Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Maine Trip, May 2007 -- Day 2, Part 3

Fort Western, Augusta MaineAfter looking at the arsenal restoration project we passed the nearby, and beautifully restored Fort Western, built in 1754. For reasons I must have known as a child, but have forgotten -- I do not know why the fort, clearly on the east side of the Kennebec River would be called Fort Western.

We crossed the Kennebec and continued south along the western bank of the river to the next town, Hallowell. In pre-colonial days Augusta was part of Hallowell. The first settlement was in 1625 by British traders and trappers. The city of Hallowell was founded in 1762 and Augusta became a separate city in 1797.

Maine became a state in 1820 having been a territory of Massachusetts before that. In a way it was a colony of a colony. Hallowell's granite quarries were famous and many grand buildings throughout the U.S. including several in Washington, DC and New York City were made from Hallowell's stone.

Governor Bodwell House, 1875, Hallowell, MaineToday Hallowell is best known for the many antique shops that attract visitors from all over the northeast U.S. and eastern Canada. There are many beautifully well-kept, lovingly restored old homes big and small here. But there are many more in sad shape. One needing massive restoration work is the 1875 Governor Bodwell House on Middle Street in Hallowell.

Fortunately an organization in Portland identifies the state's most endangered structures and coordinates restoration efforts. To read about the Governor Bodwell House and other properties on Maine Preservation's list of Maine's most endangered historic properties click here. Their site also has a list of their success stories. The photo is by Joe Phelan of the Kennebec Journal.

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