~ Fort Knox State Historic Site, Maine ~

Fort Knox State Historic Site, in Maine was built from 1844-1869. It is located on the western bank of the Penobscot River in the town of Prospect, Maine, about 5 miles from the mouth of the river. It was the first fort in Maine built of granite. instead of wood. It is named after Henry Knox, the first US Secretary of War, who at the end of his life lived not far away in Thomaston, Maine. Fort Knox, Kentucky, was also named for him. The fort was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

Construction began during a period of tension between the England and the United States over issues about the Canadian border following the Aroostook War. The intent was to defend the Penobscot River and Bangor, Maine, a major source of shipbuilding lumber. Construction funding from Congress was intermittent, and the fort's design was never fully completed although nearly a million dollars were spent. Granite was quarried five miles upriver from Mount Waldo in Frankfort, Maine.






I had thought I had seen all of Maine that I wanted to see and was driving US Route 1 down the coast to pay a revisit to New Hampshire. I came upon these clapboard bulidings and thought them interesting. They comprise an art gallery, which are very common along the Maine Coast. Soon, I came to the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, which opened to the public on May 19, 2007. It was in this area that I noticed a large fort on the other side of the Penobscot River. Of course, I had to photograph the bridge first.

And from both ends

Close up of Bucksport, Maine

Panorama of the Penobscot River and Bucksport, Maine, from Fort Knox

B Battery on the lowest of three levels of defense

A section of the granite wall of Fort Knox

Rifle positions from the outside

A front section of the main fort wall

Fort Entrance

Entries to the cannon casemates
Cannon casemates were large enclosed areas where the cannons were positioned for firing at enemy ships in the river. They were large enough to house four cannons each. These constituted the second teir of firing positions.

The interior of a casemate

A Rodman gun
Rodman gun refers to a series of American Civil War�era columbiads designed by Union artilleryman Thomas Jackson Rodman (1815�1871). The guns were designed to fire both shot and shell. These heavy guns were intended to be mounted in seacoast fortifications. They were built in 8-inch, 10-inch, 13-inch, 15-inch, and 20-inch bore. Other than size, the guns were all nearly identical in design, with a curving soda bottle shape, large flat cascabels with ratchets or sockets for the elevating mechanism.
The metal tracks allowed for aiming the gun on the horizontal plane. This gun is in the loading position and the barrel would protrude out the firing hole for firing, then withdrawn for reloading.

A spiral staircase from the Parade ground to the Casemate level

Old Glory


Officer's quarters

A viiew of the Parade Grounds

A view out of a cannon firing position
The fort was manned during the U. S. Civil War by volunteers from Maine (mostly recruits in training before assignment to active duty). At this time the bulk of the work on the fort, including adapting the batteries to use the recently invented Rodman cannon was finished under the supervision of Thomas Lincoln Casey. It was manned during the Spanish-American War by a regiment from Connecticut. The garrison was reduced to one upon their departure at the end of the war. The fort never saw battle. In 1923, the federal government declared the fort excess property and put its 125-acre grounds up for sale. It was bought by the state of Maine for $2,121.

Another view of the Parade Grounds from the roof of the fort

The Penobscot River

This panorama was taken from the roof

A view of B Battery from the roof

An overall view of the fort from the roof


Back at ground level on the left are some of the other visitors at Fort Knox. I was surprised to see as many people there as there were. It seems that history is more interesting to people from the site than from a book. The historical sites I have visited have always had many visitors. The photo on the right is of a painting of Fort Knox from the river in the visitor center.

On the Road Again


I thought that a really cool wall

Boats in the Penobscot River


Continuing down US 1 was a trip through Smalltown, Maine, and enjoying the scenery




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