A Travellerspoint blog

October 2007

Day 50 (10.21.07) - A Submarine & Two Museums

We are again heading south, stopping at anything that looks interesting and quite a splended section of very old Portsmouth, New Hampshire

sunny

Miles Driven: 46
Weather: Clear sky's, sunny and warm (mid to high 60's F)

Summary: Drove South along Maine Coast on Hwy 1, Stopped at "Johnson Hall Museum" in Maine, the "USS Albacore" Submarine Park and "Strawbery Banke Museum" in Portsmouth New Hampshire. Camping at Wal-mart.

Well, we have finally left Maine! We drove through some interesting looking coastal communites, quaint if a bit 'touristy'. Somehow, we managed to keep going but with the fine weather we have today I could see spending a day or two in some of them. I briefly turned into a US Post Office, thinking I could ship another box home. Mom was somewhat embarrassed when we realized it was Sunday and closed. Maybe that's a good sign - we're having so much fun we lost track of what day it was?

Before we left Maine however, there was an odd looking assortment of old buildings in Kennebunk. The sign said "Open". One of the buildings had a "Cummings" sign on it. Curious, we found a place to turn around and went back. The sign said "Johnson Hall Museum", and another said "$5 to walk through it". The chain was pulled to the side and another sign on the front door said "Open". This was very odd however because the front door was locked and nobody seemed to be anywhere around. It looks like someone (?) is trying to assemble old buildings and items to form a museum or historic village, but isn't very far along (most are in major need of refurbishment). Also, many of the items (museum exhibits?) are outside and had clearly been rained on, which doesn't seem like something a normal museum would allow.

Tonight I tried to find something about this place on the internet and there doesn't seem to be much information. True to form however, we took some pictures before moving on. The "Cummings" building was an old railroad depot. I found a place called "Cummings" on Mapquest and on the USGS web site (as a populated place in Maine), but couldn't find it on the US Postal Service web site or the Census web site, so if it existed, it may not any more or may have been absorbed by another town. An interesting tidbit in the 'Cummings' family history? The other three buildings shown are listed as from 1880, 1783, and 1901 (left to right). There were other buildings but I don't know anything about them so just uploaded these to give you an idea what sorts of things were at this odd place.

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At least we didn't spend much time there since they were closed (in spite of the signs). With that, we got to New Hampshire in fairly short order. Immediately after crossing the bridge (on the Hwy 1 bypass I believe), we saw a submarine on the side, not in the water however. A sign said "USS Albacore Park" and it looked like there was a driveway so we turned inside. It was indeed a submarine that was rescued from target practice, restored and set up as a park.

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She was built in Portsmouth, NH in 1953 and was the first modern shaped (round hull) submarine. The Navy used it to test different concepts, such as rudders, dive breaks, and sonar equipment and at the time it was built - it was the fastest and most maneuverable submarine in the world.

In 1989 it was made a National Historic Landmark, in 2000 the Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark and Historical Welded Structure, and in 2005 the Submarine Hll of Fame - of course I had never heard of most of these.

But what is really cool is that you can walk through it (or should I say Climb). Mom even decided to tackle the hatches and seemed to really enjoy going through an actual submarine! The submarine is set up with boxes so as you go through it, you can press a butten and hear an audio explanation of the room(s) and also some crew experiences.

I expected that space on a submarine would be at a premium, but even so the scale really surprised me. It's hard to imagine how men could even get into or turn around in some of the spaces essential for living and working. (It is very late and all these photo's have labels & descriptions attached to them, so I'll just post the thumbnails in roughly the same order as when you walk through the submarine. If you want to know more about a picture, just click on it to enlarge it and see the description).

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There is also a small museum in a separate building that has some additional information and exhibits, including a photo of the submarine when it was operational.

