Last December before winter hit and the eternal white of snow blanketed the coast Gus and I took a drive to Kittery, Maine where we discovered Ft. McClary State State Historic Site. Situated at the mouth of the Piscataquis River on Portsmouth Harbor this location is ideally located as a point of defense. According to the park’s sign forts have been built on this site starting in 1689. They continued up through the civil war changing hands and names several times. In 1864 during the civil war, a division of the Maine Coast Guard was called up to active duty at the fort. Hannibal Hamlin, the sitting Vice President of the United States under Lincoln at that time, was also part of this coast guard division. Hamlin reported for duty and served here even though he was Vice President. He was replaced as Lincoln’s running mate in the 1864 elections by Andrew Johnson.
Enjoy this tour of Ft. McClary and remember, all photos click to enlarge.
The fort was manned during five different wars:
- The American Revolution
- The War of 1812
- Spanish-American War
- The Civil War
- World War I
Piles of granite litter the landscape after plans to improve the fort were abandoned when the fort was deemed obsolete five years after the Civil War ended.
Ft. McClary Block House and Powder Magazine
While Gus was busy photographing the fort, I was was off trying to photograph birds. I walked along this seawall scanning the water. While I did see some very interesting birds, most were too far out for good photographs. The following photos of a Common Loon were shot by Gus with his Nikon D90 and 18 – 200mm lens. A post with a list of the birds seen at Fort McClary is soon to follow.
Ft. McClary State Historic Site is located along Route 1A in Kittery, Maine
For more information about Ft. McClary, Hannibal Hamlin, or Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse click on the links: