House in Calais?
Please contact Harold if you have any information about the Powder House.
Harold E. Nelson
14 Hill Avenue,
Newport, ME 04953
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Below are Christi Mitchell's
suggestions and what she found out about gun or powder houses. A Coast Survey record I have clearly states the
magnetic observations were taken 400 feet south of the observatory, which
would put it in the vicinity of the northwest corner of the shopping center
behind the houses on Lincoln Street. Might pay to pace off 400 feet to
see if there are any remnants of stone, when the snow melts. Also made
an inquiry with Halifax.. thinking maybe it was a British powder house???
But maybe the British didn't get up that far. Below, also is a photo of the Powder House at Fort
Sullivan, from the book "Coastal Fort". The Powder house in
Wiscasset is very neatly built, every stone in place, perhaps Calais Powder
House might have looked like Fort Sullivan's.
"In my research file on Powder Houses and the like, I have a list of 'Resolves' that I believe to be Resolves of the Maine State Legislature (although the typewritten list does not provide any more details on exactly which type of resolves!). According to these notes, on Mary 9, 1832 there was a "Resolve for erection of Gun Houses in Eastport and Calais $200 each", and on March 29, 1837, "Resolve to sell Gun Houses in East Machias and Calais and trade lots if possible in each case," and on March 22, 1828, another '"Resolve for erection of Gun House in Calais - $200" On March 24, 1843 there was another action, "Resolve for repairs to Gun House in Calais - $75", and another $100 appropriated for the same On March 21, 1844. According to another note, "The term 'Gun House' appears to refer to buildings used to store artillery pieces and accessories and not small arms. See Chapter CCCLXV "An Act respecting Gun Houses, dated February 23, 1827.
I would try and find out where the records of the local militia are now stored...if they exist. The militia was usually involved with erecting and training at the gun houses. Also, try looking at the earliest Sanborn Fire Insurance maps for Calais (could be in the 1870s) and see if they indicate the location of the gun house. (The maps should show it if it was still full of powder!). Also, when did the earliest Washington County Maps/Atlases come out? They may also indicate the location of the gun house."
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