Portsmouth

Railroad Stations: Broad St. between Hartford and Woodrow Sts., Port Norfolk, for Atlantic Coast Line R.R. and Southern Ry.; E. end of High St., adjacent to Portsmouth-Norfolk ferries, for Seaboard Air Line Ry. and Chesapeake and Ohio ferry, leaving 8: 45 a.m. daily for Newport News, for Virginian Ry., Norfolk & Western Ry., Chesapeake and Ohio Ry., Pennsylvania R.R. and Norfolk Southern R.R.

Bus Stations: Greyhound Bus Terminal, 118 High St., for Atlantic Greyhound, Penn. Greyhound, Richmond Greyhound, Norfolk Southern, Virginia Coach, Carolina Coach, and Peninsula Transit Lines.

Taxis : Fare 25 cents for 1st m., 10 cents for each additional half m.; no charge for extra passengers.

Local Bus: Fare 70; 16 High St., for busses to Deep Creek, fare 25 cents, round trip 4o cents, and to Bowers Hill, fare 20 cents, round trip 30 cents.

Traffic Regulations: No U-turns under traffic lights, parking limits in business district from io minutes to 2 hours day and night in most congested district.

Accommodations: 4 hotels; numerous tourist homes, especially on highways leading out of the city.

Information Service: Chamber of Commerce, 215J High St.; Tidewater Auto Ass'n, Monroe Hotel, NE. corner Court and High Sts.

Motion Picture Houses: 4, including i for Negroes.

Baseball: Sewanee Field, Washington St. between Lincoln and Henry Sts., for games of Portsmouth 'Truckers,' Piedmont League.

Golf: Portsmouth Country Club, Glensheallah, 0.5 m. NW. of city limits, off W. end High St., 9 holes, open by arrangement, greens fee 25 cents for 9, 4oe for iS holes weekdays, 50~ for 18 holes Sun.; Portsmouth Municipal Golf Course, Portsmouth City Park, 1.5 M. W. of city limits at end of King St., 9 holes, greens fee 25~, 40 for 18 holes, Sat. and Sun. 30e, 50 for 18 holes.\par

Swimming: Y.M.C.A., 527 High St.; Portsmouth Country Club, 0.5 m. NW. of city limits off W. end High St., achn. by arrangement, fee 25 cents; surf bathing at Ocean View, io m. NE. of city limits via Granby St., Norfolk, and Virginia Beach, 20 m. E. of city limits on US 58.

Tennis: Portsmouth City Park, W. end King St., 4 courts, no fee; Portsmouth Country Club, 0.5 m. NW. of city limits off W. end High St., open by arrangement.

Annual Events: Pilgrimage to Cape Henry, Apr. 26; tour to Dismal Swamp and Lake Drummond, round trip fare $1.25, Oct.; Navy Day, Oct. 27 (inspection of shops and ships in dry docks).

In PORTSMOUTH (12 alt., 45,704 POP.) the sea dominates. The odors of brine and creosote fill the air, and the hollow sound of boat whistles floats eerily from the water. Commercial fisheries lie at the end of cobbled alleys and near docks and freight piers. Blue-jacketed sailors hurry to some long anticipated rendezvous or idle in groups. Less conspicuous are the old families of Portsmouth, who cherish their traditions and customs, and find diversions at the country club and cotillion.

