Portsmouth Advocates 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 see below for our research tips and how to get started in learning about the history of your building.

To read about Historic Plaque Details, Specifications and Order your Plaque CLICK HERE.

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. A written 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
nhpreservation.org/s/Researching-your-old-house_Cushing-and-Williams.docx (Word .docx)
nhpreservation.org/s/DHRs-Research-Sources-for-NH-Historic-Sites2.doc (Word .doc)