Fort Richmond, 1720-1755

Fort Richmond
ME 369-001

Fort Richmond was built in 1720 by the Province of Massachusetts at the urging of the Pejebscot Proprietors. This military outpost's purpose was to promote settlement by providing settlers a haven and fostering good relations with Native Americans through trade. Fort Richmond was the first of four Kennebec River forts erected to demonstrate English claims to Maine's eastern frontier.

Ft. Richmond started as a timber garrison that served as a barracks for the provincial militia. The threat of Indian attack prompted the construction of a formal fort in 1723. The upgraded Fort consisted of an enclosure of stacked logs with barracks, storage rooms, a cistern, and a well. The original garrison became a blockhouse at the Fort's northeast corner, with a separate watch box built atop the wall at the Fort's southwest corner. A palisade fence surrounded all of these structures. The Fort evolved, and by 1740 it contained a two-story barracks, trading post, guard house, and chapel. A single large, stacked log building (similar to the Fort Western garrison) dominated the north end of the Fort by about 1750. After its decommission in 1755, some of its buildings continued to be used as lodgings and a church.
Archaeological investigations began in 2010 in response to plans for a new bridge across the Kennebec River between Richmond and Dresden. The discovery of 18th-century artifacts suggested the Fort's presence, and additional testing succeeded in identifying the palisade and other elements of the Fort. Excavations were conducted from 2010 to 2013 and led by Dr. Leith Smith Historic Archaeologist of the MHPC.