The Bristol Ferry area of Portsmouth was a transportation hub even in colonial times. It was a train station, a ferry landing, a loading dock for animals headed to market, a stage coach stop, a trolley car stop and a landing place for steam boats.
The path to Bristol Ferry became a bustling community with taverns and shops catering to travellers. By the old ferry landing is the Town Common. On March 12, 1714, the common is listed in a list of "Rhodes, Ways and Lanes in Portsmouth." This document is available in town archives. Regarding the Town Common by Bristol Ferry, it says:
"… the piece of land near Abel Trip house adjoining to the ferry against Bristol, is left for the conveniency (sic) of the Public in importing and transporting of Cattel (sic), Sheep, Horses, wood, rails, etc. and is bounded on the bank against the salt water 12 rods, and against the land of John Earl & John Earl _____ twelve rods and against the land of John Pool, John Tripp and Abel Tripp, that is, from the Earl ____ his corner to Thomas Borden's Northeast corner aforesaid, is twenty rods and from Borden's down to the lege (sic) of the bank next to the salt water is nineteen rods."
The "On the Water" exhibit at the Portsmouth Historical Society (Memorial Day to Columbus Day) will display more information on the historic Bristol Ferry area of Portsmouth.