Portsmouth is a city in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 21,233, and in 2017 the estimated population was 21,796. A historic seaport and popular summer tourist destination on the Piscataqua River bordering the state of Maine, Portsmouth was formerly the home of the Strategic Air Command's Pease Air Force Base, since converted to Portsmouth International Airport at Pease.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
|• Mayor||Jack Blalock|
|• Assistant mayor||Cliff Lazenby|
|• City council|
|• City manager||John P. Bohenko|
|• Total||16.8 sq mi (43.6 km2)|
|• Land||15.6 sq mi (40.5 km2)|
|• Water||1.2 sq mi (3.1 km2) 7.21%|
|Elevation||20 ft (6 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1,394/sq mi (538.2/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0869312|
American Indians of the Abenaki and other Algonquian languages-speaking nations, and their predecessors, inhabited the territory of coastal New Hampshire for thousands of years before European contact.
The first known European to explore and write about the area was Martin Pring in 1603. The Piscataqua River is a tidal estuary with a swift current, but forms a good natural harbor. The west bank of the harbor was settled by English colonists in 1630 and named Strawbery Banke, after the many wild strawberries growing there. The village was fortified by Fort William and Mary. Strategically located for trade between upstream industries and mercantile interests abroad, the port prospered. Fishing, lumber and shipbuilding were principal businesses of the region. Enslaved Africans were imported as laborers as early as 1645 and were integral to building the city's prosperity. Portsmouth was part of the Triangle Trade, which made significant profits from slavery.
At the town's incorporation in 1653, it was named Portsmouth in honor of the colony's founder, John Mason. He had been captain of the port of Portsmouth, England, in the county of Hampshire, after which New Hampshire is named.
When Queen Anne's War ended in 1712, Governor Joseph Dudley selected the town to host negotiations for the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth, which temporarily ended hostilities between the Abenaki Indians and English settlements of the Province of Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire.
In 1774, in the lead-up to the Revolution, Paul Revere rode to Portsmouth warning that the British were coming, with warships to subdue the port. Although Fort William and Mary protected the harbor, the rebel government moved the capital inland to Exeter, safe from the Royal Navy. The Navy bombarded Falmouth (now Portland, Maine) on October 18, 1775. African Americans helped defend Portsmouth and New England during the war. In 1779, 19 slaves from Portsmouth wrote a petition to the state legislature and asked that it abolish slavery, in recognition of their war contributions and in keeping with the principles of the Revolution. Their petition was not answered, but New Hampshire later ended slavery.
Thomas Jefferson's 1807 embargo against trade with Britain withered New England's trade with Canada, and several local fortunes were lost. Others were gained by men who were privateers during the War of 1812. In 1849, Portsmouth was incorporated as a city.
Once one of the nation's busiest ports and shipbuilding cities, Portsmouth expressed its wealth in fine architecture. It has significant examples of Colonial, Georgian, and Federal style houses, some of which are now museums. Portsmouth's heart has stately brick Federalist stores and townhouses, built all-of-a-piece after devastating early 19th-century fires. The worst was in 1813 when 244 buildings burned. A fire district was created that required all new buildings within its boundaries to be built of brick with slate roofs; this created the downtown's distinctive appearance. The city was also noted for the production of boldly wood-veneered Federalist furniture, particularly by the master cabinet maker Langley Boardman.
The Industrial Revolution spurred economic growth in New Hampshire mill towns such as Dover, Keene, Laconia, Manchester, Nashua and Rochester, where rivers provided water power for the mills. It shifted growth to the new mill towns. The port of Portsmouth declined, but the city survived Victorian-era doldrums, a time described in the works of Thomas Bailey Aldrich, particularly in his 1869 novel The Story of a Bad Boy.
In the 20th century, the city founded a Historic District Commission, which has worked to protect much of the city's irreplaceable architectural legacy. In 2008, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Portsmouth one of the "Dozen Distinctive Destinations". The compact and walkable downtown on the waterfront draws tourists and artists, who each summer throng the cafes, restaurants and shops around Market Square. Portsmouth annually celebrates the revitalization of its downtown (in particular Market Square) with Market Square Day, a celebration dating back to 1977, produced by the non-profit Pro Portsmouth, Inc.
