Fort Baldwin (1905-1924, 1941-1949) - An Endicott Period Coastal Fort first established in 1905 on Sabino Head, Sagadahoc County, Maine. Named Fort Baldwin in G.O. 20, 25 Jan 1906, after Colonel Jeduthan Baldwin, Engineers and Artillery Artificer Regiment, Continental Army, who died 4 Jun 1788. Turned over to the State of Maine in 1924. Federalized during in 1941 at the start of World War II and turned back to the State of Maine in 1949.
Endicott Period (1890-1910)
Part of the Harbor Defense of the Kennebec River, Maine.
The land for Fort Baldwin was purchased between 1902 and 1905 in two parcels, 38.13 acres in the Sabino Hill area and 7 acres of flat lands.
Construction of the three Endicott Period gun batteries began in 1905 in the Sabino Hill area and was completed in 1908 with all three batteries being accepted for service on 13 Nov 1908. There was no post construction initially and the existing house on the property was used by the caretaker Ordnance Sergeant. The 31 Dec 1910 RCB shows the post not garrisoned, without an electric plant and in the hands of an Ordnance Sergeant. The 31 Dec 1916 RCB shows no change in that status.
World War I (1917-1918)
The guns of both Battery Hardman and Battery Hawley were listed for use overseas on railway mounts on 24 Aug 1917 and on 4 Dec 1917 they were transferred to Watervliet and Morgan respectively. The single gun from Battery Hardman eventually made it to France and was later returned to the U.S. in 1919 but not to Battery Hardman. The two guns from Battery Hawley did not make it overseas and they were transferred back to the battery in 1919 and remounted.
All of the remaining guns and carriages on Fort Baldwin were shipped to Fort Preble for storage on 21 Feb 1924 as the post was turned over to the State of Maine on 22 Jan 1924.
After the start of World War I, eight temporary buildings were constructed in the small space available on the Fort Baldwin reservation. These buildings included an administration building, a small hospital, a double barracks, a bakery, a double mess hall and a lavatory. All of these buildings were of the temporary WWI construction, frame buildings with tar paper covering for the sides and roofs. Seven of the buildings were completed in December 1917 and the eighth building, a guard house, was completed in 1918. A 24 Sep 1918 inspection report painted a bleak picture of the post and indicated that if there was any fire the "entire set of buildings would probably burn". Two companies of coastal artillery (up to 200 men) garrisoned Fort Baldwin and Fort Popham during the war, including men from the 13th and 29th Coast Artillery.
The barracks, mess hall, bakery, lavatory were reported salvaged 24 Sep 1919 while the original house and the hospital were being used to house up to a 30 man detachment as late as 1922. The post was abandoned and turned over to the State of Maine 22 Jan 1924.
World War II (1941-1945)
Fort Baldwin and Fort Popham were federalized immediately after the declaration of war in 1941. Battery D, 8th Coastal Artillery, was deployed in late December to man both forts. In 1942 the War Department leased back 38 acres of old Fort Baldwin and placed a concrete, five story, fire control tower and a battery of four, 155mm Panama mount mobile guns on Fort Baldwin. Old Fort Popham was used as a motor pool and storage area for Fort Baldwin and was never armed. The five story concrete fire control station was one of three fire control stations for the 16" guns of Battery Steele (2) on Peak's Island Military Reservation. The battery of four 155mm mobile guns was deployed in the first six months of 1942 as an emergency measure until the newer batteries could be completed. Two of the 155mm battery Panama mounts were built into the gun pits of Battery Hawley. The 155mm battery was removed 17 Jan 1944.
The U.S. Army abandoned Fort Baldwin in 1949 and returned the property with improvements to the State of Maine by terminating the leases.
Fort Baldwin Memorial State Park owned by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and administered by Popham Beach State Park.
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Visited: 14 Jun 2012