Fort Knox…Tear it down for condos

That was what the woman said when the tour guide asked her what she thought of the fort. “They should tear it down for condos.  Its such a waste of money to keep it going…all that water and moisture, and for what? Such a pretty view should have condos. Well except for that mill over there, but you could always angle them away so you don’t have to look at it.”

Then there was the man speaking French, and smoking a cigarette next to the “NO SMOKING” sign. I mean REALLY???

Maine is known as “Vacation Land”. Our forests, coastlines, and state parks are a draw to folks from all over the world. So where is the respect for the things we share with everybody?

The woman complaining about the cost of the upkeep of Fort Knox was part of a tour that had disembarked from a bus cruise, their next stop was Virginia. She had been to Alaska, and British Columbia. Other members of the tour were from Minnesota, California and who knows where else. Apparently they were Civil War buffs. This woman in particular didn’t understand what the big deal was about Fort Knox anyway, “its not like it ever saw any action.”

Perhaps it hadn’t seen any action, and as one gentleman from California pointed out, we never used any of the missile silos we have scattered across the country either, but the fact that we had them, was apparently deterrent enough to justify their need.

Without the many forts scattered up and down the Maine coast it is hard to say what could have happened to our great nation during its infancy years. That the fort was built in the mid 1800’s, and that it is still standing 165 years later is a testament to the people who worked so hard to build it, as well as to the people who so proudly have maintained, and repaired it over the years. It stood as a testament to the power, and resolve of the men who were stationed there in defense of our country. Any attackers entering the Penobscot River would have been faced with multiple cannons, both in the shoreline batteries and the two story brick, and granite casements.


Fort Knox July 2011 Doug Alley -stock photo


As for the mill, sure, it may be an eye sore, but again, that mill, and other mills and factories in Maine are a testament to the hard working folks that call Maine home. Our mills and factories supplied the entire country with goods for a many years before it became cheaper to ship our labor to other countries.

Our proud Maine, men and women spent many hours working in such mills providing folks with the things they needed to make their lives easier. I would not be the least bit surprised if some of the volunteers at Fort Knox once made a living at the mill that woman thought was such an eyesore.

As for condos? Condos are for the wealthy, and I don’t mean to put the wealthy down, but our State and National parks are for EVERYBODY.  Do you think the folks of Bucksport want to look across to where Fort Knox once stood and see condominiums?  When you make cruel comments about how we waste our money, you don’t know who is hearing your negativity.

So when you come to “Vacation Land” try to remember, not all of us vacation here. Many of us live here. We are proud of our forts, and even our mills. Respect our State parks, and respect the remnants of our dying industries, or don’t bother coming here! I paid my admission fee just like everybody else…I don’t want to hear you putting us down for throwing away money, I don’t want to smoke your cigarettes, and I SURE AS HELL don’t want to see condominiums put up in place of one of our proud forts!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.