The Dolphin Striker
Set in a historic building at the corner of Ceres and Bow Streets, adjacent to the Portsmouth Harbor, The Dolphin Striker is a gem in Portsmouth’s dining scene. Their thoughtfully crafted menu drawn from cuisine worldwide and tailored to New England tastes looks to celebrate the region’s freshest bounty. With its curbside appeal and great location nestled amongst Portsmouth’s galleries and boutiques, The Dolphin Striker is a ‘must-see’ when in Portsmouth.
On a snowy April 4th, 1974, plans for the renovation of 15 Bow Street were laid down. Shortly thereafter, construction of the Dolphin Dolphin Striker and then-unnamed tavern began. During the excavation of the cellar, a spring-fed well was uncovered which local historians verified as the Spring Hill Well, circa 1761. This prompted the naming of the tavern and a search into the fascinating history of Ceres Street.
In 1630, the first settlers sailed up the Piscataqua and anchored in the cove where the tugboats are new berthed. They came ashore and climbed a small strawberry-covered hill to find springs of water, one of which now feeds the Spring Hill Tavern Well. This area, at the junction of Bow and Ceres Streets, soon became known as Sping Hill.
Here the first market was established, and in 1761 the tavern erected a building called The Market. The women from the Maine side of the River came in small canoes with farm produce to sell or barter. Their leader was Hannah Mariner, one of the Market’s most formidable characters.
In 1802, on the day after Christmas, much of the town ( including the Market Area) went up in flames. After the fire, the present row of brick structures, known then as Merchant’s Row, was built. Sailing Ships crowded alongside the busy docks unloading their cargoes into the cellars and sub-cellars of these buildings. These ships would depart with their deck casks filled with the water of the Spring Hill well.
During the 1800’s, many businesses occupied One Merchant’s Row. One of the most colourful, a “Fancy House” on the top Floor, flourished with the advent of the Kittery Ferry Service in 1895. Passengers and Sailors debarked to see its pretty girls waving from the top story windows.
At the turn of the century, Portsmouth became known as the Wine and Beer Market of the New World. When Frank Jones and other local brewers were at their peak, shiploads of Canadian grain were stored in the buildings of Merchant’s Row. Thus, it is generally agreed that Ceres Street takes its name from the Roman Goddess of the Harvest.
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