Portsmouth is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Scioto County. The municipality is located on the northern banks of the Ohio River and east of the Scioto River in Southern Ohio. The population was 20,909 at the 2000 census.
Portsmouth is at the confluence of the Ohio, Scioto and Little Scioto Rivers. Portsmouth is also a midway point between four major cities: Charleston, Cincinnati, Lexington and Columbus, all of which are approximately ninety miles away (roughly a two hour drive). Much of the terrain is quite hilly due to dissected plateau around it. However, both rivers carve a river valley, making Portsmouth nestle between the Scioto and Ohio Rivers.
Portsmouth's roots began in the 1790s when the small town of Alexandria was founded just west of where Portsmouth is today. Alexandria was flooded numerous times by the Ohio River and the Scioto River. In 1803, Henry Massie spotted a place to move the town away from the flood plains. He began to plot the new city by distributing the land and mapping the streets. Portsmouth was founded in 1803 and was established as a city in 1815. Alexandria soon disappeared. Portsmouth quickly grew around an industrial base with the completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal and the construction of the N&W railyards and the B&O junction. This greatly benefited Boneyfiddle (which is a west-end neighborhood in Portsmouth), where grand buildings were constructed with the wealth from the commerce. As time passed, much of the commerce began to move towards Chillicothe Street, which is still today the main thoroughfare of Portsmouth. Another notable part of Portsmouth's history in the 19th century was its importance on the Underground Railroad. It was located on a route that continued north to Detroit and into Canada.
The city charter was originally adopted on November 6, 1928. The city conducts business at their city hall which was constructed in 1935. City council meetings are held during the second and fourth weeks in the month. The city reverted from being run by a city manager to a mayor in 1988. The mayor is elected every four years. There are six wards in the city with elections of the wards every two years.
Portsmouth is the county seat for Scioto County. The courthouse is located at the corner of Sixth and Court Streets and was constructed in 1936. The county jail, once located in the courthouse, is now located in a new facility in the same location where the Norfolk and Western rail depot used to stand near U.S. 23. It was constructed in 2006.
Information source: Wikipedia