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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 ground).

 

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 Parks Division.

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 after dusk.

Fort Stark Location, Directions and GPS Coordinates:

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.

Click Here 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, Fort Constitution (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:
The Good:
  • 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.
The Bad:
  • Fort Stark can be dangerous. There are many hazards there.
The Ugly:
  • The graffiti on the historical buildings! People 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 local police.
Tips to Remember:
  • Fort Stark closes at dusk
  • No pets allowed
  • No trash cans
  • Limited parking, best to go on a weekday

Click Here to View our Photo Gallery of Our Fort Stark Trip!

 

 

 

 

 

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