History:

Born of the Sea. Bred for Business.

Few cities have played as long or as important a role in America’s maritime and military history as Portsmouth. Strolling the streets of the city's six historic districts you'll walk in the footsteps of our country's colonial pioneers: the famous Captain John Smith, who first surveyed the land in 1608, Col. William Crawford, who founded our port city in 1752 and General Cornwallis, who made his revolutionary home at Portsmouth prior to his move to Yorktown.

Established in 1787, the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, one of the nation's oldest and largest shipyards, equipped the CSS Virginia, formerly the USS Merrimac, for its history-making battle against the USS Monitor. Today the Yard has more than 7,500 employees.

The Portsmouth Naval Hospital (now known as the U.S. Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth), established in the 1830’s, is the Navy's oldest continuously operating medical hospital. It employs more than 7,000 people.

 

A Quick Look Back:

  • Founded by Col. William Crawford in 1752
  • Six historic districts – Cradock, Downtown Portsmouth, Olde Towne, Park View, Port Norfolk and Truxtun
  • Olde Towne features one of the largest collections of historically significant homes between Alexandria, Virginia and Charleston, South Carolina
  • Emanuel AME Church, built by slaves and free men and located in Olde Towne, is the second-oldest building in Portsmouth and the city's oldest black church. The African-American Methodist Movement got its start here
  • Portsmouth has a significant role in both naval war and Civil War histories. The City is the home to the "Battle of the Ironclads" site—the battle between the USS Monitor and USS Merrimac (CSS Virginia) 1862.

 

Established in 1787, the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, one of the nation's oldest and largest shipyards, equipped the CSS Virginia, formerly the USS Merrimac, for its history-making battle against the USS Monitor. Today the Yard has more than 9,000 employees.

 

© 2008-2012 City of Portsmouth, Virginia Department of Economic Development

200 High Street, Suite 200 • Portsmouth, VA 23704 • 757-393-8804 • fax 757-393-8293