Battery Hardman is a coastal gun battery in Phippsburg, Maine that was built in 1908. It helped defend the coast of Maine during the early 1900s. The historic military structure now sits abandoned. It is one of three coastal gun batteries located in the Fort Baldwin State Historic Site. To understand more about the 8-acre historic site and what remains, be sure to visit our Fort Baldwin page.
The history of Battery Hardman
Battery Hardman was built in 1908 and was named after John Hardman who was an officer in the Continental Army during the Revolution. The coastal gun battery was created during a time known as the Endicott Period. The Endicott Period started in 1890 and was directed by Secretary of War, William C. Endicott. Endicott aimed to boost the harbor defense system of the United States. He put to work tens of millions of dollars to build cannons, mortars, coastal gun batteries, submarine mines, and more along the coast of the US.
Battery Hardman was constructed to defend the mid-coast section of Maine and most significantly to safeguard the Kennebec River. The Kennebec River was vital for many reasons. Primarily because major cities can be found along the river, including Bath and, the state capital, Augusta. Also, Bath Iron Works is a prominent shipyard located a few miles up the river. It was founded in the late 1800s and it is known for producing world-class iron ships, including many for the United States military.
Battery Hardman was equipped with one 6-inch M1905 gun mounted on an M1903 Disappearing carriage. It was strategically built on Sabino Hill in Phippsburg and has sweeping views of the Kennebec River and the Atlantic Ocean. The battery is also completely concealed from the view of any craft traveling on the water.
During the first World War, from 1914 to 1917, the battery was staffed. It is unknown how many people worked at Battery Hardman. That said, there were about one hundred artillerists stationed throughout Fort Baldwin during WW1. Thankfully, the battery never had to fire a single round. Interestingly, the 6-inch M1905 gun was sent to France to help aid in the final year of the war. The gun arrived in 1918 and the war ended soon after. Following the war, the gun was transported back to Maine and was stored. Officially, the battery was abandoned in 1917 after its gun was removed. It was then transferred to the state of Maine in July 1924.
What remains today
Today, Battery Hardman sits abandoned and is slowly falling apart. After being acquired by the state of Maine following WWI, it was unclear what to do with the military structure. For many years, nothing was done. During WW2, the military took control of Fort Baldwin, but no changes occurred to Battery Hardman. In 1949, following WW2, the land was turned back over to the state of Maine.
On August 3, 1979, the battery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places with reference number 79000166. This is an enormous honor and it signifies that the structure and surrounding land will be preserved for years to come. Following 1979, the state of Maine began welcoming locals and tourists to explore the abandoned remains of the once-active fort. A parking area was paved on Fort Baldwin Road and a trail was created to lead visitors up to see the structure. Additionally, several informational signs were added to allow people to learn the fascinating history of the area.
Visitors can explore all around Battery Hardman. It is fun to check out the gun emplacements where the M1905 was once mounted. There is also a small observation post, pipes, air ducts, and several different rooms on the main level. Some of these rooms even have fireplaces! It is a super fun structure to explore and it will surely have you imagining what life was like for the people stationed there many decades ago. As of 2022, the fort’s doors are open and visitors are welcome to explore inside.
The trail to Battery Hardman
The hike up to the battery is quick and easy. Parking is available at the trailhead located along Fort Baldwin Road. The hike up to the fort is just 0.20 miles and takes about 7 minutes. Round trip, the trail is 0.40 miles and the elevational gain is 66 feet. The trail is rated as easy and dogs are always welcome.
- Year Built: 1908
- Year Abandoned: 1917
- Original Function: Endicott Period coastal gun battery equipped with one 6-inch M1905 gun
- Day Added To The National Register of Historic Places #: 8/3/1979
- NRHP Reference Number: 79000166
- Address: 46 Fort Baldwin Road
- Town: Phippsburg
- State: Maine
- GPS: 43.750594, -69.789122
- Parking Notes: There is a good-sized parking lot located at 46 Fort Baldwin Road in Phippsburg, Maine. From the parking lot, visitors can see the trail leading up Sabino Hill to the fort. Parking is free.
- Parking Directions: HERE
- Location Directions: HERE