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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:United States / State & Local / New England
  • Language:English
  • Pages:214
  • Paperback ISBN:9781098326500

The Fort on Cushing Island

An Account of the Revitalization of Fort Christopher Levett

by Peter L. Murray

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In 1970 six young families acquired an abandoned and overgrown U.S, Coast Artillery fort located on Cushing Island in Casco Bay, Maine. Over the next five years they and others who joined them transformed the crumbling brick fort buildings and decaying military installations into a vibrant addition to summer community that had long existed on the other half of the island. From the very beginning, they encountered hurdles and challenges in the course of their enterprise. This is the story of how it all started and how, with perseverance and luck, they got it done.
Fort Christopher Levett was a U.S. Army Coast Artillery installation built on Cushing Island in Casco Bay, Maine between 1900 and 1904. In its heyday it boasted heavy ordinance that protected Portland Harbor. The guns of Fort Levett never fired a shot in anger. By 1948 its military technology was obsolete, its guns were removed, and the fort was decommissioned and left to moulder amid the overgrowth that soon engulfed its brick buildings and concrete gun emplacements. Efforts to recycle the fort in the 1950's and 1960's came to naught. In 1970 a group of six young families, some from the Portland area, some from "away," were able to acquire the ruined fort based on a dream of restoring the crumbling brick buildings as vacation residences and becoming part of the summer community that had long existed on the "civilian side" of the island. Over the next 5 years the group restored six residences for themselves, sold other buildings to be recycled by like-minded friends, demolished a massive barracks, and created a shoreside subdivision of six lots for dream houses to be built by the original partners. The Fort on Cushing Island is the story of their undertaking, their travails, and the eventual success of their undertaking. It will be of interest to readers of history of coastal Maine and those who appreciate the brash enterprise of the young in going forward in the face of "you will never be able to do it."
About the author
Peter Murray is a lawyer and law teacher. Previous books include Serendipity and several books on legal subjects. He lives in Portland, Maine and has spent most of the last fifty summers on Cushing Island.
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