THOMASTON – A University of Maine professor has obtained a state grant to study Fort St. George near the entrance to Thomaston Harbor to determine the site’s historical and archaeological significance.
A $7,500 grant from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission will be matched by the university and will pay for accommodations for the professor and his crew of six or seven people, said Alaric Faulkner, historical archaeologist for the university’s anthropology department, on Tuesday.
The Fort St. George Preservation Committee, a local group appointed by selectmen to investigate purchasing the land, wants to preserve the waterfront property, but so far has turned up no funding options.
The 2-acre parcel, which is owned by Gail Smith of Ashby, Mass., still is on the market for $385,000, SoundVest Properties owner Doug Erickson confirmed Tuesday. The owner has given permission for the land study, Faulkner said.
The committee wants to preserve the property for its historical and archaeological value for educational purposes. Fort St. George is the first of the English resettlements in the area that was formerly called Acadia, Faulkner said.
Established in 1720, the shorefront site is believed to be where explorer Capt. George Weymouth landed in 1605. Fort St. George was the nucleus of the settlement for the whole region, Faulkner said, making it “so important” historically.
Faulkner said he has seen “surface indications” of the settlement while walking the site.
In July, Faulkner and his crew will use ground-penetrating radar to find the footings of the foundation of the fort blockhouse and what remains of a well.
To help identify the location of the fort’s remains, Faulkner enlarged a map of the fort to the same scale as a land survey and “it fit like a glove,” he said.
At the end of the dig, there will be an open house to discuss the findings, he said.
Committee Chairwoman Cyrille White of Thomaston is hoping, too, that the unearthing of some historical artifacts could spark outside interest to preserve the land.
“What we’re looking for is funding,” she said.