Julia Marlowe was a world-renowned Shakespearean actress during the late 1800's and early 1900's. She was born in England in 1865 and lived three years of her childhood in Portsmouth in the Front St. town house shown in the mural. The town house has been restored and is now occupied by Tom Russell Glass & Mirror Company. Many of Julia Marlowe's costumes are on display at the 1810 House Museum. The museum is open May through December from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Tours are also available by appointment. Call 740-353-1116.
If you turn around and look to your left, you can still see the house that belonged to Julia Marlowe.
The Portsmouth Shoe-Steels
Semi-professional football began in Portsmouth in 1910. At least five different semi-pro teams were organized during the next 20 years. The Portsmouth Norfolk & Western team competed in 1919. In 1920, it became known as the Portsmouth Smoke-House (changing ownership from a railroad to a local tobacco store). In 1926, the team was purchased and became known as the Portsmouth Presidents, and then sold again in 1927 and renamed the Portsmouth Shoe-Steels. The Portsmouth Shoe-Steels was the last in the succession of semi-professional football teams in the Portsmouth area. Jim Thorpe, world-famous amateur and professional athlete, was player-coach in 1927.
The Portsmouth Spartans
The Portsmouth Spartans were members of the National Professional Football League from 1930-1933. The action depicted was taken from the sports section of the Columbus, Ohio State Journal in 1932. It shows Glen Presnell, an All-American from the University of Nebraska and former star of the Ironton Tanks, scoring a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers at Portsmouth's Universal Stadium. The Spartans were victorious in that game by a score of 19-0. It became known as the "iron man game" when Spartan coach Potsy Clark refused to use a substitute to protest Green Bay being named champions of the NFL in 1931 in a disputed ruling by NFL president Joe Carr. In 1934 the team was sold and became the Detroit Lions.
[Historical text on mural reads]
The Spartans were admitted to the NFL in 1930.
The first night football game in the NFL was played between the Spartans and the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1930.
The first NFL Championship game and the first indoor football game was played in Dec 1932 Between the Portsmouth Spartans and the Chicago Bears.
Dutch Clark, former Spartan, is a Charter Member of the National Professional Football Hall of Fame.
The Portsmouth Spartans franchise became the Detroit Lions in 1934.
The Greyhound Bus Station, 1941
The Greyhound Bus Station was built in 1941 and served Portsmouth for 45 years. Aside from showing one of the earliest examples of art deco in the Portsmouth area, the bus station serves as a reminder of the times related to World War II. Note the poster on the telephone pole in front of the station advertising that Clyde McCoy will be appearing in Portsmouth. McCoy was a local orchestra leader in the 1930's and 1940's who enjoyed national fame. Gas rationing during World War II forced many people to travel by bus, and since this station was in the center of town, it was the popular place to be. The building stands today on Gallia Street.