Old Towne Portsmouth

Just across the water from Norfolk’s Waterside is Portsmouth. Named after the English naval port of Portsmouth, England, the charm of old city streets on the beautiful waterfront of the Elizabeth River, Olde Towne Portsmouth is out to offer a new generation an up-beat tone of life with historic homes, specialty shops, towering churches and over 41 dining options within a mile!

Capt. William Carver was the first known settler in Portsmouth. His land was given to Col. William Crawford around 1715 after Carver was hanged for stabbing Thomas Gilbert. -Hence the street “Crawford Street”.

In 1780 General Benedict Arnold was in command of Portsmouth. The House & Commercial Building located on 300 High Street was his command center. Following Arnold, General Cornwallis took over, but he left to fight Washington and Lafayette at Yorktown.

Due to the perfect location on the banks of the Elizabeth River, Portsmouth boomed with business. By 1794 there were more than 300 homes, and rail lines were built some years later.

Around 1827 the Navy built its first hospital in Portsmouth, which is still in use today. Later, John Porter transformed the USS Merrimac into the CSS Virginia. Where the James River meets the Elizabeth River, the CSS Virginia and the USS Monitor fought. -Hence the name, The Monitor-Merrimac.

Today, you can take walks through Old Towne Portsmouth and discover history for yourself, or visit one of the museums in Old Towne for guided tours. Listen to the church bells as you stroll, Trinity Episcopal Church founded in 1762, not only still stands, but still rings its bells. You can take the ferry from Portsmouth over to Town Point Park in Norfolk. Enjoy the breeze sitting by the waterfront of the Elizabeth River.

Olde Towne Portsmouth is full of history and thanks to the merchants and vendors, it is again full of life and excitement!


  1. Stephen R says:

    Very interesting. Makes me want to go visit the area today!

  2. Darnell says:


  3. Victoria Emerson says:

    Old Towne is a neat place to go, especially around the Holidays. They have alot of interesting historical things down there.

  4. Greta K says:

    Old Towne is a great day trip to walk the streets and see all of the sights and museums.

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