The city gives its name to the great Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (est. 1800), but geographically it is in Kittery, on two islands (now joined together) in the Piscataqua River. It is also a significant submarine base and repair yard. The Treaty of Portsmouth, ending the Russo-Japanese War , was signed (1905) at the base. The former Pease Air Force Base is now an airport.
Many old houses are in
Strawbery Banke, a restored colonial community on the original seaport they include the Richard Jackson house (1664), the Warner house (1716), and the John Paul Jones house (1758), where the naval hero once lived. The first newspaper in the state, the New Hampshire Gazette, was published there.
A private shipyard was built there in 1767 it served as a British base in the American Revolution, after which it became a U.S. base (the U.S.S. Chesapeake was built there). In the Civil War the navy yard was burned and evacuated by the Federals in 1861 and then retaken in 1862. During the brief Confederate occupation, the steamship Merrimack was converted into the world's first ironclad (see Monitor and Merrimack ). The nation's first battleship ( Texas ) was built there in 1892 and the first aircraft carrier ( Langley ) in 1922. Of interest in Portsmouth are Trinity Episcopal Church (1762) Monumental Church (1772 Methodist) the Shipyard Museum, with a model of the Merrimack the U.S. Naval Hospital (1830) and the Old Towne Historic District. A floodwall also serves as a pedestrian promenade along the waterfront.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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