Portsmouth shipbuilding history has had a long symbiotic relationship with Kittery, Maine, across the Piscataqua River. In 1781–1782, the naval hero John Paul Jones lived in Portsmouth while he supervised construction of his ship Ranger, which was built on nearby Badger's Island in Kittery. During that time, he boarded at the Captain Gregory Purcell house, which now bears Jones' name, as it is the only surviving property in the United States associated with him. Built by the master housewright Hopestill Cheswell, an African American, it has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. It now serves as the Portsmouth Historical Society Museum.
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, established in 1800 as the first federal navy yard, is on Seavey's Island in Kittery, Maine. The base is famous for being the site of the 1905 signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth which ended the Russo-Japanese War. Though US President Theodore Roosevelt orchestrated the peace conference that brought Russian and Japanese diplomats to Portsmouth and the Shipyard, he never came to Portsmouth, relying on the Navy and people of New Hampshire as the hosts. Roosevelt won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize for his diplomacy in bringing about an end to the War.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.8 square miles (43.6 km2), of which 15.6 square miles (40.5 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2), or 7.21%, is water. Portsmouth is drained by Sagamore Creek and the Piscataqua River, which is the boundary between New Hampshire and Maine. The highest point in the city is 110 feet (34 m) above sea level, within Pease International Airport.
The city is crossed by Interstate 95, U.S. Route 1, U.S. Route 4, New Hampshire Route 1A, New Hampshire Route 16, and New Hampshire Route 33. Boston is 55 miles (89 km) to the south, Portland, Maine, is 53 miles (85 km) to the northeast, and Dover, New Hampshire, is 13 miles (21 km) to the northwest.
Portsmouth has a humid continental climate in spite of its maritime position, due to prevailing inland winds. Summers are moderately warm with winter days averaging around the freezing point, but with cold nights bringing it below the required −3 °C (27 °F) isotherm to have a humid continental climate. With high year-round precipitation, the cold winters can often be very snowy and summers wet.
As of the census of 2010, there were 21,233 people, 10,014 households, and 4,736 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,361.1 people per square mile (524.4/km²). There were 10,625 housing units at an average density of 681.1 per square mile (262.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.5% White, 1.7% African American, 0.2% Native American, 3.5% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.7% some other race, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.8% of the population.
There were 10,014 households, out of which 20.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.5% were headed by married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 52.7% were non-families. 39.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.8% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.03, and the average family size was 2.75.
In the city, the population was spread out with 16.6% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 27.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.6 males.
For the period 2010–14, the city's estimated median annual household income was $67,679, and the median family income was $90,208. Male full-time workers had a median income of $58,441 versus $45,683 for females. The city's per capita income for the city was $42,724. About 4.0% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.9% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.
The city of Portsmouth operates under a council-manager system of government. Portsmouth elects a nine-member at-large City Council to serve as the city's primary legislative body. The candidate who receives the most votes is designated the Mayor (currently Jack Blalock), while the candidate receiving the second-highest vote total is designated the Assistant Mayor (currently James R. Splaine). While the mayor and council convene to establish municipal policy, the City Manager (currently John Bohenko) oversees the city's day-to-day operations.
Portsmouth is part of New Hampshire's 1st congressional district, currently represented by Democrat Chris Pappas. Portsmouth is part of the Executive Council's 3rd district, currently represented by Republican Russell Prescott. In the State Senate, Portsmouth is represented by Democrat Martha Fuller Clark. In the State House of Representatives, Portsmouth is divided among the 25th through 31st Rockingham districts.
|2016||67.7% 8,911||27.6% 3,632|
|2012||67.6% 8,828||31.3% 4,088|
|2008||70.4% 9,147||28.7% 3,729|
|2004||66.4% 8,436||33.0% 4,185|
|2000||59.9% 6,862||34.0% 3,896|
|1996||62.5% 6,343||29.7% 3,896|
|1992||51.7% 6,132||30.0% 3,563|
|1988||52.0% 5,377||46.7% 4,827|
|1984||46.9% 4,418||52.8% 4,967|
|1980||39.6% 3,666||43.5% 4,023|
Politically, Portsmouth is a center of liberal politics and stronghold for the Democratic Party. In 2016, Portsmouth voted 67.70% for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, 62.53% for Colin Van Ostern in the gubernatorial election, 64.48% for Maggie Hassan in the senatorial election, and 62.16% for Carol Shea-Porter in the congressional election. In 2014, Portsmouth voted 70.05% for Maggie Hassan in the gubernatorial election, 67.34% for Jeanne Shaheen in the senatorial election, and 68.34% for Carol Shea-Porter in the congressional election. In 2012, Portsmouth voted 67.56% for Barack Obama in the presidential election, 70.16% for Maggie Hassan in the gubernatorial election, and 68.50% for Carol Shea-Porter in the congressional election.
