Architecture Advocates: Lafayette Newell
by J Dennis Robinson
Portsmouth is unique. New Hampshire’s only seaport, soon to celebrate its 400th anniversary, blends charm and culture with vitality and commerce. In this series historian J.Dennis Robinson profiles people who influenced, honored, pictured, preserved, and promoted the historic architecture of “The Old Town by the Sea.”
In an age when cameras are ubiquitous, it’s hard to believe. But besides a few sketches in word or pen, we barely know what old Portsmouth looked like. There are a few fuzzy images of buildings, but until the Civil War, most local photos are portraits of people, posing stiffly. While Lafayette V. Newell (1833 – 1914) took his share of studio shots, he also carried his heavy wooden camera, tripod, and fragile glass plates into the field.