Fort Stark in New Castle NH.
The Fort Stark State
Historic Site is located in New Castle, New Hampshire. The park is on a
peninsula called Jerry's Point on the southeast corner of New Castle Island and
overlooks the Piscataqua River, Little Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean in New
Hampshire. Fort Stark was named in honor of John Stark who was a commander of N.H. forces at the Battle of Bennington in 1777.
Fort Stark is one of the most interesting historical state parks in New
Hampshire, it is also one of the more
quieter NH State Parks along the
NH seacoast. There is a lot of old war history
there (see the bottom of this report for more history about Fort Stark)
When visiting Fort
Stark, remember that it is located in a quiet neighborhood and is at the end of
a dead end street. You will often see people walking and on bikes so go slow,
use caution and respect the landowner's rights. There is also a private home right next to Fort Stark.
When you get to Fort
Stark, the road will end at the parking lot for Fort Stark. In the spring of
2010 it was expanded to include parking for 20 cars. On Saturdays, an
overflow of cars is permitted to park on the 'inner green." (Old parade
Fort Stark Visitor's Center
There is a Visitors Center and small museum within the only building at
Fort Stark; the "Ordnance-Machine Shop" built in 1910. It is open from
12:00 to 4:00 every Saturday. It houses a combination of military
equipment used at Fort Stark during World War II as well as a display of
ship wrecks along the New Castle Coast.
Some of the layout
features of the land at Fort Stark include:
A small grass
area, which is great for Frisbee, flying a kite, baseball, or a picnic.
There is a jetty
which is good for fishing (although I never caught anything there, but go
fishing every time I go).
There is also a
very small beach area, not a sandy beach, but a nice place to relax and look
for sea glass.
Please visit with
caution! Fort Stark is a former military installation. Beware of dangers of
unprotected stairs, high walls, rough ground, slippery rocks, loose concrete on
the buildings, sharp metal and other dangers. It is best to view the old buildings from a
distance. Adult supervision of children is required according to the NH State
Fort Stark is free to the public. The gates are open from Memorial Day through
Columbus Day, with parking available from 9:00am to dusk. The NH State Parks
Division will sometimes open the gates before Memorial Day and will leave them
open after Columbus Day sometimes too, but one thing they do on time is lock the
gates at dusk, which makes Fort Stark one of the earlier closing State Parks
in New Hampshire. The police will come in and find you to tell you to leave if you are there
Fort Stark Location, Directions and
Fort Stark is located
just off NH Rt. 1B on Wild Rose Lane
New Castle, New Hampshire Zip Code 03854
Fort Stark GPS Coordinates: N43°
03.525' | W070° 42.810'
This photo of Fort Stark shows one of the 9 guns that once protected our
seacoast region. Erosion was the cause for the platform to slide into it's
current position. The gun has since been removed, but the concrete platform
remains in place.
to View our Photo
Gallery of Our Fort Stark Trip!
History of Fort Stark Historic Site
Fort Stark is one of seven Forts built to protect Portsmouth Harbor. The others
in New Hampshire are: Fort Washington,
(William and Mary), and Fort Dearborn (Odiorne
Point State Park),
and in Maine: Fort Sullivan, Fort McClary and Fort Foster.
These Forts were built to protect the colonists. As Portsmouth Harbor's
importance increased with its Revolutionary Warship building industry and the
establishment of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in 1800, additional Fortification
was needed to protect Portsmouth Harbor.
At Jerry's Point at Fort Stark there was earthwork Fortification, circa 1842,
and a stonework Fort, circa 1873. Following the Spanish American War in 1898,
the improved defense of key harbors became a national priority. Fortifications
such as Fort Stark in New Hampshire were constructed on both coasts during the
Endicott Period (1890-1920) and at Forts Constitution, Fort McClary and Fort
Foster. The purpose for Fort Stark was to place mines in the harbor entrances
and erect gun batteries. No shots were ever fired.
The final coastal Fortification occurred during World War II (WWII) when
batteries were added to Fort Foster, and Fort Dearborn was constructed. The five
remaining Forts are obsolete and today are considered historic sites or parks
which are open to the public. Following World War II the navy took over the army
installations and used Fort Stark in NH primarily for reserve training until the
property was deeded to the state of New Hampshire in 1978 and 1983.
Fast Facts About This Trip:
- Fort Stark is usually not very busy and many people that
visit the park are very friendly. Fort Stark is not your usual
"Hang-Out." So it's a great place to go if you just want peace
and quiet at the ocean.
- Fort Stark has a couple good fishing spots.
- Fort Stark can be dangerous. There are many hazards there.
- The graffiti on the historical buildings!
should respect New Hampshire's history a little more. Please
visit with respect! Police, locals and visitors are on the
lookout for those who damage this historic site. In 2010
Fort Stark was facing possible closure due to vandalism.
Local volunteers teamed up to clean up Fort Stark to
keep it open. Please report any suspicious activity to
Tips to Remember:
- Fort Stark closes at dusk
- No pets allowed
- No trash cans
- Limited parking, best to go on a weekday
to View our Photo
Gallery of Our Fort Stark Trip!