Since the development of photography in the midnineteenth century, the camera has been used as a tool of both discovery and preservation. Photographs bring alive our image of the past, and can open a floodgate of memories and nostalgia or inspire curiosity and a sense of history. First settled in 1623, Portsmouth is one of the oldest cities in the United States and it has a history as interesting as it is long. When the first census was taken by the United States Government in 1790, Portsmouth ranked twelfth in population, and prior to the American Revolution more ships of the Continental Navy were built in its excellent harbor than in any other seaport. The Piscataqua River, with its swift-moving tidal water, was ideal for commerce and industry, and the prosperity of Portsmouth is reflected in the architectural beauty of many of its buildings. From Market Square to Prescott Park; from North Church to the harbor docks, Portsmouth remains one of the most prominent and picturesque coastal communities in the Northeast.