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Historic Forts of Maine

Maine Historic Forts

Home > Places to Visit > Historic Forts

The state of Maine has a series of historical forts dating back to the colonial days and constructed during various conflicts that took place between the French, English, and Indians.  Some were built prior to and during the civil war and later as coastal defenses during WWI and WWII.

Fort Allen
Eastern Promenade, Portland, Maine
     See the remains of an 1814 era fort.  Tiers of earthworks are visible.  A sketch of Fort Allen from 1845 is provided by the Maine Memory Network, a map showing the general location of Fort Allen Park (infosports.com), and click here for a photo of Fort Allen Park.

Fort Baldwin
Phippsburg, Maine
     Fort Baldwin was built just prior to World War I.  It was built to replace Fort Popham which was nearby.  The fort saw service during World War I and World War II.    

Fort Edgecomb
David Island, Edgecomb, Maine
     This fort was built in 1808-1809 to protect Wiscasset, Maine - an important shipping center at the time. It was garrisoned during the War of 1812 and the Civil War.  It is located on Davis Island.  The fort is a two-story wooden blockhouse.  It is partially maintained by the Friends of Fort Edgecomb.  More info on Fort Edgecomb can be found at the Maine Historic Sits website.  A photo and description is provided by Fort Tours and Portland Public Schools.

Fort Fairfield.
Fort Fairfield, Maine.
This wooden block house played a role in the border dispute that took place in the late 1830's - referred to as the Aroostook War (a bloodless conflict about lumber). The New Brunswick, Canada border is one mile away. The original structure was dismantled and replaced with a rebuilt structure on/about 1970s. The Frontier Heritage Historical Society maintains the block house. 2.

Fort Foster
Gerrish Island, Kittery, Maine
     The Town of Kittery, Maine website for Fort Foster Park.  SeacoastHN.com has a webpage that describes a Fort Foster scenic walk with lots of photos.  The Maine Geological Survey of Maine.gov has provided a "Virtual Tour" (slideshow) of ancient fault rocks at Fort Foster.  View an aerial photo and map of Fort Foster by GoogleEarthHacks.com.  Other descriptions are provided by American Forts, Fort Tours, and NETrailhead.

Fort George
Castine, Maine
     Castine was the focus of many years of dispute among the English, French, Indians, and colonialists.  For a description of the military significance of Castine, Maine see History of Castine, Maine by NewEnglandTravelPlanner.com and Castine, Maine and the Penobscot Expedition by Wikipedia.  Other descriptions are provided by the Portland Public Schools - Fort George and A Short History of Castine by castine.org, .  View a photo (on a postcard) of Fort Castine, Maine.

Fort Gorges
Hog Island Ledge, Portland, Maine
     Era 1858, built of granite just prior to the Civil War.  The fort was built to cover the northeastern approaches to the harbor.  See the Wikipedia entry for Fort Gorges, photo and description by Fort Tours, facts about Fort Gorges (Southern Maine Community College), photos and description by Portland Public Schools, photo by GoogleEarthHacks.com, and A History of Fort Gorges (aroundmaine.com). 

Fort Halifax
On the Kennebec River, Winslow, Maine
     This 1754 era fort (blockhouse) located on the Kennebec River was built for protection of colonial settlements against Indian raids.  See the Wikipedia entry for Fort Halifax, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, Portland Public Schools, and by Fort Tours.  It is listed in the National Historic Landmarks Program. There is also an entry with photos and maps to be found on the Waymarking.com website.

Fort Kent
Fort Kent, Maine
     See the entry by the Upper St. John's community page for a history of Fort Kent.  Photos and description of the Fort Kent historic site is provided by the Acadian Culture in Maine web page, Fort Tours, Portland Public Schools, and by the Maine Department of Conservation.

Fort Knox
Penobscot River, Prospect, Maine
     This Civil War era fort is located about 100 miles northeast of Portland along the Penobscot River near Bucksport, Maine.  Built in the years between 1844 and 1864 it is made of granite and very extensive with good earthworks to defend against a land attack. It is Maine's largest historic fort.  See the Wikipedia entry for Fort Knox.  Other sources of info for the Maine Division of Parks & Public Lands Fort Knox page, Fort Tours, and Friends of Fort Knox.  A painting of Fort Knox, Maine was done in the 1870s.  See a recent blog posting of Fort Knox providing photos and description.  View a Google map of the Fort Knox location.  See also the entry for Fort Knox by the Maine Historic Sites website. The Maine Division of Parks Public Lands has a "Fort Knox Research Room" (access here) with books, periodicals, photos, and photos of Fort Knox.    