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They do have a web site if you'd like to learn more:

http://www.ussalbacore.org/

Now, for why we really came to Portsmouth - in the Travel Guide I had read about a place called "Strawbery Banke" (The Museum choose to mispell Strawberry, just as the early settlers did. Maybe I'm not the only poor speller out there?). When the area was first explored by Europeans, they were impressed by the wild strawberries growing by the river bank and decided it would be a good place to settle. Over the years, the town grew and was renamed Portsmouth in about 1850, which they thought sounded more sophisticated. The town grew and changed over the years, the old dock area's were no longer needed as manufacturing replaced maritime activies and fell into disrepair. After WWII, the governments 'Urban Renewal' projects started to tear down old inner cities to build modern spaces. Fortunately a few folks realized the value of preserving history and established a Museum of many of the oldest and most historic houses that hadn't been razed yet. Most are still at their original locations, but a few buildings of special historic value have also moved to the museum site, such as the Goodwin Mansion.

Today the museum is open year round and has 'interpreters' (rather than docents?) and often roll-playing characters in period costume (and full period character, as Mom found out). I suspect there is a lot more going on during the peak summer tourist season, but we did see demonstrations of spinners and 1790's cooking and role players for Mrs. Shapiro, Mrs. Goodwin, and Mrs. Walsh in their homes.

Again, it is very late - so for tonight I'll just post the thumbnails. To see the descriptions just click to enlarge. Also, they have a fairly thorough web site. If you click on "Learn & Explore", then "Buildings & Exhibits", you can get much better descriptions of the buildings and their history then I could ever write:

http://www.strawberybanke.org/

I also took some video's of the people (with permission), so will try to add those later (and maybe expand on the descriptions also)

General Scenes of Village:

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Sherburne House (1695/1703 - Oldest surviving house in NH):

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Shapiro House (As in about 1910, Russian Jewish Immigrants):

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Abbot Store (As it looked about 1943):

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1790's Cooking:

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Walsh House (some details only):

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Aldrich Musuem:

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Goodwin Mansion:

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Pitt Tavern:

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Now, if this seems like a lot - just be glad I didn't upload all 357 pictures I took today!

Posted by jl98584 21:25 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (2)

Day 49 (10.20.07) - We stay put, rest & reflect

No pic's today, no sightseeing, just catching up & resting

overcast 60 °F
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Miles driven: 0
Weather: Hard Rain last night, overcast but temperate (60 F) today
Camped at KOA in Seco, Maine (15 miles SE of Portland).

Summary: While we've been in Maine a long time and are quite ready to head on south a bit, I felt I really needed to stop and just sit for a day, so we did.

The KOA we stayed in last night is open one more night, tonight - then will close down for winter. We've been on the road for seven weeks, the last four days without plugging in, emptying tanks, etc. Laundry had piled up, the RV was quite dirty (no vacumming without electricity). We took advantage of the daily pancake breakfast put on by the RV park (not free, but OK), then did our chores for a couple of hours.

I have about 500,000 things I wanted to get caught up on during our down time, but as usual, have overestimated my capabilities and probably won't get them all done.

Most of the afternoon, I've spent picking Mom's brain and adding some more information to the family history (trying to add some 'color' also, stories etc.). Being new to the software still, I was trying to add a second spouse to somebody and had the first husband marrying the second husband! (It took a while, but I've got that fixed now and figured out how to do it right).

Reflecting a bit on the trip so far, I'd have to say it has met and greatly exceeded my expectations. One thing I wanted to do was to reconnect with just how rural and beautiful the country really is. At home, I often drive through fairly populated areas. It often feels as if the whole country is one big strip mall! This is NOT true, although it still feels this way when we drive through the bigger cities. Most of the time however, we've been driving through very beautiful and rural scenery - lots of open land, farms and interesting architecture. Maybe it's good most of us live in cities so we keep the open area's open?

