698 Middle Rd
Portsmouth, NH 03801
The Children’s Home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, also known as The Chase Home for Children, was founded in January of 1877. It was located off of Mount Vernon Street and was home to many orphaned children under the age of 14 to whom it offered education and medical attention. Residents in the home were generally motherless children who had fathers who were employed in an occupation that kept them from being at home, often they were seafaring men. It was also home to homeless children or those with poor parents who could not afford to provide proper care. The home was funded by different religious organizations and shortly after it was founded, George Bilbruck donated the Thomas Bailey Aldrich House at 51 Court Street, and the organization relocated.
In April, 1881, George B. Chase sold a mansion which had been in his family for three generations to the children’s home for only $1. This mansion was located on 53 Court Street and came elegantly furnished with the deed specifying that the home be “forever held, preserved and devoted to a Home for Children.” In August of 1883 the home was declared, “‘The Chase Home for Children in Portsmouth, New Hampshire” and the children moved in. The building next door which had formerly been the children’s home became The Cottage Hospital, which was dedicated to helping the needy.
In February 1915, trustees of The Chase Home purchased 22 acres of land located between Middle Road and Greenleaf Avenue. On this land, a new fireproof building was constructed and included safety enhancements which met the newest building regulations at the time. This building still stands today and continues to be used to help needy families and children.
Many people claim to have seen entities throughout the home. The spirit of a young girl is often seen roaming the halls of the girls dorms and when she is approached she runs down the hall and disappears. The claims are that this girl hung herself late one night, and eerie screams and moans are often heard in the girl’s dormitory late at night. The third floor which was once used to house employees has been empty for years. Volunteers who have worked in this part of the building say that disembodied footsteps can still be heard walking or running towards the stairs. These sounds will suddenly stop just as mysteriously as they start. One volunteer would refuse to close the building at night by themselves because they felt like they were being watched by something unseen. In the kitchen, the lights will flash on and off and the ceiling fans sometimes turn on by themselves even though the only switch for them is 20 ft. away on the other side of the kitchen. Volunteers have also noticed locked doors becoming inexplicably unlocked, and they speculate that a spectral key keeper may still roam the property.