Fort Levett
Cushing Island, Maine
    Near Portland, sits on about 140 acres on the southern side of Cushing Island in Casco Bay.  In the 1890s the Army established Fort Levett.  This fort was last used during WWII for coastal defense.  See Cushing Island, Maine by Wikipedia.com.  A news article published in July 2006 provides some info on Cushing Island.  The Portland, ME public works department has an online map of Cushing Island (Acrobat Reader file).

Fort Loyal.
This fort was built in 1678 in the center of Portland at the foot of India Street.  It " . . .  served as town hall, jail, and refuge of last resort.  It was pressed into the latter role in May 1690, when four hundred to five hundred French and Indian troops attacked the settlement". (1)  The fort was demolished in 1716.

Fort Lyon
Cow Island, Portland, Maine
    The military built Fort Lyon in 1896, provided it with two gun batteries, to defend the harbor from enemy attack.  The Maine Coast Heritage Trust now holds a conservation easement for Cow Island.  The island is used by Rippleffect for youth and adult adventure and learning programs.  The west side of the island allows public access.  The island is part of the Town of Long Island, Maine.

Fort McClary
Kittery, Maine
     This fort was built to protect the approaches to the Piscataqua River.  The fort dates from the late 1700s.  The fort was named for a Revolutionary War soldier from New Hampshire who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill.  The fort was garrisoned during five wars - the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World War I.  Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, who was Vice President during the Civil War, served for a brief period of time at Fort McClary with a unit of the Maine Coast Guard.  See the Wikipedia entry for Fort McClary.  See geocities.com for a history of Fort McClary, Fort Tours, Portland Public Schools, and also Friends of Fort McClary.

Fort McKinley
Great Diamond Island, Portland, Maine
     This fort was built at the turn of the century (1901) and served as coastal headquarters for the dense of Portland Harbor until the end of World War II.  See history of Great Diamond Island (Great Diamond Rentals), facts of the island (Wikipedia), and Diamond Cove History.

Fort O'Brien
Machiasport, Maine
    This fort was built in 1775.  It was destroyed by the British twice.  It was an active fort during the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.

Fort Popham
Phippsburg, Maine
     A granite fort with battery built in the 1860s to protect the Bath, Maine shipyards and approaches to the Kennebec River.  It is located at the mouth of the Kennebec River in Phippsburg.  It was in use during the Spanish American War and World War I.  The fort is now open to the public as a park.

Fort Pownal
Stockton Springs, Maine
    The fort was built on the shore of the Penobscot River shortly after 1758.  It was captured by the British in 1775 and burned down.  Also known as Fort Point - see Fort Tours for a photo and description.  See a photo of Fort Pownal by WikiMapia.com.

Fort Preble
South Portland, Maine

     Located on the South Portland waterfront, the Portland Harbor Museum lies within the granite walls of Fort Preble.  The fort is now home to Southern Maine Community College.

Fort Richmond
Richmond, Maine. Visit our webpage on Fort Richmond, Maine.

Fort St Georges
Phippsburg, Maine

     Located on the Kennebec River at Sabino Head - the fort was the site of an early English settlement called the Popham Colony or Sagadahoc Colony established in 1607.  Read more in "Maine's Popham Colony" by the Athena Review, Popham Colony by Wikipedia, "The draught of St. Georges Fort, 1610" by Maine Memory Network and Popham Colony by archaeologychannel.org.  Much of this historical location is now Popham Beach State Park.

Fort St Georges
St George, Maine
    Built in 1809 on the St George River to protect the growing commerce at Warren and Thomaston.  British raiders captured the fort in June 1814 for a short time.

Fort Scammel
House Island, Portland, Maine
     This fort is located on House Island (Wikipedia), a private island in Portland Harbor in Casco Bay.  The island is 24 acres big.  The fort, built in 1808, is located on the west side of the island.  It was designed for harbor defense.  It is a three-bastion granite fort.  The two story fort has walls, parapets, munitions bunkers, and a parade ground.  The fort was bought by private owners in 1954 to prevent it from being dismantled.  It would seem the only access to the island is through a firm called House Island Lobster Bakes & Tours.  The firms website provides photos of Fort Scammel.  A painting of Fort Scammel was done in 1872.  See some photos of Fort Scammel.  Here is a photo of Fort Scammel ca. 1900 (Maine Historical Society).