Another thing that strikes me is how nice people still are for the most part. The news media has such a negative slant, sometimes it feels as if the world is coming apart at the seams. Maybe, but also I think it's because all the good stuff that happens just isn't considered newsworthy - even if it greatly outweighs the bad. Joe Doe took his kids to school today, Kid xyz turned in his homework and studied for his tests, or whatever. But just about everywhere we've been, folks have been kind, helpful and trustworthy. So far, nothing has been stolen or damaged (except by my mistakes - although nothing serious). Sometimes people go way beyond the 'call of duty' to help us out or give us information. We've met a lot of interesting and nice people, both fellow travellers and local folks who seem genuinely interested in us, where we're from, etc.

We have a long way to go yet, but I expect we'll continue to see the same trends. I hope to continue to find places that are just really cool - but didn't make it into the travel guides, interesting people who don't mind helping strangers still, kids that wave at out of town RV's, and an occasional 'character' or two. I miss my house and hobbies at home, but I also am really enjoying all the things we're seeing and doing and wish we had time for more.

Posted by jl98584 14:27 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Day 48 (10.19.07) - Augusta to Portland, Maine

More family research, then Wadsworth-Longfellow House in Portland, Maine


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Miles Driven: 164 (half in circles, although it felt like more)
Weather: Overcast, heavy fog to showers at night, 60 F

Summary: More research into ancestry, then drove to Portland Maine and toured the Wadsworth-Longfellow house.

One advantage of staying at a Wal-mart is it's easy to catch up on shopping! Mom noticed that the store we parked at last night was a 'Superstore', so suggested that they might have a hair salon. Sure enough, she was right. We were getting pretty shaggy since we hadn't gotten a haircut since we left home. I kept thinking it would be fun to try some nice little local shop in one of the small towns we drove through, but never remembered to stop. So that's taken care of now - maybe the next pictures you see of us won't look so ragged?

Then I decided since we were already in a pretty big shopping mall (Augusta is the state capital afterall), I'd try to find some video editing software. So far, the few video's I've uploaded have been pretty poor stuff as I had no way to edit them. I don't take that many video's anyway, but should try at least some minimal editing before forcing them off on an unsuspecting public! After driving around in circles for awhile, we located a Staples and I was able to find the necessary software (so now will have no more excuses...)

Finally we headed back to the Maine State Library to finish up what we started last night. Some of the books we used were so old, we weren't allowed to photocopy them (the light damages the paper). I had tried to take still shots (no flash) of the important pages yesterday, but only about 1/2 were legible. I think I figured out my photography problem, but decided today to just take the laptop in and enter the genealogy stuff directly into the computer. It took me a few tries since I had never used this software before - but once I got going, it was pretty easy.

In case anyone is interested, here are a couple of shots I took from the old books. The two houses were from Isaac Cummings era. He was born about 1601 and immigrated to Salem, MA most likely in 1627. The coat of arms is for the Fairbanks family. Mom's grandmother was Maude Cummings and her great grandmother was Marianne Fairbanks.

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IMHO (geek speak for In My Humble Opinion) - While I find this whole genealogy thing kind of fun and it is a little interesting knowing where one comes from (regardless of what that turns up), I do have some mixed feelings. Our ancesters don't make us any better or worse than what we make ourselves, so while this may all be a little interesting, it probably doesn't have much practical value (other than trying to avoid making the same mistakes they may have made - or be inspired by their courage and character?)

In spite of all the time we spent on this in Maine, we still don't have any solid leads on Charles Kingsbury Stinson. We have a couple of additional pieces of information, maybe a clue or two - but nothing solid yet.

One good thing came out of returning to the Library this morning, while I was laboring away at trying to figure out the software, Mom took the time to go through the Maine State Museum where I spent a few minutes in last night. She really was impressed (but she didn't take any pictures)!

After we left Augusta, I tried to subtly suggest we should skip Portland, Maine and just drive south to New Hampshire - unsuccessfully. Mom really did want to see the Wadsworth-Longfellow house in Portland. Actually, I wanted to see it also (but we do need to start heading south again!) We called ahead and found out we just had time to make it, so off we went. It was a fair distance between Augusta and Portland - not for a normal driver, but for me and my RV in a heavy fog/rain, it was too far (maybe it's just because I stayed up too late last night?)

