History of the Friends of Fort Knox
2019 – Replacement of the flooring in Officer’s Quarters with rough sawn true 1-1/2” lumber. Replaced cedar shingle roofs of the Visitor Center restrooms and both A and B Battery “dog house” stairwell access points. Continued repointing and repairs to the brick work with Knox Masonry. Heat Pump added to the Gate House. Various tree clearing and landscaping projects.
2018 – Repointing and repairs to the brick work. The Friends of Fort Knox mourn the passing of Leon Seymour – Executive Director for over 19 years. Board of Directors hire Dean Martin as Executive Director. Fright at the Fort has record attendance of 14,950 guests.
2016 - Long alley masonry repairs and repointing. Visitor's center upgrades. Officers Quarter's floors repaired
2015 - The Century and a Half masonry program continued and focused on repointing and repairing two step alley loopholes. In addition there were repairs to major storm damage which resulted in the collapse of the Battery B hillside and damage to the Visitor's center restroom leach field.
2014 - Access road from the Visitor's center to the Fort was repaired. In addition, the Century and a Half masonry program continued and focused on repointing the fort facade.
2013 - Sixteen windows were replaced in the enlisted men’s quarters and the ordnance room. In addition, the Century and a Half masonry program continued and focused on repointing the entire interior east facing granite wall adjacent to the parade ground.
2012 - A lease agreement between the Friends and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands was signed which made Fort Knox the first privatized state park in Maine. The Friends dedicated the northern most Fort interior powder magazine. The magazine, which has been closed to the public for decades, required extensive wood replacement and now contains an educational exhibit which displays interpretive panels. The powder magazine has been illuminated and contains replica gunpowder barrels that would have been stored there during the 1860s. The Friends, working in partnership with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, will be undertaking the replacement of the “enlisted men’s quarters windows” and an exterior granite block masonry restoration project, during the coming year.
2011 – Friends begin restoration of northern interior Fort powder magazine. The project involves replacing decayed wood floors and walls. When the project is complete the powder magazine will be illuminated and interpretive materials placed inside.
2010 – Friends engage a local contractor to rebuild Battery ‘B’ and adjacent demibastion retaining walls. In addition, stabilization work on the wharfs and extensive erosion control efforts were undertaken. Friends install lighting on the gatehouse to illuminate the three flagpoles. This effort allows the flags to be flown 24 hours a day and reduces thirty minutes of daily work time of park rangers.
2009 - Century and a Half masonry project tackles brick repointing in the ten casemate areas of the Fort. Effort includes rebuilding two casemate vents that were boarded up due to fear of falling bricks.
2008 - Friends, working with community volunteers, repair a wall in Battery 'B' and remove vegetation growing from exterior Fort facade. Initiated the Century and a Half masonry program designed to repair masonry throughout the Fort to preserve the historic site for the next 150 years. Masonry deterioration was so severe that loose bricks may have posed a safety hazard to the public. Two rooms, located in the enlisted men's quarters, closed for 20 years, which contain the only above ground water cistern in the Fort, were repaired and reopened to the public in September 2008. Installed parking lot lights to enhance visitor safety during special events such as the Scottish Tattoo and Fright at the Fort.
2007 - The project to restore four 24-pound flank howitzer cannons and carriages original to Fort Knox is approved by the FFK Board of Directors. An educational display depicting a Civil War era officer is installed in the Fort Officer's Quarters. The restored four 24-pound flank howitzer cannons and replicated carriages are installed in the Fort.
2006 - Friends of Fort Knox repair the exterior lights illuminating the facade of the Fort.
2005 - Friends of Fort Knox complete the restoration of the Battery 'A' powder magazine roof.
2004 – Friends of Fort Knox conduct their largest special event fundraiser in the organization’s history attracting 10,100 attendees.
2003 – A management contract is signed between the Bureau of Parks and Lands and the Friends to have the organization provide interpretive fees and collect gate fees. (Friends' also now staff the Penobscot Narrows Observatory). Friends of Fort Knox complete the restoration of the Officers’ Quarters that were closed to the public for decades. The restoration project reopened four rooms and repaired four fireplaces. Friends of Fort Knox volunteers complete the repointing of the Battery ‘B’ hot shot furnace. Interpretive educational panels are installed throughout Fort Knox by the Friends and serve as a self-guiding tour for visitors.
2002 – Friends install a multimedia system in the Visitor and Education Center to be used for educational programs.
2001 - A formal partnership agreement between the Bureau of Parks and Lands and the Friends is signed. The Fort Knox Visitor and Education Center is dedicated. Interpretive educational panels and artifacts are installed in the Visitor and Education Center. Friends open new gift shop and regional information center.
2000 – Friends launch a web site. A long-term license agreement covering the Friends’ use of a new gift shop and office space is signed with the Bureau of Parks and Lands. Friends sponsor a season long series of special events at the Fort.
1999 – Initial work begun to transform the Fort torpedo shed into the Visitor and Education Center. The Friends of Fort Knox hire a full-time Executive Director; Leon Seymour. The Fort facade is illuminated due to Friends’ efforts. Maine Legislature approves $125,000 to support the Visitor and Education Center project.
1998 – The Bureau of Parks and Lands and Friends develop plans to transform the Fort torpedo shed into the Visitor and Education Center.
1997 – The Friends open a gift shop adjacent to the Fort parking area.
1996 – Friends of Fort Knox play key role in advocating for the passage of a $1 million bond to repair the Fort Knox roof and have raised $314,759 in private donations to support the project.
1995 – In cooperation with the Bureau of Parks and Lands the Friends develop a three-phase action plan to complete roof repairs within a 2-year period.
1993 – Friends launch public awareness campaign to educate the public about the critical condition of the Fort Knox roof.
1991 – Initial Friends of Fort Knox committee formed.