CASTINE, Maine — Thirty years after the end of the American Revolution, British troops landed at Castine and other ports in Maine to lay claim to territory east of the Penobscot River. The eight month occupation of Castine was part of a strategy to expand British Canada during the War of 1812.
The Castine Historical Society’s 2014 seasonal exhibit “Mr. Madison’s War: Castine and the War of 1812” will focus on events surrounding what some historians have called America’s second war for independence. That period featured contentious issues that nearly tore the young nation apart — free trade, states’ rights, a nonexistent navy, border control, and more. In retrospect, it was a period that ultimately strengthened the United States and even led, in part, to Maine statehood.
The British arrival in 1814 resulted in the fortification of Castine where officers and troops took over homes, rebuilt Fort George and required residents to sign an oath of allegiance. “Mr. Madison’s War: Castine and the War of 1812,” opening Tuesday, June 10, will tell the stories of individuals and communities caught in the turmoil on both sides of the War. Present-day visitors can use a walking map of Castine, available at the historical society, and from local merchants and inns, to locate points of interest related to the occupation while exploring this scenic and historic village.
The society’s sixth annual Deborah Pulliam Memorial Lecture also will spotlight the War of 1812. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Maine native Alan Taylor will present a talk, “The Civil War of 1812,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5, at Delano Auditorium on the Maine Maritime Academy campus.
The Castine Historical Society is located in the Abbott School on the Town Common. Open for research year-round, during summer and early fall the society presents seasonal and permanent exhibits as well as periodic lectures and other events. Most events and all exhibits are free and open to the public.
For information on the society, including up-to-date schedules of events and exhibit hours, visit castinehistoricalsociety.org or call 326-4118.