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Portsmouth Court Street Landing in the summer of 1934


Mister Hanes, the last of the Davis ferryboats, made its last voyage for the Fullerton Portsmouth Ferry Company in 1951

Coal Fleet near Portsmouth about 1912

Frozen Ohio River

Looking at Portsmouth from KY, 1900

York Place about 1906

Scenes from York Place, Portsmouth, Ohio

About 1905 along the Ohio River

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1910 Portsmouth Playground


"July 4, 1898, was ushered in by the ringing of bells, firing of cannons and by bonfires at York Place. "Little Mac" the cannon was kept going all day and seven kegs of powder were used up. Early in the morning the four Portsmouth bands played in different parts of the City, and at 9:30 in the morning they met at the lower Market space. At 10:30 there was a public meeting at Tracy Square. W. F. Genheimer read the Declaration of Independence and Theodore F. Davidson delivered the oration. There were excursions frm adjacent towns. In the afternoon news was received of Admiral Sampson's victory over the Spanish Admiral, Cervera and the town went wild. At 6:30 there was a procession of five bands, the police and the Uniformed Red Men in honor of Sampson's Victory. There were fireworks in the evening. One of the set pieces was a picture of Admiral Dewey, another the American Eagle, and the last was the bombardment of Manila." History of Scioto County

About 1910 Portsmouth flood wall

About 1912 Public Boat Landing at Portsmouth, Ohio

Portsmouth in 1861

Birds Eve View of Portsmouth from KY

1920 Indian Rock across from York Park, Portsmouth, Ohio

Last seen above the water in the Ohio River, October 1920

"This rock carving, or petroglyph to use a more scientific term, was nearly always under the water, even before navigational dams were constructed on the Ohio River. But during those dry summers of long ago, when the Indian's Head Rock was exposed, Euro-American settlers intrigued by the ancient enigma took the opportunity to add their inscriptions to the boulder as well.

By the late 1800s, the appearance of the rock drew large crowds, and the petroglyph boulder was the subject of speculation in books, newspapers, on postcards, and was even depicted in a traveling panorama. The Indian's Head was last visible above the water in October 1920, when a steamboat damaged the dam downstream, temporarily lowering the water level. With the repair of the dam, the boulder sank beneath the water and the celebrated Indian's Head became a mostly forgotten footnote in local history." Harold-dispatch.com  2 Oct 2007

Portsmouth Along the Ohio River

 Posted: Jul 8, 2010 11:19 AM Kentucky officials announced Thursday that a settlement has been reached to return the historic Indian Head Rock to Kentucky.  An Agreed Order between the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the city of Portsmouth, Ohio, its former mayor Gregory Bauer, Steven Shaffer and David Vetter, dismissing the civil suit, was filed Thursday in federal district court. As part of the settlement, the city of Portsmouth will relinquish custody and control of the artifact and permit its transport to a location designated by the Kentucky Heritage Council, an agency responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of the state’s archaeological and historic resources.  No date has yet been set for its return, but the exchange is expected to take place over the next few weeks. "Even though Indian Head Rock was unlawfully removed from a registered state archaeological site in the Ohio River, I am pleased that this protected antiquity is being returned to Kentucky," Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said. "I appreciate the City of Portsmouth for working with us to settle this matter outside of the courtroom. I am also grateful to the volunteers who have stepped forward to return Indian Head Rock to Kentucky at no expense to taxpayers." Under the settlement agreement, the Commonwealth further agrees to fully and finally release all civil claims causes of action and demands against Shaffer, Vetter, Bauer and the city of Portsmouth and its officers stemming from the artifact’s removal. The dispute over the eight-ton boulder, which gets its name from the carving of what appears to be an Indian, began after Ironton, Ohio historian Steven Shaffer led an expedition to remove the rock from the Ohio River in 2007.  Neither Steven Shaffer nor dive team member, David Vetter, had sought authorization from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Army Corps of Engineers, or any official or agency, to remove the historic artifact. They had also not filed for any permits requesting to remove the protected antiquity, which served as a noted historical high-water marker on the river. On February 3, 2009, Conway filed a civil suit in U.S. District Court claiming Kentucky was "the sole and rightful owner" of the artifact. "We continue to believe that the artifact taken is the Indian Head Rock from the archaeological site designated 15Gp173 by the Kentucky Office of State Archaeology," said Craig Potts, manager of the Kentucky Heritage Council’s site protection and archaeology program. For the Kentucky Heritage Council, this dispute involved far more than the return of the artifact. "While we are relieved that an agreement has been reached to return this artifact to Kentucky, our concern has always been and continues to be the protection of Kentucky’s archaeological resources. Federal and state laws exist to protect these sites from looting," said Mark Dennen, Kentucky Heritage Council executive director and the state’s historic preservation officer. "We appreciate Attorney General Conway’s commitment to protecting Kentucky’s historic and prehistoric archaeological sites and upholding the laws of the Commonwealth." Because the integrity of the archaeological site has been compromised, Dennen said returning the rock to the Ohio River would serve no purpose. For now, the rock will be stored by Greenup County government officials until a permanent home can be found and the artifact can be put on display and open for public viewing.  The state Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet is currently evaluating these options in partnership with Greenup County officials and other interested parties. "We believe it is important  to make this artifact available for public viewing not only to highlight local history and lore, but also to use it as an opportunity to teach others about the importance of protecting cultural resources," stressed Dennen. "Once these sites are gone, so is their capacity to reveal new information about Kentucky’s past." Story by Lex18.com