Friends of Fort Knox “Preserving an Historic Maine Jewel...”
The Friends of Fort Knox mission is to preserve/restore Fort Knox and enhance its educational, cultural and economic value for the people of Maine.
A few years ago Fort Knox, Maine’s most-visited state historic site, was on the brink of collapse due to structural deterioration from a leaking roof. Organized by the Friends of Fort Knox, thousands rallied to help the Bureau of Parks and Lands save the Fort. The roof was repaired at a fraction of expected cost, and this volunteer-driven partnership between state government and the Friends of Fort Knox became a model for other Maine parks and their host communities.
Some of the most articulate and effective of these volunteers were children. When students learned that the Fort was endangered, they rose to its defense. The heart of their campaign, in the letters they wrote, the penny drives and yard sales they organized, was a slogan drawn on a postcard by a middle school student from Searsport: “Fort Knox is our past, Fort Knox is our future.”
During the American Revolution and again during the War of 1812, British naval forces controlled the lower stretch of the Penobscot River. Fort Knox was built during the mid-19th century to thwart a third British invasion that never came. However, the story of how and why the Fort was built is a compelling tale of Maine’s Golden Age as the Lumber Capital of the World.
The Friends believe that by working in partnership with creative local organizations, the Fort will become an historic resource and a venue for Mid-Coast Maine talent. A summer-long series of historic reenactments, seminars, music, drama, local craft work and art, will make the Fort a must-see destination for local residents and tourists alike
You, your family, and friends can also help the Friends of Fort Knox achieve these exciting goals by becoming a member. We encourage you to donate funds, investments, or materials to the capital campaign; or become a volunteer with the organization.
The Friends of Fort Knox have mobilized statewide support to save Maine's most popular state historic site using volunteer labor, in-kind donations, and grassroots fundraising including this home page.
The Fort is in need of serious repair and upkeep in which state and local funds are not available for the extent of such work. Fort Knox truly belongs to people like you reading this on your computer, Fort Knox belongs to all of us. We all need to preserve some of our few precious sites and heritage in which we experienced the joy and awe, so our children can do the same.
Please come visit Fort Knox, you won't forget the breathtaking experience and please support Friends of Fort Knox so our future generations will have a chance to visit the Fort.
To make a tax deductible donation, find out how you can help, or for information regarding educational resources at the Fort, contact:
The Friends of Fort Knox
P.O. Box 456
Bucksport, Maine 04416
(207) 469-6906 FAX
Friends of Fort Knox Milestone
Fall 2012 - The Friends, working in partnership with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, will be undertaking the replacement of the “enlisted men’s quarters windows” and an exterior granite block masonry restoration project, during the coming year.
May 2012 - The Friends dedicated the northern most Fort interior powder magazine. The magazine, which has been closed to the public for decades, required extensive wood replacement and now contains an educational exhibit which displays interpretive panels. The powder magazine has been illuminated and contains replica gunpowder barrels that would have been stored there during the 1860s.
April 2012 - A lease agreement between the Friends and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands was signed which made Fort Knox the first privatized state park in Maine.
Summer 2011 – Friends begin restoration of northern interior Fort powder magazine. The project involves replacing decayed wood floors and walls. When the project is complete the powder magazine will be illuminated and interpretive materials placed inside.
Fall 2010 – Friends engage a local contractor to rebuild Battery ‘B’ and adjacent demibastion retaining walls. In addition, stabilization work on the wharfs and extensive erosion control efforts were undertaken.
Summer 2010 – Friends install lighting on the gatehouse to illuminate the three flagpoles. This effort allows the flags to be flown 24 hours a day and reduces thirty minutes of daily work time of park rangers.
2009 to Present - Century and a Half masonry project tackles brick repointing in the ten casemate areas of the Fort. Effort includes rebuilding two casemate vents that were boarded up due to fear of falling bricks.
Summer 2008 - Friends, working with community volunteers, repair a wall in Battery 'B' and remove vegetation growing from exterior Fort facade.
June 2008- Initiated the Century and a Half masonry program designed to repair masonry throughout the Fort to preserve the historic site for the next 150 years. Masonry deterioration was so severe that loose bricks may have posed a safety hazard to the public. Two rooms, located in the enlisted men's quarters, closed for 20 years, which contain the only above ground water cistern in the Fort, were repaired and reopened to the public in September 2008.
May 2008- Installed parking lot lights to enhance visitor safety during special events such as the Scottish Tattoo and Fright at the Fort.
August 2007 – The restored four 24-pound flank howitzer cannons and replicated carriages are installed in the Fort.
June 2007 – An educational display depicting a Civil War era officer is installed in the Fort Officer's Quarters.
January 2007 - The project to restore four 24-pound flank howitzer cannons and carriages original to Fort Knox is approved by the FFK Board of Directors.
October 2006 - Friends of Fort Knox repair the exterior lights illuminating the facade of the Fort.
September 2005 - Friends of Fort Knox complete the restoration of the Battery 'A' powder magazine roof.
October 2004 – Friends of Fort Knox conduct their largest special event fundraiser in the organization’s history attracting 10,100 attendees.
August 2004 – Friends of Fort Knox complete the restoration of the Officers’ Quarters that were closed to the public for decades. The restoration project reopened four rooms and repaired four fireplaces.
September 2003 – Friends of Fort Knox volunteers complete the repointing of the Battery ‘B’ hot shot furnace.
July 2003 – Interpretive educational panels are installed throughout Fort Knox by the Friends and serve as a self-guiding tour for visitors.
April 2003 – A management contract is signed between the Bureau of Parks and Lands and the Friends to have the organization provide interpretive fees and collect gate fees. (Friends' also now staff the Penobscot Narrows Observatory)
July 2002 – Friends install a multimedia system in the Visitor and Education Center to be used for educational programs.
August 2001 - The Fort Knox Visitor and Education Center is dedicated.
June – August 2001 – Interpretive educational panels and artifacts are installed in the Visitor and Education Center.
May 2001 - Friends open new gift shop and regional information center.
March 2001 - A formal partnership agreement between the Bureau of Parks and Lands and the Friends is signed.
November 2000 – A long-term license agreement covering the Friends’ use of a new gift shop and office space is signed with the Bureau of Parks and Lands.
June 2000 – Friends sponsor a season long series of special events at the Fort.
January 2000 – Friends launch web site fortknox.maineguide.com
August 1999 – Initial work begun to transform the Fort torpedo shed into the Visitor and Education Center.
August 1999 - Friends of Fort Knox hire a full-time Executive Director.
July 1999 – The Fort facade is illuminated due to Friends’ efforts.
May 1999 – Maine Legislature approves $125,000 to support the Visitor and Education Center project.
1998 – The Bureau of Parks and Lands and Friends develop plans to transform the Fort torpedo shed into the Visitor and Education Center.
1997 – The Friends open a gift shop adjacent to the Fort parking area.
1996 – Friends of Fort Knox play key role in advocating for the passage of a $1 million bond to repair the Fort Knox roof and have raised $314,759 in private donations to support the project.
1995 – In cooperation with the Bureau of Parks and Lands the Friends develop a three-phase action plan to complete roof repairs within a 2-year period.
1993 – Friends launch public awareness campaign to educate the public about the critical condition of the Fort Knox roof.
1991 – Initial Friends of Fort Knox committee formed.