Fort Edgecomb State Historic Site in Edgecomb, Maine has become a part of the local community’s history and pride. While it has never really been tested in battle, the site has become a place of entertainment as well as family or community gatherings. It may never be remembered for fierce battles, it will always be favorite of the local community.
Fort Edgecomb was built in 1808 and is a two-story octagonal wooden blockhouse located on David Island, in the town of Edgecomb. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969 and in 1991 its boundaries were expanded outward to establish a “historic district”.
Initially Fort Edgecomb was built to protect Wiscasset, which was the most important shipping center north of Boston. It was built with eight sides to provide a panoramic view of the surrounding area and enable soldiers to protect the area from both water and land attacks. It was primarily used in the War of 1812, but saw no action until 1814 when the English broke Napoleon’s power and pushed their forces towards America. However, the only time cannons were fired from Fort Edgecomb was to celebrate James Madison taking office as President of the United States.
Although the fort has no real “military” history, local residents have been impassioned to preserve the blockhouse and surrounding areas for centuries. In 1875, local residents ran their first fund-raiser to keep the fort from being destroyed. This led to Governor Percival Baxter purchasing the fort and surrounding land from the Federal Government in 1923 for a measly $501.
It is still used on a daily basis as a park which is known for its theater and musicals. It is also often rented for weddings and family reunions. With such a great view, this shouldn’t be a surprise.
The Fort Edgecomb State Historic Site hosts a breathtaking view of the waterfront where visitors spend time watching playful harbor seals, watching lobster boats cruise by, and even catch a glimpse of nesting osprey. Sitting on the waterfront gives visitors a historic look at “Classic Maine”. It has many grassy surfaces that lend well to picnics or just a day in the sun. The fort is still kept in pristine condition which makes the location truly remarkable.
The community came together for centuries to preserve this amazing Maine landmark and for good reason. Visitors and locals alike quickly realize that the Fort Edgecomb State Historic Site is a great place to get a perspective on Maine history and culture in a relaxing yet playful and educational environment.