In March 2014, Portsmouth became the first municipality in New Hampshire to implement protections for city employees from discrimination on the basis of gender identity, by a 9–0 vote of the city council.
Heinemann USA is based in Portsmouth. Before its dissolution, Boston-Maine Airways (Pan Am Clipper Connection), a regional airline, was also headquartered in Portsmouth. Companies with headquarters in Portsmouth include packaged software producer Bottomline Technologies and frozen yogurt maker Sweet Scoops.
According to the city's 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top ten employers in the city are:
|1||Hospital Corporation of America||1,079|
|2||Liberty Mutual Insurance||1,013|
|3||National Passport Center||736|
|5||City of Portsmouth||684|
|6||National Visa Center||644|
|7||John Hancock Insurance||400|
|9||Thermo Fisher Scientific||280|
|10||Alpha Flying/Plane Sense||270|
The Seacoast United Phantoms are a soccer team based in Portsmouth. Founded in 1996, the team plays in the USL Premier Development League (PDL), the fourth tier of the American Soccer Pyramid, in the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference.
Charles Milby Dale (March 8, 1893 – September 28, 1978) was an American lawyer and Republican politician from Portsmouth, New Hampshire; he was the sixty-sixth Governor of New Hampshire, serving from 1945 to 1949.George Rogers House (Portsmouth, New Hampshire)
The George Rogers House is a historic house at 76 Northwest Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Probably built about 1839, it was home to a prominent local brickmaker, and forms a significant part of the landscape around the adjacent Richard Jackson House (c. 1690, now a National Historic Landmark). The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Although it is owned by Historic New England, it is not open to the public, unlike the Jackson house, also owned by Historic New England.Governor John Langdon House
The Governor John Langdon House, also known as Governor John Langdon Mansion, is a historic mansion house at 143 Pleasant Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States. It was built in 1784 by John Langdon (1741-1819), a merchant, shipbuilder, American Revolutionary War general, signer of the United States Constitution, and three-term President (now termed governor) of New Hampshire. The house he built for his family showed his status as Portsmouth's leading citizen and received praise from George Washington, who visited there in 1789. Its reception rooms are ornamented by elaborate wood carving in the rococo style. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974, and is now a house museum operated by Historic New England.
The house Langdon had built resembles typical late Georgian houses, with five bays across, a center entry, and four rooms on each floor, flanking a grand central hall and stairway. It is built on a larger and grander scale than most houses, and has very high quality interior woodwork. The interior joinery is attributed to Ebenezer Clifford, a leading woodworker of the Portsmouth area. The main entry is also particularly elaborate with a large door flanked by pairs of engaged columns, and sheltered by a semi-circular portico supported by Corinthian columns and topped by a balustrade.After Langdon's death in 1819, his lone surviving daughter continued to use the house, but did not live there. Between 1833 and 1902 the house passed through several hands. In the 1850s a fire severely damaged the southwest corner of the house, which was reconstructed. In 1877 the house came into the hands of Frances E. Bassett, a descendant of John Langdon's brother Woodbury. Her son and daughter-in-law, Woodbury and Elizabeth Langdon, converted the house into a Colonial Revival showplace, adding a two-story wing designed by McKim, Mead & White whose details harmonize well with the original structure, and include a dining room based on one built by the ancestral Woodbury Langdon and preserved in the Rockingham Hotel. Elizabeth Langdon deeded the property to Historic New England in 1947.The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974. It is open to the public for tours on weekends from June to October, and the grounds are available for functions.John H. Bartlett
John Henry Bartlett (March 15, 1869 – March 19, 1952) was a descendant of Josiah Bartlett, New Hampshire's 4th governor and a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence. John H. Bartlett was an American teacher, high school principal, lawyer, author and Republican politician from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1894 and served as Governor of New Hampshire from 1919–1921.
