“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Portsmouth, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Towne Square

Path of History, Portsmouth, VA

Towne Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Scott Rollins, June 1, 2009
1. Towne Square Marker
Inscription. The intersection of High and Court Street was known as Towne Square, the cornerstone of the community. The square that you are standing on was known as Courthouse Square, the site of the original courthouse from 1803-1846. In 1855 the Ocean Hotel opened at this location.

Portsmouth Parish, now Trinity Episcopal Church, was built on Church Square in 1762. This church still serves the citizens of Portsmouth.

The final square, Market Square, is where citizens bought and sold their goods.

The fire that burned the Hotel Monroe, also destroyed 13 businesses on the north side of High Street, east from Court Street. The loss was estimated at $1.5 million. The Famous, a women’s fashion store occupied the site from 1940 to 1991. Today the building is the home to the Tidewater Community College Visual Arts Center.

Prison Square was the site of the city jail and the location of public execution until 1860. In 1846, a new courthouse was built on this property and today the building serves as an art museum.

The Ocean Hotel was constructed on this corner between 1853-1855 by Col. Winchester Watts and Col. Arthur Emmerson. It was later renamed the Hotel Monroe and was destroyed by a fire on August 9, 1957.
Location. 36° 50.124′ N, 76° 
High Street image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 1, 2014
2. High Street
18.041′ W. Marker is in Portsmouth, Virginia. Marker is on High Street east of Court Street, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Portsmouth VA 23704, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Confederate Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Norfolk County Court House (within shouting distance of this marker); The 1846 Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Trinity Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Commodore Theatre (about 300 feet away); Court Street Baptist Church (about 400 feet away); Portsmouth Public Library (about 500 feet away); Monumental Methodist Church (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Portsmouth.
Categories. Settlements & Settlers
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Kristin Rollins of Portsmouth, Virginia. This page has been viewed 481 times since then and 43 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Kristin Rollins of Portsmouth, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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