Portsmouth was founded in 1803 after residents of the small town of Alexandria decided to move from the flood plains of the Ohio and Scioto River junction. The new location on higher ground was safer but was still prone to flooding so a levee and a floodwall were built in the 1940s. The floodwall mural project was started in 1993 and finished in 2003. There are over fifty murals along a 2000’ stretch of wall. The murals are beautiful - finely detailed and in excellent condition. They cover the history of Portsmouth beginning with a Native American Hopewell culture settlement and touching on 200 years of important events, people and industries. Signs along the sidewalk give details about the murals. There’s also a cell phone tour.
The sidewalk does not have good curb cuts and the signs are a little too high to be easily read from a seated position. Visitors using wheelchairs may find it easier to roll down the street and listen to the cell phone tour. Driving by is another option. Traffic was light when we visited on a Sunday afternoon and many people were driving slowly or even stopping to see individual murals.
Parking is limited along Front Street but there’s a parking lot on the river side of the flood wall.