Bartlett later served as president of the United States Civil Service Commission and was appointed as the first United States Assistant Postmaster General.
In 1929 he was appointed chairman of the United States section of the International Joint Commission for the United States and Canada, until his retirement in 1939.John Langdon (politician)
John Langdon (June 26, 1741 – September 18, 1819) was a politician from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and a Founding Father of the United States. He served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, signed the United States Constitution, and was one of the first two United States senators from that state.
As a member of the Continental Congress Langdon was an early supporter of the Revolutionary War. He later served in United States Congress for 12 years, including as the first president pro tempore of the Senate, before becoming governor of New Hampshire. He turned down a nomination for Vice Presidential candidate in 1812.Peter Bonerz
Peter Bonerz (, born August 6, 1938) is an American actor and director who is best known for his role as Dr. Jerry Robinson on The Bob Newhart Show.Piscataqua River
The Piscataqua River () is a 12-mile-long (19 km) tidal river forming the boundary of the U.S. states of New Hampshire and Maine from its origin at the confluence of the Salmon Falls River and Cocheco River. The drainage basin of the river is approximately 1,495 square miles (3,870 km2), including the subwatersheds of the Great Works River and the five rivers flowing into Great Bay: the Bellamy, Oyster, Lamprey, Squamscott, and Winnicut.
The river runs southeastward, with New Hampshire to the south and west and Maine to the north and east, and empties into the Gulf of Maine east of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The last 6 miles (10 km) before the sea are known as Portsmouth Harbor and have a tidal current of around 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph). The cities/towns of Portsmouth, New Castle, Newington, Kittery and Eliot have developed around the harbor.PlaneSense
PlaneSense is a fractional aircraft ownership program managed by PlaneSense, Inc. and based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States. As of the beginning of 2018, they manage a civilian fleet of 40 total program aircraft, made up of thirty-five Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, 4 Nextant 400 XTi jets and two Pilatus PC-24 jet. Six Pilatus PC-24 jets are scheduled to be delivered between the years 2018 and 2020. The PlaneSense fractional program provides private air transportation, primarily within the United States, Canada, Mexico, The Bahamas, the islands of the Caribbean and more recently, Cuba . PlaneSense guarantees departure times as soon as 8 hours after a flight request, depending on the size of the aircraft share owned for domestic flights on non-peak days. PlaneSense, inc. is not, itself, an air charter provider or commercial air carrier, but charter flights can be arranged through its sister company, Cobalt Air.Portsmouth Athenæum
The Portsmouth Athenæum is an independent membership library, gallery and museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States. It preserves material relevant to local history, and sponsors exhibitions, concerts and lectures for its proprietors, scholars and the general public. The building has been listed as the "Portsmouth Athenaeum" on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973.Richard Jackson House
The Richard Jackson House is a historic house at 76 Northwest Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Built in 1664 by Richard Jackson, it is the oldest wood-frame house in New Hampshire. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1968. It is now a historic house museum owned by Historic New England, and is open two Saturdays a month between June and October.
Richard Jackson was a woodworker, farmer, and mariner, and built the oldest portion of this house on his family's 25-acre (10 ha) plot, located on an inlet off the Piscataqua River, north of Portsmouth's central business district. Jackson's house resembles English post-medieval prototypes, but is notably American in its extravagant use of wood. The house as first built consisted of a two-story structure with two rooms on each floor, flanking a massive central chimney. Not long afterward, a leanto section was added to the rear (north side) of the house, which slopes nearly to the ground. Further single-story additions were made to the gable ends of the house, probably c. 1764.
