Portsmouth Advocates

COMING SOON: Historic Plaques Program

Portsmouth Advocates is excited to once again offer historical building signs to local property owners. Our Historic Plaques Program offers research resources, professional assistance, data verification, and commemorative plaques to those seeking to identify the origins of their building.

Now that the Portsmouth Downtown Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places, and as we prepare for our 400th anniversary celebration, we can truly realize the pivotal role history plays in the evolution of our community. Is your house part of this story?

Please stay tuned in the coming weeks for more details on plaque designs and how to order. In the meantime, check out our research tips for how to get started in learning about the history of your building.

Building History Research Tips

To apply for a historic building plaque for your building, you will need to provide at least 3 of the following documents for verification:

  1. Deed History with grantor, grantee names, dates, plat number and years of transaction.
  2. Historic Maps such as Sanborn Fire Maps, Tax or Insurance Maps, etc.
  3. Awritten narrative including people and events with sources cited. This may include noteworthy people, places, events, information on the building’s design/style/character, setting, materials and workmanship.
  4. Citizen Records, such as voter registrations, city directories, church logs etc.
  5. Portsmouth Atheneum’s Historic Properties Survey by the Portsmouth Advocates.

Wondering where to find this information? You can start here:

Deed Search
County Property Ownership records

Portsmouth Athenaeum Research Library
Historic Properties Inventory, census data, insurance logs, church registries, citizen & voter directories, maps, & personal assistance
6-9 Market Square, Portsmouth, NH. 03801
Tuesday – Saturday, 1-4 p.m.

Portsmouth Public Library / Special Collections Room
Local Historical Books, History Vertical Files, local newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, brochures, photos, cemetery directories, obituary database
175 Parrott Ave. Portsmouth, NH. 03801
Weekdays, 9-9
Saturdays all year & Sundays Sept – May, 9-5

New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources
Historical Surveys, Project Applications, Personal Assistance
19 Pillsbury Street, Concord, NH. 03301-3570

Historic New England

New Hampshire Preservation Alliance


About Portsmouth Advocates

The preservation group, the Portsmouth Advocates, Inc., was formed to promote the maintenance of the historical and architectural integrity of the buildings of the city of Portsmouth within and outside of the historic districts, and to encourage the preservation and restoration of historically significant structures. We are dedicated to the preservation of our city’s unique historic character as an essential part of making Portsmouth a better place to live and work.

If you would like more information, or would like to join us in our efforts, please call 603-436-8433 or send an e-mail to info@portsmouthhistory.org.

For more information on the City of Portsmouth’s Planning Department visit Plan Portsmouth.

Historic Preservation Tours with Richard Candee