Fort McClary

Originally called Fort William after William Pepperell, who owned much of the land which is known today as Kittery Point, this fortification was constructed on high ground at the mouth of the Piscataqua River. Some sources state that the fort was additionally intended to protect Maine (then part of Massachusetts) from “unreasonable duties” (taxes) that the Governor of New Hampshire was attempting to impose on citizens receiving goods via the river, which straddles the two states. After the Revolution, the fortification was transferred to the United States government, and later renamed Fort McClary, after a New Hampshire native Major Andrew McClary, an American officer killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill. None of its original features or earthworks are known to remain from this period.

Map of current Fort McClary structures.

The largest building period at the fort occurred in the 1840s, when the large hexagonal blockhouse was built atop a raised granite block first story. Additional outbuildings were constructed including: a barracks, powder magazine, a rifleman’s house and more. My favorite and relatively hidden structure as part of the fort complex is the caponier (also labeled as a bastion). The structure is subterranean and features massive brick vaulted ceilings. The fort and buildings are part of a State Parks system in Maine.

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