IN 1630, WILD STRAWBERRIES GROWING IN GREAT ABUNDANCE on the shores of the tidal estuary known as the Piscataqua convinced a small British scouting party to settle there. Calling their little camp “Strawbery Banke,” the new residents began building homes from the towering white pines that surrounded the area. In just 23 years, the settlement had grown large enough to be incorporated as a town and was renamed Portsmouth. The pines, meanwhile, provided an economic base for the deep-water port and were traded all around the Atlantic as lumber and manufactured goods. By the early 1800s, with the timber less plentiful, the town shifted its economic focus to shipbuilding, and Portsmouth shipwrights crafted U.S. warships and privateering vessels alike. Three fires in the 1800s destroyed a number of the early houses, but most were rebuilt on the old foundations. They were almost destroyed again in the 1950s, this time by urban renewal. Some Portsmouth citizens rallied to save them, and today, the town boasts one of the best collections of Georgian and Federal architecture in the country.