Have you ever wondered how Anthony House (a senior living apartment building at 51 Middle Road) got its name? If you are a long term resident of Portsmouth you might remember that it was once the Henry F. Anthony School. Some of those living at Anthony House may just have been students at Anthony School.

Who was “Henry F. Anthony” and why was a school named for him? Henry Franklin Anthony was Chairman of the Portsmouth School Committee for over 46 years. He was the son of Asa Burrington Anthony and was born and grew up at the Anthony Homestead on West Main Road (AKA Willow Brook and now Connors Funeral Home.) He was the station agent for the railroad for 55 years.

For years Portsmouth had a series of one and two room schools. Anne Hutchinson School on Bristol Ferry Road was built in the 1920s as one of the first “modern” school buildings. By 1937 Portsmouth students needed a modern building for the upper grades. The ten room Anthony School was constructed in 1937 but it opened in February of 1938. WPA (Works Progress Administration) workers graded the grounds and newspaper accounts said students would be making some things that were needed.

The original teachers came from other schools in the district.

Miss Mary Shea – 8th grade and principal
Miss Catherine Moran – 8th grade
Edna Griffin – 7th grade
Mr. Fanning – 7th grade
Francis Carroll – 7th grade
Miss Speigle – 6th grade
Miss Simmons – 5th and 6th grade
Miss Marion Gray – 6th grade

By 1973 Anthony School was closed. Portsmouth Middle School opened in 1971 to educate the students in grades 5 to 8. The elementary students who were at Anthony School were transferred to the new Elmhurst School in 1973.

By 1980 the Portsmouth School Department sold the building to HFA Associates. In 1982, Anthony House opened with 71 apartment units for independent living. Seventeen of those apartments are in the old Anthony School Building. It is still a useful building.