The city occupies a waterlocked point of flat land penetrated by numerous arms of the oily Elizabeth River and its southern and western branches. Its geometric blocks, bisected by many railroad tracks, spread from a rich truck-farming section on the southwest to the circling water's edge, lined on the east with piers that look across the river to the jagged Norfolk skyline. The two cities are connected by a tollbridge and profitable ferries commercial shuttles that are crowded with weekend pleasure vehicles. Along Portsmouth's treelined streets, walled in by close-set rows of comparatively modern residences, are occasional survivals of eighteenth-century buildings, many overlooking narrow gardens planted with boxwood, magnolia, and other shrubbery of the South. From dingy Crawford Street, divided by railroad tracks and edged with raucous beer bars intermingled with commercial houses, streets run at right angles to cut their way through the old town, the center of which is occupied by the extensive Seaboard Air Line Railway shops. The commercial life of Portsmouth flourishes along wide and lengthy High Street, which begins opposite the ferry landing, runs between shops and restaurants, lighted at night in a blaze of neon, then past churches and the courthouse, traverses a Negro section, and finally leads into an area of homes. Residential Court Street, a wide north-south artery, begins at the water's edge, runs through midtown, and ends in a cluster of all-night food and beer bars at the guarded entrance of the Navy Yard. During working hours Navy Yard employees hurry along the shaded length of these two thoroughfares, while at night shipbound sailors and marines trudge its darkened sidewalks. Westward stretch the suburbs, densely populated, shaded, flat, and frozen or cooled, according to the season, by winds sweeping across the wide mouth of the Western Branch. Living in numerous sections is Portsmouth's Negro population 41 per cent of the whole), which supplies the city with seafood workers, fishermen, marine yard employees, and domestics. Along parts of County and High Streets, and for several blocks on streets extending toward Scott's Creek, life teems in ramshackle houses that rise flush from the sidewalk. The homes of the business and professional class meet much higher standards. Despite too evident poverty, the Negroes support a theater, and many 'cook shops' and general stores.

Portsmouth's industrial life is carried on in the 40 freight piers that edge the water front, in buildings on the ragged peninsula just beyond the Navy Yard, and in various factories and mills scattered about the city. Cottonseed oil, fertilizer, paint, hosiery, chemicals, foundry products, and lumber constitute the major part of the city's industrial output. The aggregate annual pay roll exceeds $ 12,ooo,ooo. The palisaded village of the Chesapeake Indians had long disappeared when Captain William Carver, mariner, acquired a plantation in 1664 along the brackish southern banks of the Elizabeth River. Later, despite the high offices he held, Captain Carver, 'deciding to risk his old bones against the Indian rogues,' participated in Bacon's Rebellion (1676), even attempting to capture Governor Berkeley. For this treasonable escapade, he was afterwards hanged. His confiscated land was granted in 170 to Colonel William Crawford, who in 1750 laid out a parcel of land into one hundred and twenty-two lots, commodious streets, places for a court house, market, and public landings for a town . . . and made sale . . . to divers persons . . . desirous to settle and build thereon speedily.' Naming the place Portsmouth, he presented it to Norfolk County. In 1752 the general assembly 'enacted . . . that the said . . . parcel of land be . . . established a town . . . and retain the name of Portsmouth.' Among the traders, merchants, and shipbuilders, chiefly Scots, who flocked to the new town, was Andrew Sprowle. Acquiring land immediately to the south, he started the village of Gosport named after the town opposite Portsmouth, England by building a marine yard and tenements for workers. The British Government, recognizing the value of this enterprise, soon took over the yard as a repair station and appointed Andrew Sprowle navy agent. When royal government ended in Virginia in 1775, Governor Dunmore fled to Sprowle's home in Gosport, where he lived 'riotously upon his friend.' For several months, he rallied Tories and Negroes about him and plundered the countryside, until his defeat at Great Bridge. Immediately afterwards he joined the British fleet, accompanied by Sprowle.