Fort Sullivan
Eastport, Maine

     Read some history about Eastport - including some about Fort Sullivan offered by the Border Historical Society, the Maine Development Foundation, and view maps of Eastport.

Old Fort Western
Augusta, Maine
    Built in 1754 this fort is the oldest surviving wooden fort in New England.  This fort was used by Benedict Arnold as a staging point for his attack on Quebec during the American revolution.  See photos and description by Portland Public Schools and Fort Tours.

Fort William Henry
Bristol, Maine
     See the photo and description by Fort Tours.  The Maine Department of Conservation also has a web page on the Colonial Pemaquid Historic Site (Fort William Henry).  See also the Friends of Colonial Pemaquid for more info and photos about Fort William Henry.  Wikipedia also has a small entry on Fort William Henry. Read the article below dated August 2010 about the history of Fort William Henry. .

Fort Williams
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
     This is located on the same site as the Portland Head Light.  It was established in 1898 for coastal defense and was garrisoned up until the end of World War II.  The fort was equipped with 12" Rodman's on disappearing carriages.   See the following web sites for more info on history of Fort Williams (Fort Williams Charitable Foundation), Fort Williams entry for the Historical Marker Database, the Fort Williams Centennial Celebration (Cape Elizabeth) held in 1999, and Fort Williams Park.  See also "Unearthing Fort Williams' past",  by Ann S. Kim, Maine History News, April 10, 2010.

Steele and Cravens Batteries
Peaks Island, Portland, Maine

Two Lights State Park
Cape Elizabeth, Maine


Internet Resources about Historic Forts in Maine

Forts in Maine.  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Coast Defense Forts of Maine.  Geocities.com.

Historic Houses and Forts in Maine.  MaineToday.com.

Maine Historical Forts.  A school project of Portland Public Schools.

 

 Fort Allen, Portland
Fort Baldwin, Phippsburg
Fort Edgecomb, Edgecomb
Fort Fairfield
Fort Foster, Kittery
Fort George, Castine
Fort Gorges, Portland
Fort Halifax, Winslow
Fort Kent, Ft Kent
Fort Knox, Prospect
Fort Levett, Cushing Island

Fort Loyal, Portland
Fort Lyon, Cow Island
Fort McClary, Kittery
Fort McKinley, Portland
Fort O'Brien, Machiasport
Fort Popham, Phippsburg
Fort Pownal, Stockton Springs
Fort Preble, South Portland
Fort Richmond, Richmond
Fort St Georges, St George
Fort Scammel, Portland
Fort Sullivan, Eastport
Old Fort Western, Augusta
Fort William Henry, Bristol
Fort Williams, Cape Elizabeth
Peaks Island Batteries

Earthern works of Fort O'Brien in Machiasport, Maine overlooking Machias Bay.
Earthern Works of Fort O'Brien overlooking Machias Bay

Fort Popham Maine
Outer Wall of Fort Popham in Phippsburg, Maine

 

Observation tower at Fort Baldwin, Phippsburg, Maine.
Observation tower at
Fort Baldwin, Maine

 


 

 

 

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News Articles, Documents, and Publications about Historic Forts in Maine

 

August 2010.  "Betrayal at Fort William Henry".  The Working Waterfront.

May 2010.  "Casco Bay's Forgotten Forts".  DownEast.com.

May 22, 2010.  "Friends want Fort Halifax to be preserved, protected".  Morning Sentinel.

April 23, 2010.  "Friends of Fort Knox take pay cut to help state".  WCSH6.com.

April 10, 2010.  "Unearthing Fort Williams' past".  By Ann S. Kim, Maine History News.

January 11, 2010.  "Tourists, Fort Halifax, Railroads, and Gundalows".  Maine History News.

September 29, 2009.  "New group takes aim to save Fort Preble".  keepMEcurrent.com.

August 5, 2009.  "Archaeology Dig at Fort Knox Reveals Clues to Past".  WABI TV 5.

May 8, 2009.  "South Portland, college hope to mend Fort Preble, relationship".  Forecaster.

May 25, 2008.  "Reaching new heights in Maine".  A blog post about Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Observatory.  Wickedlocal.com.

September 25, 2000.  "The Forts of Maine".  By Frederick W. Chesson.

Footnotes:

1.  Info taken from the following article:  "Casco Bay's Forgotten Forts".  DownEast.com, May 2010.

2. More info on the Fort Fairfield Block Hose is can be found in "Side Trips: Fort Fairfield Block House Preservers Era of Conflict in Northern Maine", MPBN News, August 21, 2014 at this link.

 

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