The founder of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA, now Historic New England), William Sumner Appleton, acquired the house for SPNEA in 1924 from a member of the seventh generation of Jacksons to live there. Appleton undertook a restoration of the property, removing 19th century modifications, and providing the building with leaded diamond-pane windows of a type that it would have had in the 17th century.It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1968.The George Rogers House, located just east of the Jackson house, is also a Historic New England property, but is not open to the public.Rundlet-May House
The Rundlet-May House is a historic house museum at 364 Middle Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States. Built in 1807, it is a well-preserved example of a high-end Federal style mansion, built for a wealthy merchant. The house is of particular significance due to the survival of early documentation related to its construction. It is now owned by Historic New England and open seasonally for tours. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.Strawbery Banke
Strawbery Banke is an outdoor history museum located in the South End historic district of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It is the oldest neighborhood in New Hampshire to be settled by Europeans, and the earliest neighborhood remaining in the present-day city of Portsmouth. It features more than 37 restored buildings built between the 17th and 19th centuries in the Colonial, Georgian, and Federal style architectures. The buildings once clustered around a waterway known as Puddle Dock, which was filled in around 1900. Today the former waterway appears as a large open space.The Portsmouth Herald
The Portsmouth Herald (and Seacoast Sunday) is a seven-day daily newspaper serving greater Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Its coverage area also includes the municipalities of Greenland, New Castle, Newington and Rye, New Hampshire; and Eliot, Kittery, Kittery Point and South Berwick, Maine.
Unlike most New England daily newspapers, The Herald's circulation grew in the 2000s. Its editors in 2001 credited the newspaper's resurgence with the introduction of the "Wow! factor" -- front-page stories on controversial or sensational topics that appeal to younger readers.Tom Rush
Tom Rush (born February 8, 1941) is an American folk and blues singer and songwriter.U.S. Route 1 Bypass (Portsmouth, New Hampshire–Kittery, Maine)
U.S. Route 1 Bypass (US 1 Byp.) is a 4.3-mile-long (6.9 km) bypass of U.S. Route 1 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine. Most of its north section, northeast of the Portsmouth Traffic Circle where it meets the Blue Star Turnpike (Interstate 95 or I-95) and Spaulding Turnpike, is built to rudimentary freeway standards, with no cross traffic but driveway access. The southern portion is similarly constructed, although there are two four-way intersections with traffic lights just south of the circle and a third at its south end, just before intersecting with US 1.USS Albacore (AGSS-569)
USS Albacore (AGSS-569) was a unique research submarine that pioneered the American version of the teardrop hull form (sometimes referred to as an "Albacore hull") of modern submarines. The revolutionary design was derived from extensive hydrodynamic and wind tunnel testing, with an emphasis on underwater speed and maneuverability. She was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for the albacore.
Her keel was laid down on 15 March 1952 by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard of Kittery, Maine. She was launched on 1 August 1953, sponsored by Mrs. J. E. Jowers, the widow of Chief Motor Machinist's Mate Arthur L. Stanton, lost with the second Albacore (SS-218), and commissioned on 6 December 1953 with Lieutenant Commander Kenneth C. Gummerson in command.The effectiveness of submarines in World War II convinced both the Soviets and the United States Navy that undersea warfare would play an even more important role in coming conflicts and dictated development of superior submarines. The advent of nuclear power nourished the hope that such warships could be produced. The effort to achieve this goal involved the development of a nuclear propulsion system and the design of a streamlined submarine hull capable of optimum submerged performance.Urban Forestry Center
The Urban Forestry Center is a 182-acre (74 ha) state-owned forest and environmental education center in the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. There are several buildings, garden demonstration areas, and trails which are used for walking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.The Center is used as a tree farm and forestry education center. The property includes a 95-acre (38 ha) forest management area, a red pine and a spruce plantation, and an arboretum for tree identification. There are self-guided trails through the woodlands systems.Wentworth–Coolidge Mansion
Wentworth–Coolidge Mansion is a 40-room clapboard house which was built as the home, offices and working farm of colonial Governor Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire. It is located on the water at 375 Little Harbor Road, about two miles southeast of the center of Portsmouth. It is one of the few royal governors' residences to survive almost unchanged. The site is a New Hampshire state park, declared a National Historic Landmark in 1968. Today, the New Hampshire Bureau of Historic Sites manages the site with the assistance of the Wentworth-Coolidge Commission, a group of volunteer civic and business leaders appointed by the Governor.William S. Damrell
William Shapleigh Damrell (November 29, 1809 – May 17, 1860) was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts.
|Climate data for Portsmouth|
|Average high °F (°C)||32
|Daily mean °F (°C)||25
|Average low °F (°C)||16
|Average rainfall inches (mm)||3.7
Places adjacent to Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Municipalities and communities of Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States
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