French traders and Plymouth colonists vied for control of this seemingly out-of-the-way place as early as the 1620s.
Fort Pentagoet was constructed by the French in 1635 on the site of an even earlier Plymouth Colony trading post. As France’s most southern fortification in Acadia in modern-day Maine and Canada, the fort served as both a military outpost and a trading center for the French and the Wabanaki Native Americans.
Fort Pentagoet protected Castine’s deep natural harbor and the mouth of the Penobscot River, a waterway that leads to the North American interior. Ownership of the fort changed hands between the French and English multiple times before Dutch raiders destroyed it in 1674. Even after the fort was in ruins, European nations continued to fight for more than a century over this strategic location with access to lumber and fur.
A team of archaeologists excavated the site of the fort in the 1980s. The fort was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. The remains of Fort Pentagoet lie beneath the land next to Our Lady of Holy Hope Catholic Church. The Town’s historic sign at this site is one of many created by the historical committee of Castine’s Village Improvement Society in the early 20th century.