Following the burning of Norfolk in 1776, Dunmore and his Tories took possession of Portsmouth and remained until the eccentric General Charles Lee arrived with his forces, and Dunmore sailed away with his whole following. Finding the town a hotbed of Tories, General Lee, 'to quell this Toryism,' had the houses 'of the most notorious Traitors' demolished. Sprowle's property and the abandoned marine yard were seized. Later, Fort Nelson, named for General Thomas Nelson, was erected on Windmill Point. One May morning of 1779, a great gray British fleet, carrying 2,Ooo men and commanded by Sir George Collier, anchored in Elizabeth River. General Edward Mathew of the fleet burned Fort Nelson and the marine yard, and the British departed. Portsmouth was the landing place and base for three other invading British expeditions under Leslie, Arnold, and Phillips.\par The Revolution had repercussions in Portsmouth. Filled with refugees from burned Norfolk, the town, tolerant at first, soon flamed with indignation. About 1784 'those execrable miscreants called Tories' were told 'to leave this town immediately' or 'measures' would be taken. Thus banished, the 'Tories' went back to ruined Norfolk. In 1784 Andrew Sprowle's confiscated property, Gosport, was divided into lots and made a part of Portsmouth. A decade later, the navy yard, which the State had retained, was lent to the Federal Government, Captain Richard Dale was placed in command, and the keel of a frigate was laid. The Chesapeake, the first ship built by the Federal Government, was completed in 1799. In 18oi the Government purchased the Gosport Navy Yard (now Norfolk Navy Yard) for $12,000. In 1798 a visitor remarked that 'one might walk from Portsmouth to Norfolk on the decks of vessels at anchor.' In an attempt to take Portsmouth and the navy yard during the War of 1812, the British landed 2,6oo men at Port Norfolk (now a part of Portsmouth), but the guns of Fort Nelson and Fort Norfolk stopped the invasion. A fresh onslaught was made on sandy Craney Island, lined with redoubts. Approaching in barges, the British were met with a bombardment that sank several vessels and caused an immediate retreat. After extending its town limits in 18 11, Portsmouth witnessed the opening of the Dismal Swamp Canal in 1812, a 'boat containing i o,ooo shingles' being the first to pass over the mingled waters of Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle Sound. In 1821, when the first horseboat ferry was built, the town was swept by a fire of incendiary origin, but it was soon rebuilt. The land on which Fort Nelson lay was augmented by a 61 acre tract in 1826, the old fort was demolished, and on its site a naval hospital was begun. The town's first railroad was chartered in 1834, and public schools were established in 1846. During this period Portsmouth attended its jockey, cricket, and quoit clubs; frequented racecourses; watched the launching of the Lady of the Lake (1830), which 'moved by its own steam'; and welcomed such visitors as Andrew Jackson (1833) and Henry Clay (1844). Yellow fever, brought by a ship just returned from the tropics, decimated the inhabitants of Portsmouth in 1855. Of the 4,000 people who remained in the town during the epidemic, 1,o89 died. In 1858 Portsmouth was chartered as a city. When Virginia seceded from the Union, the Gosport Navy Yard was evacuated and burned, after which Virginia troops occupied the area. In May 1862 the Confederates burned the navy yard and evacuated the area. Then Federal forces moved in, established martial law in Portsmouth, and again took possession of the navy yard. Another phase of Portsmouth's commercial era begap in 1837 with the completion of the Portsmouth and Roanoke Railroad. Subsequently this line was incorporated in the Virginia and Carolina Railroad, which in 1900 became the Seaboard Air Line Railway, with its coastal terminus at Portsmouth. Branches of two other railroads, the Atlantic Coast Line and the Southern, bring inland produce to the city. Since taking over the lines of the Atlantic and Danville Railway in 1894, the Southern has built an elaborate system of freight piers on the Western Branch. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Portsmouth started extending its wharves along the water front, and, as necessity demanded, demolished its old houses to make way for modern business establishments.

