Point State Park
Fort Point Light - An Early River Beacon
Established in 1836 to aid the growing number of ships navigating
the Penobscot between Bangor and Castine, Fort Point Light
Station was built as the first river light in Maine. In 1857,
the present tower and keeper's house replaced the original
granite structures. The light station's fixed white light,
a fourth order Fresnel lens with a 250-watt halogen bulb,
is 88 feet above sea level and visible for more than 10 miles.
The fog signal, a 1200-pound, cast iron bell suspended on
a pyramidal tower built in 1890, is still visible today.
For more than 120 years, civilian keepers, employed by the
U. S. Lighthouse Establishment, tended this light station
before the Coast Guard assumed operational duties in 1957.
Today, with its automated light and fog signal, the light
is operated by Maine's Bureau of Parks and Lands as a historic
Pivotal English Outpost - Fort
In 1758, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Pownall wrote that
a fort at the Penobscot River was of utmost importance for
the English in their war with the French. Such a fort, wrote
Pownall, would allow the English to possess "fine country"
and "the finest bay in North America," as well as
keep the French and their Indian allies well inland.
In May 1759, Gov. Pownall brought 400 men here to build Fort
Pownall. Soon after ward, Quebec fell to the English, thus
ending France's foothold in North America. Though Fort Pownall
did not fulfill its military purposes, its presence encouraged
later English settlement of the Penobscot region and the fort
served as a center for trade.
Tensions ran high here on the eve of the American Revolution.
With the approval of the Loyalist then in charge of Fort Pownall,
British sailors came ashore one night in March 1775 and secretly
removed the fort's guns to keep them out of rebel hands. In
return, American rebels burned the blockhouse and filled in
the moat to prevent the British occupation of the fort.
Luxury Resort - The Fort Point Hotel
Fort Point began to
draw tourists in 1872 with the construction of the Fort Point
Hotel (right). The hotel could accommodate up to 200 guests,
most of whom were wealthy elite from Boston and New York City
who arrived by steamboat. With its posh clientele and state-of-the-art
amenities such as running water, gas lights, stables, ac bowling
alley, and two dance pavilions, the Fort Point Hotel was built
in hopes that the Fort Point area would grow to rival Bar
Harbor. Unfortunately, the hotel did not succeed, and after
four owners and as many names, burned in May of 1898 just
before its seasonal opening.