The Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site preserves one of northern New England’s original and earliest colonies. It is widely known for its archaeological history and should always be visited when traveling through the Mid coastal Maine area. There are now interpretive tours that teach visitors about the native people who were forced to camp there and how the remote peninsula evolved into a frontier settlement in the 1620’s. All of the tours and information are provided exclusively by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands staff.
Every year the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site get thousands of visitors from all over the country and beyond. The site has been nearly completely excavated, restored, and stabilized in order to create an on-site museum for guests. It has been a major focal point of study since the early 1900’s.
Colonial Pemaquid is known to be one the countries earliest and most influential 17th century settlements. It is believed to have been formed in 1605, however it did not become a year-round place of residence until the mid 1690’s. This site features Fort William Henry which is believed to be the first stone fort ever built on American soil. It was then decommissioned when it no longer served a strategic defensive purpose.
It is known that Fort William Henry was built over the same site that once held Fort Charles. Unfortunately, Fort Charles was captured and destroyed by the French. Fort William Henry was also destroyed at some point, however in 1908 a replica of the fort was built. In 1692, Fort William Henry was an extraordinary feat because it was built entirely from stone and had walls that topped 22 feet in some places and towers that soared almost 30 feet into the air. It housed 60 soldiers and 20 cannons. While it looked intimidating, it fell quickly because it was made from very low quality mortar, which led to the walls easily toppling during battle. The main water supply was also outside the fort, which meant that troops could not cope with a siege over a long period of time.
Many other settlements of the time that were abandoned were eventually re-settled or built over, however Fort William Henry never was. It has been widely recognized as a historic site since 1795, however this initially led to many myths being told about the area. To this day, it is still incredibly difficult to separate myth from fact, especially when some of the myths date back over 200 years ago.
Regardless of the surrounding facts and myths, it is still one the best ways to gain insight into early American settlers from an archaeological perspective. Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site is located near current-day Bristol, Maine.