We found the house tucked in between modern, large office buildings and banks in downtown Portland. The last tour of the day was just beginning so I dropped Mom off while I looked for parking. The docent (volunteer guide) was quite an interesting fellow - he took us through the house and told us about some of the rooms and things in them, but mostly he tried to connect us to the poet and writer, Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow and would throw in poems and quotes sometimes without warning. He probably spent as much time reciting (from memory) Longfellow poems as he did explaining the house and it's history!

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the house (so few pictures to upload today - maybe I can stay within my monthly allotment afterall?). I have one picture of the outside, and you can learn more at their web site:

http://www.mainehistory.org/house_overview.shtml

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So this is a short day for sightseeing activities. The evening turned out much longer than we expected however - learning a little more about New England winters! In spite of the unseasonably warm fall this year, everything seems to just shut down for the winter around Columbus Day. RV parks are almost all closed, but we'd been out for 4 days without being able to plug in (that I can live with) or dump tanks (could get to be a problem soon).

We had been told about a park folks were pretty sure was still open, so I entered the address in the GPS software and sure enough, about 45 minutes later we drove right to it (only 15 miles from Portland, so I'm not sure why it took us so long). However, it was closed for the winter. Not wanting to make the same mistake again, I fired up the laptop and data card and looked up campgrounds in the Portland, Maine area. After calling most of them, I found the KOA was still open, but only through this weekend. I entered their address in the GPS software, and about 45 minutes later the software voice told us "You have arrived at your destination" - but it was pitch black all around us, no campgrounds, no nothing. So after calling the park again and getting better directions, we arrived there about 30 minutes later, almost back to where the first campground was! In total, it took us 2 hours to go 15 miles!

The campground staff told us most of their visitors come from the Boston area where everybody puts their RV's away for the winter so the pipes don't freeze. The RV parks just can't afford to stay open for the few, brave fool's who travel after early October. Well, we're parked here for tonight and will take care of all our laundry, power, and tank chores before leaving tomorrow. This should get us into pretty good shape for the next three or four days if needed. There are two year-round parks in the Boston area, but until we're out of New England, we're going to have to call ahead a little more often and plan the trip around facilities that are still open once and a while - if we can find any!

Posted by jl98584 19:18 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Day 47 (10.18.07) - Maine Family Roots

Today we looked for information about our ancestors in Poland, Maine - which took us back to the State Capital in Augusta, Maine.

semi-overcast
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Miles Driven: 69
Weather: Slightly Overcast, but warm (up to 70 F)

Summary: Researched family history in Poland, Maine. Visited a Shaker Village in Sabbathlake, then the State Capital in Augusta, a little bit of museum, then more family history research.

We parked on a side road last night, since all the campgrounds in Maine seem to close down around Columbus Day (except for a few along the coast and Arcadia NP). Nobody bothered us though and it was nice and quiet. I stayed up quite late working on the internet (blog and other things) so had a little trouble waking up. Of course, Mom is a morning person so was up bright and early. At home, this wouldn't be a problem - but in such a small space as in my RV, sometimes our differences are a little more obvious, but we make do.

We drove back towards Poland, Maine to see what we could find out about Mom's maternal grandparents. The first place we stopped was the Library. This is across the street from the oldest church in town, one that was active during the time my great grandmother lived in Poland. I imagine that she probably attended this or at least visited it from time to time.

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The people at the library were very helpful and told us that most genealogical information is kept at the Maine State Library up in Augusta. However we were encouraged to look through what they had in Poland and the librarian unlocked a room and some cabinets that had a lot of old records about the town. The librarian also brought out some binders that were compiled by a group called M.O.C.A. Maine Old Cemetary Association - yes, there is actually a group dedicated to the preservation of 'Maine's Neglected Cemeteries'. For our purposes however, what was really useful is that they have also compiled lists of people who were buried in the cemetaries and what the headstone's say about them (death dates, spouses, etc.)