POINTS OF INTEREST

The NORFOLK COUNTY COURTHOUSE (Open 9-5 Mon.-Fri., 9-1 Sat.), NW. corner Court and High Sts., is a brick building with broad stone steps leading to a shallow, four columned portico. The first court\-house for Norfolk County, erected 1693, stood on land later part of Norfolk City, was burned by Dunmore in 1776, and was rebuilt between 1784 and 1788. In 1801-1803 a courthouse was built in Portsmouth on this, the third site. The present building, erected in 1844-46, was later remodeled. New Norfolk County was formed in 1636 from Elizabeth City County and the next year divided into Upper Norfolk and Lower Nor\-folk. The present Norfolk County was cut from Lower Norfolk in 1691 TRINITY CHURCH (open 9:30-5 daily), SW. corner Court and High Sts., is a brick building, stuccoed tan, with green classical trim. One of the original churches of Portsmouth Parish formed from Elizabeth River Parish in 1761, it was erected in 1762, partly rebuilt in 1829, and later remodeled. The bell, which cracked while pealing the news of Cornwallis's surrender, was recast. The church is on one of the four corner lots that Colonel William Crawford gave for public buildings in 1750. Because its greensward was the first public burying ground in Portsmouth, Trinity stands among the tombs of the city fathers. The oldest stone, dated 1763, memorializes Alexander Scott, editor of a Norfolk newspaper, who lived in Gosport; others identify Commodore James Barron (1768-1850, commander of the Chesapeake; Colonel Bernard Magnein, aide to LaFayette; and the Reverend John Braidfoot, second rector of Portsmouth Parish (1774-85) and a chaplain in the Continental army.

UNITED STATES NAVAL HOSPITAL (open 6 a.m.-9 p.m. daily; adm. by arrangement), N. end Green St., occupies a beautiful peninsula in the Elizabeth River. The main unit, a three-story brick and stone structure on a high basement, is stuccoed in white and gray. Long stone steps lead up to the ten Doric columns of the portico. Among the 5, other build\-ings to the west is the Pharmacist's Mates School, in which an average of 325 men are trained annually. A swimming pool, athletic field, and tennis courts provide diversion for the 572 enlisted men and civilian employees. The institution serves navy and marine corps, their dependents, and the Virginia and North Carolina war veterans. The naval hospital was begun in 1827 under the direction of John Haviland, Philadelphia architect, and was opened in 1830. During the yellow fever epidemic of 1855 nearly 6oc, patients were cared for here. Its capacity was taxed during the War between the States and the Spanish-American War. In 1902 the Hospital Corps Training School was instituted. Between 1907 and igog the main building was demolished, except for the portico, and a new one erected.\par On the grounds are two monuments. One, designed by John Haviland, is a memorial to Major John Saunders, commander of Fort Nelson in 1805; the other, of rough granite surmounted by a cannon, marks the site of Fort Nelson.

In the BURYING GROUND, NW. corner of the grounds, are tombstones bearing inscriptions in many languages. Here lie the bodies of yellow fever victims, of many members of the Confederate and the Union navies, of those who drowned when the ship Huron was wrecked in 1877, and of many Spanish-American and World War veterans. The STONE CAIRN, surmounted by a pillar and an urn, is in memory Of 300 men lost when the Cumberland and Congress were sunk by the Confederate ironclad Virginia (Merrimac) in 1862.

The RICHARD DALE MONUMENT, intersection of Washington and North Sts., is composed of three massive slabs of granite with a bronze tablet. It was erected in IQI7 to honor the Revolutionary naval hero,Richard Dale (1756-1826), who served first in the Virginia Navy, transferred his allegiance to the British, and then returned to fight for the American cause. Captured by the British, he escaped to France and became lieutenant on the Bonhomme Richard. In 1794 Dale was put in command of the Gosport Navy Yard. Jefferson, in 1801, raised his rank to commodore and sent him in command of a squadron to blockade the Tripolitan ports. The following year Dale resigned from the service and settled in Philadelphia.

The WATTS HOUSE (private), NW. corner Dinwiddie and North Sts., a frame building with a gabled roof, has three porches with fluted columns and a fanlight over the main entrance. The interior woodwork remains intact from heart pine floors to hand\_carved mantels and graceful curving stairway. Colonel Dempsey Watts built the house ini 1799. It passed to his son, Captain Samuel Watts, who entertained Chief Black Hawk here in 182o, and Henry Clay in 1844.

The PORTER HOUSE (private), 23 Court St., a tall stuccoed brick structure, has a hipped roof with elaborate cornice and a classically framed portal. Built just before the War between the States, it was acquired by John L. Porter, designer of the ironclad Virginia, and was his home until the Confederate evacuation of Portsmouth.

