Scenic USA - New Hampshire

Portsmouth on the Piscataqua

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Portsmouth on the Piscataqua - New Hampshire

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA FAA Photography

   Setting the coastal border between Maine and New Hampshire, the Piscataqua River created an exceptional harbor town and important trade center during the 17th century. Even though the river is only 12 miles in length and extremely fast flowing, the Piscataqua's first few miles from the sea made up one of the finest harbors in the northeast. Settled in 1630 by European immigrants, the town quickly took its place as a leading industrial area and shipping port. Upstream, community lumber mills, ship yards, textile mills and fishing industries sprouted up. Soon they were moving goods in and out of the harbor. African slaves were imported as early as 1645, helping to keep pace with the Triangle Trade which brought prosperity to Portsmouth.
   Claiming to be America's third oldest city, Portsmouth is no longer the shipping or industrial power of the 17th century. But its historic significance and location still have the city placed at the hub of a large metropolitan area. Once, one of the richest ports in the New World, Portsmouth has managed to retain its prominent architecture. Although gutted by several fires, a number of Colonial, Georgian and Federal style houses create a distinctive historic district. The sidewalk cafes, shops and restaurants around Market Square earn a deserved reputation as a unique tourist destination. Its location on the Piscataqua, its historic ties to the sea and outstanding work in historic preservation have landed titles America's most livable city, one of America's prettiest towns, a most walkable city and one of the most culturally rich destinations in the country.

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