About This Location
Battery 205: A Testament to Coastal Defense
Nestled within the confines of present-day Fort Foster Park in Kittery, Maine, Battery 205 stands as a silent sentinel, reminding visitors of a pivotal period in American history. This abandoned coastal gun battery, constructed during World War II, offers a glimpse into the nation's efforts to bolster coastal defenses during a time of global conflict.
A Glimpse into Fort Foster's History
Fort Foster has a rich history that dates back to its establishment in 1872 when the U.S. federal government acquired the land. The fort underwent significant development from 1898 to 1904 as part of the large-scale Endicott Program. During this period, Battery Edward Chapin and Battery Henry Bohlen were constructed, completing in 1902 and 1904, respectively. Fort Foster, a sub-post of Fort Constitution, was named in honor of Brevet Major General John G. Foster, a New Hampshire native from the American Civil War era.
Battery 205's Emergence
As the specter of World War II loomed, the need for fortifying the Harbor Defenses of Portsmouth became apparent. To meet this requirement, older Endicott Period coastal gun batteries were disarmed, making way for the construction of new batteries like Battery 205.
The construction of Battery 205 commenced on November 10, 1942, nearly three years into the war. However, the battery wasn't completed until September 8, 1944, when it was transferred to the Coast Artillery for conditional use.
The battery featured a long magazine covered by earthworks, and on either end, it had M4 Shielded Barbette Carriages. These carriages were intended to house two 6-inch T2-M1 rapid-fire guns. Regrettably, the guns could not be shipped before the war's conclusion, and instead, two mobile 40mm anti-aircraft guns and two 50 caliber heavy machine guns were installed in their place.
Adjacent to Battery 205, a fire control tower was constructed in 1943. This tower served as the base end station for Battery 205, providing essential oversight of Portsmouth Harbor and the Isles of Shoals.
The Post-War Period
Following the conclusion of World War II, the government ordered the removal of the barbette carriages at Battery 205. These carriages were subsequently extracted and sent to the Watertown Arsenal in Watertown, Massachusetts, marking the end of the battery's military service.
Exploring Battery 205 and Fort Foster Today
Today, Battery 205 resides within the confines of the Fort Foster park, which houses several old gun batteries and other intriguing abandoned structures. Notable highlights within the park include Battery Chapin, Battery Bohlen, and the Fort Foster Fire Control Tower.
Visitors can easily access Battery 205 via a large parking lot at Fort Foster Park. During the summer months, the park charges a $20 fee per vehicle for parking. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the park remains open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. During the off-season, the parking lot is accessible, and no fees are collected.
While exploring Fort Foster, take the time to discover the well-preserved military structures, all of which remain in good condition and boarded up. Additionally, the park is dog-friendly, permitting leashed dogs, provided owners clean up after them. This allows visitors to enjoy a historical journey while appreciating the beauty of the natural surroundings at Fort Foster Park.