The Oldest Wooden Fort In America Is Right Here In Maine!
When I was in school, back in the day, I didn't particularly care for history class. To be fair, I'm not really sure I liked many of my classes besides band. But as I got older, and more prone to spend too much time in front of the TV, and less time caring about whether or not I left the house for days at a time, I started appreciating history in a different light.
These days, for instance, I think I've seen about every Ken Burns documentary there is. The Civil War, Prohibition, the Baseball one....all of them! I love it! I do stop a tad short of becoming involved with the re-enactment stuff. I'm too shy, I guess. Plus I look terrible in fluffy sleeves.
Now, most of us have all been to Fort Knox in Prospect, or Fort Williams in South Portland. And rightfully so, as they get the most attention because they're so ornate and dramatic. And Fort Williams is right on the ocean. But did you know the oldest wooden fort in the whole country is right here in Maine, just down the road a piece in Augusta?It's an incredible bit of history, and worth killing the better part of an afternoon in.
From doing a bit of reading at OnlyInYourState.com, and the Old Fort Western Facebook page, the fort first was built in 1754 by a company from Massachusetts looking to push British influence the area, as well as try to minimize the alliance between the Abenaki tribe, and the French. During the French and Indian War, many folks were captured from the fort and surrounding area, but the fort was never directly involved in the war itself.
After the war was over, the fort's commanding officer, James Howard, bought the fort and turned it into a trading post. To this day, that is how the fort is maintained for historical purposes. Later on, it was finally named a historical landmark in 1973.
Nowadays, people come from all over the state, as well as tourists from away, who want to have a look around the landmark. They often have re-enactments as well as folks doing day to day type activities specific to the fort, to try and recreate daily life as accurately as possible. You can really get a feel for the history that way. I'm a sucker every time I see folks in puffy bonnets churning butter, or cleaning muskets, or planting with a horse drawn plow.
The hours of operation require a second look, or maybe just me because I'm a bit of a dummy, but from May 26th through the end of June, as well as all of September, it's open 10:00a.m. - 4:00p.m. Friday - Monday. During July, August, and October you can go seven days a week. The fort is located at 16 Cony Street in Augusta.
So maybe it's time for to pack up the kids and the mother-in-law, and whoever else, and head down the highway to Ye Olde Augusta-town and check out this amazing piece of incredibly preserved history. Maine is full of awesome places like this, and you should see all of them. But since you can only do it one at a time, start right here with the oldest wooden fort in America...Old Fort Western!