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Department of Cultural Resources

The Department of Cultural Resources (DCR) became the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources (DNCR) on July 1, 2017 when its divisions, the State Library, State Arts Council and Division of Historical Resources, merged with the Division of Parks & Recreation and the Division of Forests & Lands, formerly of the now-dissolved Department of Resources & Economic Development. The Film Office joined the Department of Business and Economic Affairs on July 1, 2018.

This website serves as an archive of press releases and other information created by the DCR prior to the formation of the DNCR and continues to serve as an important information resource.

For up-to-date information from the DNCR, visit

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Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
(603) 271-3136
Twitter: @NHCulture

Peter Michaud, N.H. Division of Historical Resources

Portsmouth Downtown Historic District named to National Register of Historic Places

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is proud to announce that the Portsmouth Downtown Historic District has been honored by the United States Secretary of the Interior with placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

What is now downtown Portsmouth began when European colonists, sailing on the Pied Cow, established a colony at Strawbery Banke in 1630. As New Hampshire’s only port, it became a center for maritime-related industries and trade. The downtown expanded throughout the 19th century as the city diversified and factories, commerce and neighborhoods developed west of the downtown core.

The 1,278 resources that contribute to the National Register listing include commercial, residential, and civic buildings, as well as places of worship, parks and playgrounds, cemeteries, carriage houses, monuments and archaeological sites.

While many commercial buildings are part of large, multi-story brick blocks, the architectural styles of residences range widely, including Greek Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne and contemporary. Several large Federal and Georgian houses within the district, now historic house museums, have Colonial Revival-era gardens.

“By building count, the Portsmouth Downtown Historic District is by far the state’s largest historic district on the National Register of Historic Places,” said Elizabeth Muzzey, director of the N.H. Division of Historical Resources and state historic preservation officer, “It’s a fitting tribute for New Hampshire’s oldest city.”

Administered by the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation and is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archaeological resources.

Listing to the National Register does not impose any new or additional restrictions or limitations on the use of private or non-federal properties. Listings identify historically significant properties and can serve as educational tools and increase heritage tourism opportunities. The rehabilitation of National Register-listed commercial or industrial buildings may qualify for certain federal tax provisions.

In New Hampshire, listing to the National Register makes applicable property owners eligible for grants such as the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program or LCHIP ( and the Conservation License Plate Program (

For more information on the National Register program in New Hampshire, please visit or contact Peter Michaud at the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources at 603-271-3583.

New Hampshire’s Division of Historical Resources, the “State Historic Preservation Office,” was established in 1974. The historical, archaeological, architectural and cultural resources of New Hampshire are among its most important environmental assets. Historic preservation promotes the use, understanding and conservation of such resources for the education, inspiration, pleasure and enrichment of New Hampshire’s citizens. For more information, visit or call 603-271-3483.




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