The Hartford Building
From 1870 when Fernando W. Hartford first came to Portsmouth in a horse and buggy, the leading newspaper publisher, mayor (seven terms) and the town’s most enthusiastic booster (collaborating to provide a cleaner city government, a new interstate capital bridge The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, formation of a hospital, a preserved Navy Yard, among many other achievements) one might think he was a current candidate for office. The irony, this man once labeled an office devil (while employed at the Manchester Union Leader), graduated from the biggest college of the United States – The College of Hard Knocks, the College of Hard Work and ultimately consolidated several of the “dailies and weeklies” including The Evening Times, The Morning Chronicle, The Portsmouth Republican, The New Hampshire Gazette, among several others with ties for the equity to do so by none other than Portsmouth’s famous ale maker Frank Jones.
While the building still bears the Hartford Building name, photographs from the early 1900’s depict a myriad of facades with varying aesthetic details from varying storefronts (including a former Druggist) all generally include the existing two street-level entries on Congress Street. The renovation and addition of a rear building at the corner of Porter and Chestnut Street once house the Hotel Dewitt.
Over the many decades later a list of occupants even to present include many financial institutions, a regionally acclaimed music store, as well as the federal government. Located in an up-and-coming arts and music venue destination (the Music Hall, the Loft, Jimmy’s Jazz and Blues Club as well as MONA Portsmouth,) at the corners of Congress, Chestnut and Porter Streets, this 31,000 square foot boasts one full floorplate of retail space and two full floors of multi-tenant office space with an on-site garage parking.