|Fort Western, Augusta, Maine|
Oldest standing colonial fort in America, circa 1754.
ro·man·ticMarked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized.
|Carla & Brad in the window seat of |
the dining room at Fort Western.
Built in 1754, during the French & Indian War, as a fortified storehouse to support Fort Halifax, 17 miles to the north and to protect its own region, Old Fort Western is the nation’s oldest surviving wooden fort. On the banks of the picturesque Kennebec River, the impressive fort with two large and two smaller blockhouses and a 100 x 32 foot main building that was built from the great pine forests surrounding the area. Hundreds of hand hewn 12 x 12 beams support the fort. The Fort was built by the Kennebec Proprietors, a Boston-based land company seeking to settle the lands along central Maine's Kennebec River that had been granted to the Pilgrims more than a century earlier when my Pilgrim ancestor, John Howland, commanded the trading post at this site. The company and the Province of Massachusetts were interested in expanding their influence in the area as part of an effort by Britain and her colonies to take final political control of North America and to sever the ties between the Abenaki Indians and the French in Canada. One of the Kennebec Proprietors, Captain James Howard, garrisoned the fort with a provincial military unit made up of his sons and 16 other men and four cannons sent by Governor Shirley as a defense against the Indians.
Captain Howard purchased the fort for $500 to be used as his residence (becoming the first permanent settler) and opened a store in what had been the military storehouse section of the main house. For the next 50 years, this store was a center of trade between the new settlers on the Kennebec and Boston, New Foundland and the West Indies. In the 19th century, the fort was transformed into a tenement house sheltering immigrants fleeing the Irish potato famine. Falling into demise, the fort was rescued by a descendant of the Howard's and Old Fort Western was opened as a museum in 1922.
Here's a glimpse inside Old Fort Western from my visit there on Memorial Day. I'm looking forward to returning on the 4th of July! Please join me on Wednesday, July 3rd, for Part 2 of A Romantic Independence Day when I share some of the stories from inside Old Fort Western.
CLICK HERE FOR A FULL SIZE SLIDESHOW
Do you have a favorite historical romance about the French & Indian War or the American Revolution? Have you ever read a novel that takes place in a fort? Have you ever visited a fort?
GIVEAWAY: For those who comment on this post and/or our post on July 3th (two chances to win), you will be eligible to win a copy of my book Colonial Courtships that features my novella Carving a Future, which is set in the same time period that Old Fort Western was built.