Maine Line -- Portsmouth -- Mass. Line, 15.1 m. US 1.
Boston & Maine R.R. parallels route. Well paved; all types of accommodations at short intervals.
US 1 spans the restless Piscataqua River; the current of this turbulent stream is so swift that the water never freezes even when the temperature is far below zero.
From the earliest days the road between Portsmouth, N.H., and Newburyport, Mass., often followed or closely paralleled by the line of the modern highway, served to bind the sparse settlement together. Over this country road a lone horseman carried the mail between Portsmouth and Boston until the coming of the stagecoach. He forded rivers, crossed treacherous salt marshes, and, when necessary, fought off Indians and wolves in the discharge of his duties. Stavers Flying Stage Coach began a regular run between Portsmouth and Boston in 1761. This was a curricle, a two-wheeled, two-horse vehicle with room for three passengers. Over this route on December 13, 1774, Paul Revere rode to inform the Committee of Safety in Portsmouth of the British order that no more gunpowder should be exported to America. As a result the citizens were able to secrete what ammunition they had. Washington passed this way in 1775 after taking command in Cambridge, and again in 1789. James Monroe traveled it in 1817, and Lafayette in 1824, when he had become an almost legendary hero to the inhabitants, who lined the highway for a glimpse of him.
PORTSMOUTH,0.5 m. (30 alt., 14,495 pop.), ancient port (see N.H. GUIDE).
Points of Interest. Wentworth-Gardner House and many other points of historical and architectural interest.
US 1 in Portsmouth passes through narrow State Street, past the old EPISCOPAL CHAPEL, a wooden Doric structure (L), and the JOHN PAUL JONES HOUSE, built in 1738 (R), to Haymarket Square. Turning L. on Middle Street, it passes (R) the PIERCE HOUSE (see illustration), built in 1800; the BOARDMAN HOUSE, 1805 (R); the LARKIN HOUSE, 1815 (R); and the RUNDLET MAY HOUSE, 1806 (R).