The BALL HOUSE (private), 213 Middle St., set back from the street, is a frame building with paired chimneys at each end of a steeply curbed green-shingled roof, and five dormers are set closely along the lower roof surface. It was built about 1784 by John Nivison at the corner of Crawford and Glasgow Streets. After the building had served as barracks during the War of 1812, subsequent owners entertained La Fayette in 1824 and Andrew Jackson in 1833. It was moved to the present site in 1869.

The BUTT HOUSE (private), 327 Crawford St., is a two and a half story brick building with leaded glass windows. It was built about 1826 by Dr.Robert Bruce Butt and used during the War between the States as commissary headquarters for the Federal army.

The CASSELL/McRAE HOUSE (private),108 London St., two and a half stories of brick, painted gray, has a steep gabled roof and twin chimneys. The house has stone lintels over the windows, a graceful fanlight over the entrance door, large outside locks, paneled doors, and deep wain\-scoting on the interior. About 1825, when the house was being constructed, Captain John W. McRae, the builder, is thought to have left on a long voyage and to have been lost at sea.

The CRAWFORD HOUSE (open day and night), SW. corner Crawford and Queen Sts., is a tall brick building with four dormer windows in the gabled roof. Aaron Milhado I, a Spaniard who had just migrated to America, built the house in 1779 as a residence. For many years it served as the Centennial House, an exclusive hotel frequented by naval officers and their families. About 1835 its name was changed to Crawford House in honor of Portsmouth's founder. Remodeled and painted cerise, it was used for several years as a warehouse and store, but since 1938 has housed the Helping Hand Mission.

The IRONMONGER HOUSE, NE. corner Crawford and High Sts., a large brick building built in 1822 by John Thompson, has been gaily painted and metamorphosed into shops. Here, in 1853, was born Frank M. Ironmonger, youngest soldier of the Confederacy. Enlisting when no quite eleven years old, he acted for a time as courier then participated ir important battles. Captured within the Federal lines in 1865 and sen\-tenced to be shot as a spy, he escaped and served until the end of the war.

The BILISOLY HOUSE (private), 8oi Court St., a white frame building, has one gable end facing the street, and the other is broken by paired chimneys. In the yard stands a two-story kitchen, formerly detached, but now joined to the main unit by an addition. The house was built sometime after 1797, the date that Captain Andrew W. Kidd purchased the property. It passed to the Bilisoly family, French refugees who came to Portsmouth in 1799.

The NORFOLK NAVY YARD (open 8:30-4:30 daily; adm. free pass issued at gate), entrances S. end First and Fourth Sts., is one of the two largest navy yards in the United States. Scattered over 453 acres are 212 low brick buildings, including the marine barracks, housing machine and training school shops; and plants manufacturing from government formulae and specifications such widely divergent articles as paint, gases, metal furniture, and turbine blades. Along the water front are 6 dry docks varying in length from 324 to 1,011 feet, 3o berths totaling 9,000, feet, for ships of every class, immense steel framework building ways, a reservation for ships condemned to be sold, and a base station for the lighthouse service. In addition to the ever changing enlisted personnel, some 5,000 civilians are steadily employed.

TROPHY PARK, reached through First St. gate, is a treeshaded reservation established to preserve Confederate and other American weapons of war and equipment of historic value from old ships. After its acquisition by the Federal Government in 18oi, the Gosport Navy Yard, as it was known until the War between the States, remained under the somewhat inadequate direction of navy agents until 18io; then Commodore Samuel Barron was appointed the first commandant, a position to which his brother, Commodore James Barron, later succeeded. The year after the launching of the Delaware (1820), the first battleship built in a government owned navy yard, a school for midshipmen was established here aboard the frigate Guerrire. A dry dock was opened in 1833 in the presence of President Andrew Jackson and his cabinet. Here in 1861-62, the Merrimac was converted into the ironclad Virginia. During the World War a fourth dry dock was added, one of the largest in the world.

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