Fort Gorges

Description

Fort Gorges is a historic former United States military fort built on Hog Island Ledge in Casco Bay just off Portland, Maine.

Following the War of 1812, the United States Army Corps of Engineers proposed constructing a fort on Hog Island Ledge in Casco Bay, near the entrance to Portland’s harbor. It was part of the third system of forts in the United States. It was built to support existing forts, including Fort Preble in South Portland and Fort Scammel, which was built on nearby House Island in 1808. It was named after Maine’s colonial proprietor, Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Fort Gorges was built between 1858 and 1864, but no battles were ever fought there, nor were troops stationed there. Military technology advancements, such as ironclad ships and long-range guns, rendered the fort obsolete before it could be used.

The city of Portland purchased it in 1960, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. It is now open to the public as a park and can only be reached by private boat/watercraft or water taxi. It is recommended that visitors bring a flashlight with them when entering the powder magazines. The Friends of Fort Gorges look after the fort and recently raised $500,000 for critical repairs in 2019. The fort can be viewed from the mainland from the Eastern Promenade of Portland and Bug Light Park.

Looking for more great spots to explore nearby? Check out the GoXplr Maine Map at goxplr.com/map/maine!

 

Historic Specs

  • Opened: 1858
  • Original function: United States military fort
  • Architect(s): Thomas Lincoln Casey & Colonel Reuben Staples Smart
  • Year added to NRHP: 1973
  • NRHP number: 73000114
  • Status: Public
  • Admission cost: Free – The property is open for exploring at your own risk

Location

  • Address: Hog Island Ledge
  • Town: Portland
  • State: Maine
  • GPS: Lat 43.6630 Lng -70.22135
  • Parking notes: N/A – accessible only by watercraft
  • Parking directions: N/A
  • Location directions: HERE

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