Battery Chapin is an abandoned reinforced concrete coastal gun battery on Fort Foster in Kittery, Maine. The battery was built in 1904 during the Endicott Period.
Battery Chapin Establishment
During the 1890s, the US Government analyzed its defensibility. It realized that old masonry forts and smoothbore cannons were rendered obsolete by improvements in weapons made during the Civil War. The Endicott Board was established by the US government in 1885 to conceive a contemporary defense system for the nation. The building of the Endicott system occurred from 1890 to 1910. Alth Some of the Endicott system’s components were still in service in 1945 after it was built between 1890 and 1910. These years are nowadays referred to as the Endicott Period.
During the Endicott Period, the government noticed that the Harbor Defenses of Portsmouth needed strengthening. Portsmouth was an important harbor to protect due to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the entrance to the Piscataqua River. One of the defense systems built to increase capabilities was Battery Chapin.
Construction on Battery Chapin was completed in 1904. On December 31, 1904, the battery was transferred to the Coast Artillery for use. It was equipped with two 3-inch M1902MI guns mounted on M1902 Pedestal carriages. There were two stories that made up the structure. The lower level was the magazine where shells and powder were stored. The upper level was where the guns were mounted and a small lookout post was built. No shell hoists were installed, so men stationed at the battery had to manually move all ammo.
The Battery During World War 1 and 2
After the United States entered World War 1, they began looking for ways to support their allies overseas in Europe. To do this, many coastal gun batteries were stripped of their guns so they could be sent overseas. The majority of guns were sent to arsenals where they would then be shipped or remounted. No orders ever came for Battery Chapin’s guns to be removed. Ultimately, the guns remained through World War 1.
When World War 2 occurred, many coastal gun batteries built during the Endicott Period were not used. But, this was not the case at Battery Chapin. Battery Chapin remained part of the Harbor Defenses of Portsmouth during World War 2. It was only after WW2 that the battery was declared surplus and its guns and carriages were salvaged. The battery was officially abandoned on October 18, 1945.
The Battery Today
Since 1945, this coastal gun battery has been completely abandoned. Over the years, the battery and its surrounding land have become a public park named Fort Foster Park. Visitors are welcome to admire the old Battery Chapin along with Battery Bohlen, Battery 205, and the Fort Foster Fire Control Tower.
No guns or mounts remain at Battery Chapin, but there is still a lot to see. Visitors can check out the small storage rooms on the first floor of the battery. The stairs then lead up to the second floor were the guns were once mounted. Although the guns no longer remain, it is still a fascinating structure and the views of Portsmouth Harbor and the ocean are epic! Visitors, as of 2022, are also welcome to walk into the lookout room.
- Year Established: 1904
- Year Abandoned: 1945
- Original Function: Endicott Period 3-inch coastal gun battery on Fort Foster
Battery Chapin Location
- Park: Fort Foster Park
- Address: Pocahontas Road
- Town: Kittery
- State: Maine
- GPS: Lat 43.06835 Lng -70.6942997
- Parking notes: There is a large parking lot at Fort Foster Park which charges $20 to park in the summer. The Fort Foster Park gate is closed to vehicular traffic in the offseason and it reopens each year in the Spring. Battery Chapin can be accessed via a short walk down to the shore from the parking lot.
- Parking directions: HERE
- Location directions: HERE
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