We weren't able to learn anything about Charles Kingsbury Stinson, he is still the big unknown in Mom's ancestry, but we did pick up a lot more information about the Cummings (Mom's grandmother's line) and can now trace it back to Isaac Cummings, who is thought to have immigrated from Scotland to Salem in 1627. We also are starting to develop a new appreciation for how much work Uncle Bob has done to trace our family history as far back as he has. While some things can be done on the Internet, there is a lot of information that can only be obtained by going through old, hard to read books with a lot of incomplete and inconsistent information - and it takes a lot of time just to get an odd piece of information here and there. So, to anyone in our family that likes to know who their ancestors are - be very greatful for Uncle Bob!

After gleaning what we could from the library, we also tried the town hall. I leafed through the only old books they had and couldn't find any records for our family there (the town clerk warned me that there were a lot of holes in their records). I was concerned about what appeared to be a typo on one of the cemetary records so decided to check that out while we were in town. It was fairly large, so we split up and Mom actually located the Cummings family grave site (she, who hates to go to cemetaries, but makes exceptions when the weather is quite nice I guess).

This is the gravestone for Amos Cummings, 1801 - 1872, his wife Louisa (1801 - 1879) and some of their offspring. The light was bad, so it doesn't show up very well (you'll have to take my word for it?).

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We couldn't find any records in Poland for James Irving Cummings (Mom's great grandfather), Maude Cummings (Mom's grandmother) and Charles Kingsbury Stinson (Mom's grandfather). Since the marriage records at the city hall were fairly complete for the period in question, I'm pretty sure Maude Cummings was no longer in Poland by the time she got married - so Boston is probably where we'll need to search for more. I did decide to check Augusta first however since we were already in Maine and I didn't expect to get back again soon (if at all).

We weren't quite sure the best way to go from Poland to Augusta and we also are on a general tour, not really a genealogy expedition, so we drove south first. Poland Springs is right next to Poland and our travel guides recommended it for some historical buildings and the resort/spa history in the area due to it's mineral water. However it was closed for the season and they had even torn up the road into the complex, so we crossed it off our list.

Mom noticed that the Shaker Village at Sabbathlake was directly on the route we were taking to get to the turnpike. When we were at the Shaker Village in Enfield, NH we learned that there were only four active Shakers left in the world and they were at Sabbathlake, Maine and she really wanted to visit the place. Since we practically stumbled onto it, we stopped. The store, museum and other facilities normally open to the public were closed down for the winter. The library was open however, so Mom went in and was able to ask a few questions and pick up some additional information. Although the buildings are closed, we could see them from the outside, so I think Mom was content with what we could do.

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From there, we jumped on the turnpike and drove back up to Augusta, Maine without incident (other than paying tolls of course). We found the Maine State Library right across from the Capital Building.

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The Library building also is the home to the Maine State Museum, which was closing 20 minutes after we arrived. That just left me enough time to browse a few exhibits, but they had some things worth mentioning. This device is called a 'Lombards Log-hauler' and was built about 1920. Alvin Lombard started building these in Maine in 1901, his innovation was the system of moving tracks, which is used today for tractors and tanks.

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Another showed a woman cutting sardines to fit into the cans. Old Cal Stinson's canneries probably looked like this before the process was mechanized! I think I'll stick to accounting.

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Finally, here is a 'Whitman Premium Horse Treadmill' used in Maine from 1855 - 1875. This was before engines were widely available, so if you wanted to keep your tools running and didn't have access to water (in the winter it probably froze anyway) - you could hook up a belt to this wheel and your equipment and let the horse do the work.

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Alas, the museum closed so Mom and I started searching the Library for more information about her ancesters. We spent about three hours going through old books with pages a lot like this one. We were able to learn a few more interesting things about the Fairbanks and Cummings families, but I couldn't find many references to Charles Kingsbury Stinson. We did find a reference to when they were married however:

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We left the library when it closed at 8 PM and were both getting tired, so decided to stop at KFC for a bite to eat, then settled in at the local Wal-mart to sleep. There just aren't any campgrounds open around here this time of the year!

