NPS Logo

Historical Background

Biographical Sketches

Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

Text and History of Constitution

Suggested Reading

Signers of the Constitution
Survey of
Historic Sites and Buildings

New Hampshire
Governor John Langdon Mansion
Governor John Langdon Mansion

Location: Rockingham County, 143 Pleasant Street, Portsmouth.

John Langdon built this elaborate and stately Georgian mansion in 1784, while serving as president, or Governor, of New Hampshire, and resided in it until his death in 1819. Guests he entertained there included George Washington, James Monroe, John Hancock, Lafayette, and the exiled Louis Philippe of France.

The edifice, which reflects not only Langdon's wealth but also his affection for French styles, emulates continual European 18th-century elegance. It is unaltered and in view of the delicacy of many of its details is in remarkably good condition. Two tall interior chimneys rise from the rear of the hipped roof of the 2-1/2 story, five-bay structure. The classical captain's walk is surrounded by a Chippendale railing. Three dormers, whose pediments are scrolled, project from beneath the walk. Corinthian pilasters, with intricately carved capitals, serve as cornerposts of the house. Wings extending from its rear add to the complexity of the floor plan. Brick guardhouses, formerly estate offices, stand at each side of the mansion.

Governor John Langdon Mansion
Governor John Langdon Mansion. (National Park Service (Post, 1973).)

Four Corinthian columns support the balustraded portico, which shelters the main entrance. A rectangular transom tops the three-light, nine-panel front door. Curving up on either side of the tall center window over the portico is a large surface scroll. Louvered shutters accent the other first- and second-floor windows. Dentiled cornices adorn the roofline, dormers, and portico.

The interior features are equally elegant. Of special interest is the carved paneling, particularly that in the parlor. Arched panels over the windows, with a fleur-de-lis carved above each keystone, embellish the dining room.

The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities owns and administers the mansion, which is surrounded by elaborate gardens and is furnished with period pieces. It is open to the public from June through October.

Previous Next
Last Updated: 29-Jul-2004