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The Olde Towne experience has been treasured by visitors the world over-an opportunity to shop our fine antique shops, visit our galleries and unique specialty stores, enjoy excellent dining, both indoors and out in one of our many fine restaurants and pubs. Discover all of the magic yourself.
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Friday, May 27, 2016

Portsmouth Square(d) Inaugural Installation of Olde Towne Cornerstones

Portsmouth, VA – The Portsmouth Heritage Initiative will lay the inaugural stone in the Portsmouth Squared project on Friday, June 3, 2016 at 11:30AM.  The ceremony will be held at Golden Square – 200 High Street, at the intersection of High & Crawford Streets.

Portsmouth, the first city in Hampton Roads, was well planned from its inception in 1752. Much like its British port counterpart in Savannah, Georgia, Portsmouth was laid out in a series of squares.  Many squares were labeled to designate the desired use for the property (i.e. CHURCH, MARKET, PRISON).  With help from the writings of many Portsmouth historians and a found portion of an 1851 map, we were able to identify the square names used throughout the original boundaries of the city.  The Portsmouth Heritage Initiative plans to place granite footers at the corner of each Olde Towne intersection to commemorate each square’s historical significance. Our hope is to bring the community together to celebrate and market our old world charm while restoring a sense of place to this seaport city. 

The Portsmouth Heritage Initiative plans to place granite 
footers at the corner of each Olde Towne intersection to commemorate each square’s historical significance.

Portsmouth gets its name from the English naval port of Portsmouth, England. The town was laid out checkerboard style with 122 half-acre lots around its town square at High and Court streets. Streets were organized in a grid pattern with street widths alternating between 32, 50 and 100 feet. Each block or square was named for noted Virginians, Englishmen, or places in England or the United States.
Streets were named similarly. High Street was named for the main commercial corridor in Portsmouth, England. It is 100 feet wide, with two narrow parallel streets of 32-foot widths (Queen and King streets), located to the north and south. Narrower streets served as alleys for High Street, facilitating the access to commercial buildings from the rear. For more information about Portsmouths historic squares, go to:

Portsmouth Heritage Initiative was formed by Aaron Kelley to illuminate and enhance the rich history of the City of Portsmouth through education, marketing, and tourism promotion. We believe that our history is one of the city’s greatest competitive advantages.

 If you would like more information about the Portsmouth Heritage Initiative, a donor-funded non-profit organization, or the Portsmouth Squared Project, please contact Aaron Kelley at 757-478-3888 or email at

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