Posted by jl98584 20:05 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (4)

Day 46 (10.17.07) - Along the Maine Coast, then Inland

There is a lot of history along Penobscot Bay & River and history still being made

sunny
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Miles Driven: 140
Weather: Clear & Sunny, Warmer & no wind! (65 F)

Summary: Starting from Ellsworth, Maine, we visited: Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Observation Tower, Fort Knox (Maine!, 1844 - 1869), Fort Point Lighthouse and Fort Pownall (1759), ending in Poland, Maine.

Sometimes, when you travel, you have to pause and take care of basic requirements. One of Mom's prescriptions ran out, so we paused some last night and this morning to try to get her doctor back home to renew it and fax it to Maine so she could get it filled. Of course, Lewis & Clark had to take a basic medicine chest with them (from the 1800's of course), and probably required that everyone in their party be young and in good health. Today many people can travel even though they are older and on medications, it just takes a little extra planning and management.

So finally, after getting that taken care of, we started heading south again. We both felt we had seen the Maine coast by now, so agreed to head inland to go to Poland, Maine where Mom's grandmother was born - still hoping to track down her grandfather. However, the first leg of the trip was down Hwy 1 & 3, which still followed the coast a bit. The first major town we came to was Buckport, which is on the Penobscot River. As we drove through the town, we could see an older looking but impressive fortification. We had to cross a bridge and lost sight of it going up the hill on the other side, so I pulled over and asked some local folks about it. We had stumbled onto Fort Knox, Maine. Not only that, but the locals said we should also go to the New Bridge Observation Tower, which was right there with the fort.

Right, I thought - so what's the big deal, there are bridges all over Maine. We drove on up the hill and Whoa! The 'New Bridge' was quite a big deal. The Penobscot Narrows Bridge was completed in 2006 as a 'cable-stayed' bridge. With the technology available today, a cable-stayed bridge is faster and cheaper to build over a medium length span such as the Penobscot River. The local community didn't want such a modern looking bridge plunked right down next to their historic Fort Knox, so the builders covered the bridge towers in the same granite as used in the fort. (The old bridge in the background is being removed as it is too decayed to reuse at all.)

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Then, to top it all off they included an observation tower. This is visible on the west tower (left side) in the above photo - there are three, glass walled floors at the top - 420 feet above the rock base. There are only four bridge observation towers in the world, this one is the tallest and the only one in the US. Mom refused to go up it, but of course I jumped at the chance and really enjoyed the experience. Unfortunately, I forgot my filters (of course), so have decided not to upload the photo's I took from the top (long story there) - but the view is fantastic. The observation deck isn't very large, maybe 10 x 20, but if you ever get the chance - take the elevator and do go up. This is another view from the end of the bridge, it is currently only two lanes which makes it look kind of skinny, but I believe they can expand it later if needed. Here is also a view of the Penobscot Narrows that the bridge spans. This view is out towards the sea, away from the town of Buckport.

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You can also view a live 'cam' of the bridge at the Maine DOT web site (probably of more interest while the bridge was being built, but it has some cool techie info):

http://www.earthcam.com/client/mainedot/index.php

Having declined the bridge observation tower, Mom did agree to go visit Fort Knox however.

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This is NOT the Fort Knox with all the gold, that one is in Kentucky, but both fort's were named for General Henry Knox, America's first Secretary of War during the American Revolution. During both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, the British sent ships up the Penobscot River and seized control of the river, claiming the surrounding land for the British crown. The British lost their claim when they lost those wars, but the US government felt a fort was needed on the river to prevent future attacks. The first plans for this fort were laid in 1825, but no money was appropriated. The site stayed in limbo until construction finally began in 1844 by placing the gun batteries near the river. At the lower left is a brick chimney. This is for a 'hot shot' furnace which was used to heat cannonballs red hot so they when they hit a wooden hulled ship, it would catch fire. These were made obsolete by metal hulls which were introduced during the civil war (Monitor vs Merrimac). The cannon in this picture is a 15 inch Rodman, which required 12 men to fire it, but could send a shell over a mile.

