A Walking Tour of Portsmouth, Virginia
By Doug Gelbert
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There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a downloadable walking tour is ready to explore when you are.Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.After a series of Indian attacks in the 1670s planters and settlers led by 29-year old Nathaniel Bacon rose up against Virginia Colonial Governor William Berkeley for his refusal to retaliate. Bacon's Rebellion was eventually squashed. Property of the participants was seized by the Crown and 20 conspirators hanged. Among them was Captain William Carver who owned a plantation along the brackish waters of the Elizabeth River. Carver's confiscated land was granted in 1716 to Colonel William Crawford who in 1750 "laid out a parcel of land into one hundred and twenty-two lots, commodious streets, places for a courthouse, market and public landings. He named the place Portsmouth and presented it to Norfolk County.Portsmouth has a long history as a port town. Scotsman Andrew Sprowle founded the Gosport Shipyard adjacent to Portsmouth in 1767. The British government, recognizing the value of the enterprise, soon took over the yard as a repair station and appointed Sprowle as navy agent. The yard, renamed the Norfolk Naval Shipyard after the Civil War, would grow into one of the world's largest and dominate the economy of the city. During World War II, more than 40,000 workers were employed in the shipyard.Today Portsmouth boasts the largest concentration of antique houses between Alexandria and Charleston, South Carolina but before we delve into the square mile that has come to be known as the Olde Towne Historic District we will start at that famous shipyard...