Fort Western

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For the Western wear retailer, see Fort Western Stores.
Fort Western
Fort Western, Main Building, Bowman Street, Augusta (Kennebec County, Maine).jpg
Fort Western in 1936
Fort Western is located in Maine
Fort Western
Location Bowman Street, Augusta, Maine
Coordinates 44°18′59″N 69°46′16″W / 44.31639°N 69.77111°W / 44.31639; -69.77111Coordinates: 44°18′59″N 69°46′16″W / 44.31639°N 69.77111°W / 44.31639; -69.77111
Built 1754
Architect Gershom Flagg
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 69000009
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 2, 1969[1]
Designated NHL November 7, 1973[2]

Fort Western was a British colonial outpost at the head of navigation on the Kennebec River at modern Augusta, Maine, United States. It was built in 1754 during the French and Indian War.

French and Indian War[edit]

During the French and Indian War, the palisaded defense was intended to prevent Canadiens and their Native American allies from using the Kennebec River valley as a route to attack English settlements. Further, Massachusetts was extending its border into the former region of Acadia and threatening the capital of Canada, Quebec.

Fort Western was built, along with Fort Shirley (Maine) (also called Frankfort) and Fort Halifax (Maine) (both Halifax and Western were built by Winslow) to replace Fort Richmond (Maine) which was located further down the river and dismantled in 1755.

Fort Western was built by a Boston land company (the Kennebec Proprietors) to promote settlement in the area. The fort was a log palisade with blockhouses which protected a store and warehouse. It was never directly attacked. From a high elevation a large rectangular enclosure commanded the river for more than a mile. Blockhouses 24 feet square and watch-boxes 12 feet square guarded opposite corners, and within stood a two-story main house 100 feet by 32 feet.

American Revolution[edit]

Historical marker noting that Benedict Arnold left Fort Western in 1775 for Quebec, Canada.

After 1769, Fort Western fell into decay. In 1775, Benedict Arnold's expedition to Quebec stopped at Fort Western long enough to build bateaux. Arnold, Daniel Morgan, Roger Enos, and Aaron Burr stayed as guests in the garrison while their force camped outside. Fort Western was the starting point for the march through the wilderness to Quebec.

Old Fort Western[edit]

Fort Western in Augusta, Maine

In 1919, the buildings were restored and opened to the public. Today it is the oldest log fort in the United States. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is owned by the city of Augusta. The fort and store are maintained as a museum and are open to the public during the summer months.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Fort Western". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  3. ^ Charles Snell (1972). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Fort Western" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-06-22.  and Accompanying two photos, exterior, from 1971 PDF (484 KB)

External links[edit]