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Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site

Sometime in the late 1500s or very early 1600s English vessels set up temporary fishing stations on what is now Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site in order to dry and salt cod for export back to Europe. Soon afterward, this operation grew into a permanent, year-round occupation and eventually into a sizable English settlement. Through 1689, the village flourished, eventually including several dozen dwellings, a tavern, custom house, blacksmith shops, and three forts. It sustained a pirate attack (1632) a massive hurricane that sank a ship at anchor (1635), and three attacks by Native Americans and their French allies.

Since 1964, major archaeological excavations have unearthed tens of thousands of artifacts from the fishing station, village, and fort sites. The oldest artifact found is a native projectile point crafted seven thousand years ago. Nearly twenty structures have been fully excavated and their cellar holes remain open for public viewing. In 2011, ninety-thousand visitors spent time at the site taking in the museum, the 1790s “Fort House,” the historic cellar holes, the burying ground, and the 1692 stone walls of Fort William Henry that was reconstructed in 1908 under the leadership of Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain. Volunteers at the site, just three miles from the iconic Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, operate a summer gift shop, a weekly lecture series, and numerous special events and special projects at the site. A small fee is charged for park access.

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