Fort Knox
Prospect, Maine
Visited 5.21.15
Visit the Fort Knox page here!
Maine is a really, really cool place. I was told that I and my intrepid starforting sister had managed to get there at the perfect time, when we arrived toward the end of May of 2015: The weather had just warmed up so the snow and ice were gone, and the mosquitoes hadn't figured out it was springtime yet.

Perhaps most importantly, the annual invasion of northbound tourists, who pack the state full of squirming humanity each Memorial Day in late May, hadn't arrived fact we passed an endless line of them heading into the state as we were leaving it. This perfect confluence of events made for an extremely pleasant Maine experience for us, but the locals assured us that this was by no means the norm.
But who cares, let's talk about Fort Knox. 'Twas built in the mid-1800's to prevent the kind of thing that had happened during the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, which was the British sailing up the Penobscot River, relatively unopposed, and undertaking whatever wicked British scheme they wished (read the whole Fort Knox story at its dedicated page). Designed by American starfort superstar Joseph Totten, Fort Knox is just about as demonstrably un-starrish as a fort can be, and as such I honestly wasn't expecting very much out of my visit. Pooh on this notion that a fort that is not in the shape of a star might be as enthralling as those more stellar in nature, my preconceptions comfortably assured me.
Ha, ha, and ha. Fort Knox is an incredibly imposing and well-preserved monstrosity of the starfort art, whatever ultimate shape it took. That dizzying correlation of the standard (casemates casemates casemates) and the unique (that weird stone front glacis, storage bins beneath the parade ground) made it everything I could wish for in a visited starfort!

Plus Fort Knox has two standing hot shot furnaces. Two! Just about every coastal fort in the United States had such a furnace in the mid-1800's, but very few remain today...and as far as I know, this is the only fort where one can trip over two reasonably functional examples of them today (Fort Pike outside New Orleans also has two, but...all that's left of Pike's furnaces are sad little mounds of brick remains).
As an added bonus, the Penobscot River Narrows Observatory is directly behind the fort. This is an observation tower built into one of the supports of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, from whence one can see the advantageously strategic spot at which Fort Knox sits, from a commanding height of 420 feet.

Entry into the fort costs $8.00 (though it's only $5.50 for Maine residents), and it was an additional $7.00 each for us to ascend to the Observatory. There are combo packages for entry into both, which is much cheaper, but being out-of-state rubes, we of course paid full price for everything...but even at full price, this was a stupendous starfort visit in all regards.

Please click on any of the images on this page to be magically transported to its full-sized counterpart, at which page you will also be granted further pearls of experienced wisdom from my trip.