Cotton Tenant was one of the first houses rehabilitated under the Heritage House Program.
"Before," above on the right and "After" on the left.
COTTON TENANT -- Traditional Craft Center and Horticulture Learning Center
Born in Portsmouth in 1800, Leonard Cotton was descended from a family that had been in the town since 1650. By the 1830s Cotton was a retail grocer on Pleasant Street, selling spices, tea, coffee and sugar, and possibly some alcoholic beverages.
Cotton was already capitalizing on the economic changes in Portsmouth in the 1830s. With trade in decline, the level of wealth in the area was falling. Fewer people could afford to buy homes; more were renting. Cotton bought a piece of land in a prime location near Puddle Dock in 1834 and built these two rental houses on it.
He continued to buy lots and houses, and by the time of his death in 1872, he owned more than forty properties in this neighborhood and elsewhere in the city.
The Cotton Tenant Houses are strikingly similar, not only in dimensions and framing members, but also in doors, trim, and original hardware. Both houses exhibit more modern frames than most other Strawbery Banke houses. They also have rafter roofs without purlins, a common feature of houses constructed after 1830. As houses built for rental they lack most of the simplest decoration that lower-income owners traditionally put into their own homes.
Cotton Tenant South holds a weaving demonstration with several different looms available for visitors to try under the direction of the interpreter, as well as a basket-making demonstration. Cotton Tenant North holds the Horticultural Learning Center that hosts different programs during the year.
NEW & NOTEWORTHY
Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond
New! Online ticketing is available for the 2022-2023 season.
Enjoy classic New England ice skating at Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond, Strawbery Banke's seasonal and professionally maintained outdoor rink.
Seacoast Skating with the Stars
Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, at 2 PM
Strawbery Banke Museum, in partnership with Ice Dance International, presents Seacoast Skating with the Stars (SSWTS) professional skating show. Directed by Douglas Webster, Ice Dance International (IDI) and Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond Artistic Director, local "stars" are paired with IDI pros in a skate-off for audience votes.
"Run Through History" Half-Kilometer Walk/Run
Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, at 1 PM
A half-k? Not a typo! Join Strawbery Banke for the second annual "Run Through History" half-kilometer. A $20 registration fee/donation benefits the Museum's "History Within Reach" program.
2023 Summer Camps
Limited Availability Remaining!
Learn about all aspects of life in the past and how it connects to the world today. Enjoy hands-on, one-of-a-kind interactive experiences, where investigating and exploring history, science, sports, art, theater, and cooking leads to fun-packed days at Strawbery Banke Museum's nearly 10-acre site.
Liberty Fare Dining
Liberty Fare Dining's extraordinary dining experience is a whimsical nautical treat for all. Inspired by local maritime history, visitors are invited to step aboard. The menu varies with the season, so expect hearty breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare year-round. And, of course, delightful ice cream treats and bakery goods.