Penhallow House at Strawbery Banke to be restored

Penhallow House at Strawbery Banke will be restored, thanks to a $125,000 grant from LCHIP.

The Penhallow House at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth will be restored with a $125,000 grant from the Land & Community Heritage Investment Program.

Rodney Rowland, director of special projects and facilities, said it is one of the last historic houses to be restored at the museum.

“It’s a really exciting moment for Strawbery Banke,” Rowland said. “The Penhallow House is a very important historic structure.”

Penhallow House was built by Samuel Penhallow about 1750 and originally stood at the southeast corner of Court and Pleasant streets. The saltbox-style house was moved to its present site in 1862.

“That type of architecture is exceedingly rare in Portsmouth,” Rowland said.

According to the museum’s website, Penhallow was a highly respected local magistrate and deacon of North Church.

As a judge, Penhallow was known for his swift and impartial dispensation of the law.

Penhallow’s grandfather, also named Samuel, was born in Cornwall, England, and served as a king’s councilor, treasurer and chief justice of the province, according to the museum’s website.

The restoration money will be used to fix the foundation and roof of the house. Where there are currently two entrances to public restrooms, a covered porch will be added to return the structure to its earlier appearance.

Rowland said the museum will honor the life of Kenneth Richardson when the house is complete. Richardson lived in the Penhallow House in the 1950s when it was divided into apartments.

It is believed Richardson was the first Black supervisor at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. He was also a musician and barber.

The Penhallow House is already a stop on the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail because free Black people registered with Penhallow to certify their status and prove their exemption from slave curfew laws.

Rowland said in addition to the area dedicated to Richardson’s legacy, the house will have three studio apartments. They will produce income for the museum.

A total of 32 projects throughout the state received LCHIP grants for a total of $4,181,750 awarded.

In Portsmouth, North Church was awarded $11,750 for a planning study and South Church received $250,000.

During a recorded video statement played during the virtual announcements on Thursday, Gov. Chris Sununu said the fact that these projects can move forward is important.

“As you guys know, whether it’s conserving lands, the historical restoration projects we see all across our state, all of this really impacts our community ...” Sununu said.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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