Fort Revere // 1898-1947

Fort Revere, named in honor of Paul Revere, was acquired as Nantasket Head Military Reservation in 1897 under the large-scale Endicott program, which initially included seven forts in the Harbor Defenses of Boston. The fort replaced the outdated Revolutionary-era fortifications and built upon the earthworks, creating batteries were built 1898–1906. Additionally, a 1903 concrete water tower was constructed to provide water and reconnaissance to the fort. After the American entry into World War I in early 1917, the fort was expanded to include temporary structures such as quarters and additional storehouses. With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Fort Revere was again built up with temporary structures to accommodate the 1940–1941 mobilization. With new defenses completed elsewhere in the Boston area, the fort’s remaining original guns were scrapped in 1943. After the war, Fort Revere was disarmed and turned over to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Remains of Fort Revere include six gun emplacements built into the southeast, east and north sides of Telegraph Hill. They are connected by dugouts or bunkers and are of concrete and brick construction. Additionally, tunnels and storerooms can be explored, lined with graffiti and crumbling concrete. I highly recommend you all check it out and explore the grounds, its a great place to explore and learn history! Fingers crossed to see the remaining fortifications restored to their former glory.

Fort Revere Tower // 1903

The Town of Hull, Massachusetts was first settled in 1622 and officially incorporated in 1644, when it was named for Kingston upon Hull, England. The town juts out into the Boston Harbor, which historically had provided as a defense for approaching vessels into the harbor. As early as 1673, Telegraph Hill in Hull, was used as the highest point in the Boston harbor area from which signals could be sent warning the approach of vessels. The site was first used as a fort in 1776 to defend the port of Boston. Fort Independence was built on top of the hill in 1776-1777, to be succeeded by the much larger Fort Revere in 1903 (see next post). The first telegraph tower was built on the hill in 1827. Several other telegraph stations later occupied the site until 1938, when radio communications made the site obsolete. Though little of the original Revolutionary-era fort remains, the fort which began construction at the turn of the 20th century lasts as a stunning reminder to the importance of coastal defenses, high atop hills. At the highest point of Telegraph Hill this water tower which rises 120 feet off the ground was built in 1903 for the new Fort Revere as the first reinforced concrete water tower in the United States. At the top of the tower, an observation deck (now closed) was also used to send messages to other harbor defenses. The tower was restored in 1975 was designated an American Water Landmark in 2003. It was periodically open to the public until mid-2012 when it was closed due to safety concerns.

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.