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Forts - 8 items.

Created by Lyman Moore Middle School students


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Item 1125

View of Portland Harbor, ca. 1853

View of Portland Harbor, ca. 1853 / Maine Historical Society

The city of Portland built forts to protect it's harbor so they could get goods in and out of the port. People in Maine realized the harbor was a very vulnerable port in 1775 when the British burnt Portland to the ground.

After the Revolutionary War the port was still a desirable target for the British. It was a deep and protected harbor and the closest to Europe. The forts deterred the British and other enemies from attacking the Portland. After the forts were built Portland was never again attacked by any enemies of the United States.

The forts have been manned in each of the American wars and in times of international tension. Even though the forts are no longer used for military service they are used by the people of Maine and tourists, some of them are now parks.

 

Item 13751

Postcard of Casco Bay from Fort Allen Park

Postcard of Casco Bay from Fort Allen Park / Maine Historical Society

Four of the forts in Casco Bay are Fort Gorges located on Hog Island Ledge, Fort Preble located on Spring Light, Fort Scammel located on House Island and Fort Mckinley located on Great Diamond Island. Each fort is unique in its history and use.

Today the forts are still standing although they're not used for military purposes. We are going to tell you about their history and the different uses.

 

Item 13755

Vessels near Fort Scammel, Portland, ca. 1907

Vessels near Fort Scammel, Portland, ca. 1907 / Maine Historical Society

Fort Scammel is located on House Island. Built in 1808 and reconstructed during and after the Civil War, Fort Scammel guarded the main entrance to Portland Harbor, Fort Preble, and was armed and used through the Spanish-American War and was retired from military uses just after.

 

Item 13756

Cannon at Fort Scammel, c. 1940

Cannon at Fort Scammel, c. 1940 / Maine Historical Society

During and after the Civil War a need for the fort to be enlarged appeared. After the expansions there were 17 guns mounted. At that time they had better technology for defense. The guns at each of the forts were coordianted so there would be no blind spots as enemy ship approached.

 

Item 13754

Fort Preble, Portland, ca. 1906

Fort Preble, Portland, ca. 1906 / Maine Historical Society

Fort Preble was built in 1808 to gaurd the entrance to Portland Harbor. Fort Preble was named in honor of Commordore Edward Preble of Portland.

 

Item 13752

Fort Gorges, Portland, postcard, ca. 1900

Fort Gorges, Portland, postcard, ca. 1900 / Maine Historical Society

In 1857 congress approved funding for a new fort on Hog Ledge Island. Fort Gorges is named for Sir Ferdinando Gorges, colonial proprietor of Maine.

 

Item 13750

Camp Hasbrook, Fort McKinley, 1903

Camp Hasbrook, Fort McKinley, 1903 / Maine Historical Society

Fort Mckinley was used as a citizen military training camp in 1932. Fort Mckinley is named for the assassinated president William Mckinley.

 

Item 13753

Co. A Fort McKinley 1931

Co. A Fort McKinley 1931 / Maine Historical Society

Fort Mckinley is the largest of the U.S. army coast defense forts built at the turn of the century.
Fort McKinley was retired from active service in 1945
Fort Preble was manned throughout World War II and deactivated in 1950.

In 1946 Fort Gorges was declared surplus by the General Services Administration. Fort Scammel was retired from active duty just after the Spanish-American War.