East Andover Village Shown in an Old Postcard

Unique history of the Portsmouth Schoolhouse

By Rita Norander

This picture of East Andover Village is from a post card in my collection which probably belonged to my mother, and possibly her parents or grandparents before her. The picture was most likely taken from an upstairs window in what is now the Highland Lake Inn. On the right is Maple Street which is heading south towards the main road (today’s Route 11). Across the main road is Chase Hill Road, and in the distance Chase Hill which is where my grandfather (Guy Hersey) and his sisters grew up.

Prominently seen in the center of the picture is the Congregational Church. (Note – the chimney of the mill building on Maple Street partially blocks the center view of the church.) To the right of the church is the Grange Hall, but at the time this picture was taken, it was probably known as Union Hall. To the right of the Grange is the old Portsmouth Schoolhouse (District #10). This is the first picture I have seen that shows all of the Portsmouth Schoolhouse, and how it was positioned in the small area between the Grange and Chase Hill Road. In the past, I have only seen pictures of the school children (including my grandfather and his sisters) standing in front of the building for a class picture.

According to Ralph Chaffee, the new East Andover School (today’s East Andover Village Preschool) was built in 1903. In the fall of that year, the Portsmouth Schoolhouse, after having served as a school for more than 75 years, was moved down the hill on Route 11 to a new site. It was reported that the move required the help of eight horses and fourteen oxen. The schoolhouse was renovated into a regular family dwelling which still stands beside today’s Franklin Highway. (Going towards Franklin, it is the first house on the right after the church.)

Since the Portsmouth School was moved to its new location in the fall of 1903, this picture had to have been taken at least 116 years ago!