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In 1853, work began on the granite foundations and walls. However, when the Army stationed troops at the fort during the Civil War, the barracks had still hadn't been built so the troops had to construct temporary buildings behind the fort. When work finally stopped on the fort in 1869, it still wasn't completed. Fortunately, no enemy ships attempted to attack up the Penobscot river during this period, so perhaps even a partially complete fort can provide some protection (the big guns were in place anyway, the troops had to make do).

Of course, Mom doesn't care for military stuff, but found the lichen interesting. We did go inside also and saw some impressive fortifications. The granite was quarried from Mt. Waldo, which is only five miles upriver from the fort.

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The arched structure is called a casemate. This is a fortified room where cannon can be placed to shoot through openings in the wall. All US masonary forts built between 1816 and 1867 had at least one level of casemates. The cannon in the casemate were a little smaller than the ones outside by the river. These were 10 inch Rodman cannons that required eight men to fire them. These cannon shells weigh about 100 pounds each. The Rodman cannon is signficant in that they used an improved casting method that made them stronger and safer than previous models.

Finally we got back on the road, having only driven about 30 miles so far, and kept heading south (and west again). Mom saw a State Park (SP) on the map she wanted to see called Fort Point. I objected since I wanted to really make some time finally (we have been in Maine a long time), but this time Mom was right (or is that 'she was right again'?). Fort Point SP is way out on a point at the end of Penobscot Bay (or entrance to Penobscot River). It was a beautiful day and a beautiful drive, so absent anything else, was probably a nice place to visit. Mom kept seeing tree's covered with Lichen and wanted to stop to take a picture of one. I saw this one with a red tree behind it, so tried to get down low to the ground and get them both (trying to be artistic, probably shouldn't have wasted the upload capacity, but I did so here goes).

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Anyway when we got to Fort Point, we found quite a bit of history there. In 1759 the British built a Fort Pownall. They never used it in battle, but it's presence encouraged anglo settlement of the area. The American's burned it during the Revolutionary War to prevent the British from occupying it and using it against the American's, so there isn't any part of the wood fort left, but you can see some of the shape & foundations. If you can read it, I'll try to include a photo of one of the information signs. If you can't read this and really want to know more - let me know (I always have more details then I can include in these blogs):

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Later, the site was used for a Lighthouse and Fog Bell. The lighthouse is still in use and, while the Fog Bell is still at the site, it is no longer in use as it was replaced by an automated foghorn lower on the cliff.

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We ate lunch at Fort Point, then headed west again through at town called Searsport where there is a 'Penobscot Marine Museum'. It turned out to be a walking tour through several different buildings around the downtown which required a couple of hours, so we just toured the gift shop. Since they are planning to redo the gift shop over the winter, everything was 50% off - many things had already been sold, but they had several books left and I picked up a few.

I think we were both getting tired so by the time we left the coast in Belfast, I didn't even try to stop and take pictures. I don't know if you've noticed, but there seem to be a lot of towns in Maine that are named after other places, not 'New Belfast' (as in New York), but Belfast. We also saw (or saw signs for) Paris, Mexico, Rome, etc. I had no idea we'd traveled that far!

We drove through Augusta, the state capital, briefly - then on to Lewiston/Auburn, and finally found Poland, Maine. The significance of this is that my great grandmother (Mom's grandmother) was born in Poland, Maine in 1864. We are hoping that we can learn a little more about her (and maybe Charles Kingsbury Stinson) around here, maybe not but it seems worth a try. The town is quite small still, and certainly old enough.

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All the campgrounds in this area are already closed. We have pulled over by the side of a side road, as long as nobody hassles us we should get a pretty good nights sleep (I filled the propane tank this morning). The internet signal is lousy, but seems to have gotten me through today's blog entry, so all is well with the world.

Posted by jl98584 19:20 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (4)

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