Portsmouth Visual Label Program
The land for this park was given to the city by Miss Eliza A. Haven through a bequest following her death in 1897. The last direct descendant of Dr. Samuel Haven, who stipulated in his will that the ancestral family mansion be "taken entirely apart, selling only the materials thereof." This reflected the desire of Samuel Haven, who stipulated in his will that the house be demolished after his death of his last surviving descendant and that his land be given to the city. The Haven family had long been prominent in Portsmouth and was known for its generous (and often anonymous) contributions to the city. Eliza continued this tradition, donating not only the family land for the creation of this public park, but also substantial funding for its maintenance and for the acquisition of additional land to expand it.
Space for a Park Shown in watercolor painted by Haven descendant Sarah Haven Foster, are from left to right, the 18th century houses of Samuel Haven, Edward Perry, and Jacob Wendell. Haven's house originally had two stories and a gambrel roof, about 1813 the roof was removed and a third story added. In order to create the park, the Haven house was demolished in 1898 and the Perry house was moved to Parrott Avenue and subsequently taken down. The Wendell house, which dates from 1785, still stands
on the corner of Edward and Pleasant streets. Haven House, Watercolor, Sarah Haven Foster Collection, Courtesy of the Portsmouth Public Library.
Dr. Samuel Haven Dr. Samuel Haven, scion of the distinguished Haven family, served as Minister at the South Church from 1752 to 1806. Father of 17 children, he raised them in the house that stood on this site from about 1760 to 1897. A man of many and varied talents, he manufactured high-quality saltpeter for use in the production of gunpowder for Washington's army, experimented widely with agricultural innovations, and was skilled in the medical practices of the time. Portrait of Dr. Samuel Haven. Courtesy of Strawberry Banke Museum.
Haven Park in 1813 This extract from an 1813 map of Portsmouth (at left) depicts the site of what was later to become Haven Park and its surrounding neighborhood. The Haven, Parry, and Wendell houses are shown in their original locations, as is the Livermore House. At the end of Edward Perry's garden along the South Mill Pond the map makes reference to Perry's "Fort Angelsea." It was an eccentric landscape that included high walls and a working cannon. Map of the Compact Port of Portsmouth in the State of New Hampshire, 1813. J.G. Hales, cartographer. Courtesy of the Portsmouth Athenaeum.
Fritz John Porter The equestrian monument in the park honors a Portsmouth native, Major General John Fitz Porter, who was born in the nearby Livermore House in 1822. A hero in the Mexican-American War, Porter fell victim to political infighting following the defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run during the Civil War and was dismissed from the Army. Many years later he was cleared of all charges. The monument was designed by renowned sculptor James Kelly and dedicated in 1906, before a crowd of 5,000 people, five years after Porter's death. Photograph of John Fitz Porter, courtesy of Portsmouth Athenaeum.
Livermore Street Houses This view of the Livermore Street was painted by Charles Goodhue in the early 1950's. It depicts the Livermore House, the birthplace of John Fitz Porter, and the brick Nathaniel Porter House. The Livermore house originally stood across the street but was moved to its current location in 1898 when the park was laid out. Winter scene of Livermore Street, Painting by Charles V. Goodhue. Courtesy of the Portsmouth Athenaeum. Funding for this historic marker provided by the city of Portsmouth, 2011. www.cityofportsmouth.com