Thursday, February 09, 2012
"The building was once a hotdog factory and, before that, the largest brewery in the country.
Portsmouth is already an arty town, but the idea of another performance space and a decent-sized gallery is exciting, particularly as the age and style of the Frank Jones building suggests the flexible, ruggedly textured exhibit spaces that have been such successes for showing modern art at Mass MOCA, DIA Beacon, and several other converted industrial buildings.
Frank Jones had been mayor of Portsmouth and a Representative in the U.S. House when he lost the election for Governor of New Hampshire by a small margin in 1880 and rededicated himself to his various businesses which stretched all the way down to South Boston. He expanded the Portsmouth Brewery in the massive red brick style of classic New England mill buildings.
The Jones buildings covered a huge area and were very famous. Most of them are gone now -- big as it seems today, the old fermentation building on the left, above, that Mr Greiner wants to convert is dwarfed by its now absent neighbor with the clock tower.
The profits from the production of Jones Ale, a quarter of a million barrels of which were produced annually, were enormous, combined with the income from all his other enterprises. He purchased 1000 acres of land on the outskirts of Portsmouth and built Maplewood Farm and enjoyed it with his family for the last four years of his life.
Now shorn of it's 1000 acres and with Maplewood Avenue passing between its front steps and the tree on the left, Jones's home has been broken up into apartments. But not too far away, one of the last remnants of his vast brewery may be about to take on a new and important role in Portsmouth's cultural life.
This picture was not taken here at the house. I found it on the web and wanted to share this delightful scene. We have deer but they've never come this close to the house. That we know of.