Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA - 1854 - Portsmouth
Portsmouth, a city, port of entry, and semi-capital of Rockingham county, New Hampshire, 54 miles N. by E. from Boston, is situated on the right bank of the Pisca-taqua river, about three miles from the ocean, and at the terminus of the Eastern, the Concord, and the Portland and Saco rail roads, by which it has communication with nearly every section of New England. Lat. 43° 4' 35" N., Lon. 70° 45' 50" W. This city, the commercial metropolis and only seaport of the state, is built on a beautiful peninsula, formed by the Piscataqua, and connected by bridges with Kittery in Maine, and with New castle on Grand Island. The harbor which lies between the town and the mouth of the river is capacious, deep, easy of access, and much frequented by vessels in bad weather : 480 have been counted here at one time ; and it is estimated that 2000 could easily find convenient anchorage. The formation of sandbars or ice is rendered impossible by the rapid tides, which centuries since have carried every earthy substance out to sea, leaving a smooth rock bottom, with a depth of water varying from 35 to 76 feet. The principal entrance is between the mainland and the E. side of Great island, and is defended by Fort McClary on the former, and Fort Constitution on the N. W. point of the latter. The city stands on a gentle acclivity overlooking the harbor, and is remarkable for its healthy atmosphere and fine gardens. Many of the streets are adorned with a pro fusion of shade-trees. The principal public buildings are the State Lunatic Asylum, the State Arsenal, the Athenaeum, and two market houses. Besides these, there are eleven churches, some of which are elegant structures. The chief object of interest, however, is the United States navy-yard, situated on an island near the E. side of the river. Among other things, it contains three immense ship-houses, and a floating balance- dock, constructed at a cost of about $800,000. It is 350 feet by 105, and has 24 pumps, worked by two steam-engines. The North America, the first ship of the line launched in the western hemisphere, was built on Badger's island in this harbor, during the Revolution. The literary advantages of Ports mouth are highly respectable. Besides the Athenaeum, which has a well-selected library of about 10,000 volumes, and a cabinet of curiosities, there are several libraries be longing to church societies. The schools are numerous, and conducted upon the most approved system. The building erected in 1849 for the Haven School cost $12,000. Nine newspapers are published, 2 or 8 of which are issued daily.
Portsmouth has less commerce now than formerly, though it is still the centre of an important trade, both foreign and coastwise. The shipping of the port, June 30th, 1852, amounted to an aggregate of 16,654 tons registered, and 8237 tons enrolled and licensed. Of the latter, 5723 tons were employed in the coast trade, and the remainder in the cod and mackerel fisheries. The foreign arrivals for the year were 78, (tons, 8493,) of which 2823 were in American bot toms. The clearances for foreign ports were 64, (tons, 7466.) The imports amounted to $99,605 ; the exports, to $66,927 ; and the duties collected, to about $30,000. During the same year, 14 vessels, (10 of them ships,) with an aggregate burthen of 9515 tons, were admeasured. Some of the finest-built ships, both for the mercantile and naval service, have been supplied from the yards of Portsmouth.
Manufacturing is extensively carried on. Among the most important corporations may be mentioned the Portsmouth Steam Factory, giving employment to about 400 hands, who produce 3,000,000 yards of the finest quality of lawns annually, and the Sagamore Manufacturing Company. The leading articles of manufacture are ropes, spool cotton, hosiery, iron castings, shoes, &c. The city is supplied by means of pipes with excellent water, from a fountain in the suburb. It contains 3 banks, with an aggregate capital of $491,000. Portsmouth has a large amount of capital invested in railroads, navigation, manufactures, &c. in other places ; and though it has suffered in former years from disastrous fires, and has been compelled to relinquish to the larger cities some of its former extensive trade, still it has steadily increased in wealth and population. Population in 1850, 9739 ; in 1853, about 11,000.
A New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States: Giving a Full and Comprehensive Review of the Present Condition, Industry, and Resources of the American Confederacy ... Thomas Baldwin (of Philadelphia.) Joseph Thomas January 1, 1854 Philadelphia : Lippincott, Grambo & Company 1854.
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