what building elements remain of New Hampshire’s first State House. Click here to see digital models.
• assessing the current physical condition of the remaining building elements. Click here to see conditions assessment.
• considering the interpretive stories the resource can tell and the various ways those stories could be shared with the public. Click here to see the Interpretation Assessment
• determining the economic viability and community benefits of various interpretation and reuse options for New Hampshire’s First State House within the context of historic preservation, heritage tourism, and other historic attractions in New Hampshire. Click here to see the Economic Assessment
• sharing the current understanding of the resource with the public and inviting public comment. Click here to see public meeting minutes and comments
How will New Hampshire benefit from this project?
Of the state houses constructed in the original 13 colonies, only a handful of original structures survive today. New Hampshire is in the unusual position of holding rediscovered remnants of its first state house – remnants that survived almost two centuries of alteration and deterioration, but could still convey significant developments in New Hampshire and New England history and speak to current generations. This project will recapture key chapters of New Hampshire and New England history and provide benefits from a unique resource currently in storage and inaccessible.