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Brown's Head Light - Vinalhaven Maine

Fort Popham

Fort Popham

Fort Popham
10 Perkins Farm Land
Phippsburg, ME 04562
Phone: 207-389-1335

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49 miles from Camden

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Fort Popham - Built in 1862 on the banks of the Kennebec River to protect Maine's capital from a confederate invasion

Brown's Head LightIn planning your trip to Maine, you have likely heard about Fort Popham State Historic Site for its historical importance as well as its superior coastal landscape that is known for its excellent photography opportunities. Since this is about an hour and a half away from your vacation home base in Rockland, you will want to set aside a full day if this is a priority location for you.

Fort Popham is well known as a coastal defense land battery, and was one of several forts built near the mouth of the Kennebec River over the past three centuries. Its original construction was approved because of growing concerns about the effectiveness of Confederate naval ships preceding the Civil War. It is composed almost entirely of granite blocks and utilizes a unique crescent shape that spans almost 500 feet in circumference.

Fort PophamConstruction of Fort Popham began in 1862 with the intention to help fortify and protect Maine's capital (Augusta) from a confederate invasion. Construction ended in 1869 although it was never completed. The 30-foot walls of the fort required granite from nearby Fox Island and Dix Island. Within the walls were 36 cannons that were arranged with two separate tiers of casements. Each individual cannon weighed around 25 tons and could fire shots that would weigh up to 480 pounds. On the backside of Fort Popham, a low moated curtain was built that featured 20 musket ports around a central gate. Why was it never completed? In 1905, Fort Popham became obsolete when Fort Baldwin (on the headland above Fort Popham) was built with its longer-range guns. However, the site was still utilized for military purposes. Originally, a minor fortification was constructed during the American Revolution and the Federal Government added a battery that became known as an “embargo fort” in 1808. It saw action in the War of 1812 and was actively manned until 1815.

The Fort Popham State Historic Site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. However, this site is much more than a Maine coastal military history lesson. It is a spot known for ample fishing opportunities and plenty of amazing photography opportunities. People can capture award-winning pictures of the fort architecture, the wildlife (otters, seals, and gorgeous birds, as well as the hidden gems of the surrounding land. With just a few areas fenced off (for safety reasons), the Fort Popham State Historic Site is yours to explore.


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