In 1999, Cape Elizabeth celebrated the 100th anniversary of Fort Williams.

This website was devoted to those 100 years, and the celebration activities that took place.

This archived section is provided for historical interest.

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Town of Cape Elizabeth

Fort Williams Centennial

National Guard Camp at Fort Williams (photo courtesy Joel Eastman)


On April 13, 1899, the battery at Portland Head was named Fort Williams, in honor of the late Major-General Seth Williams. After a proud history of providing harbor defenses, staging for military deployments and finally becoming the only remaining Army post in Maine, Fort Williams was decommissioned and sold to Cape Elizabeth in 1964. The legacy of Fort Williams Park is unmatched for its beauty and breathtaking views of the ocean and Portland harbor. It is the home of Portland Headlight, the most photographed light house in the country. Still known affectionately as "the Fort," the park is now enjoyed by countless people in our Town and by tourists from all around the world each year.

To celebrate this Centennial, a series of events will span the summer months of 1999, starting with a "kickoff" on April 13 -- with legislators and other officials -- to recognize the contributions of Fort Williams and those who served there and to officially kick off the Celebration.

In addition to regularly scheduled events at the Fort -- the Portland Symphony Orchestra concert on June 30, British Auto Show, Cape High School graduation, Family Fun Day, the Beach-to-Beacon 10K race, the Engine 1 Art Show, and other activities -- there will be four Sunday afternoon concerts in the bandstand and Cape's traditional Memorial Day Parade will end at the Fort in 1999. An old-fashioned ice cream social will be held at each event to capture the spirit of the Fort's long history.

The culmination of official activities will be a FREE-ADMISSION Celebration Day on July 24. This will be a full day of family fun, fireworks, a parade, historic re-enactments, entertainment, music and military bands, period costumes, walking tours, food (well, ok, there will be a cost for food), activities for children, an ice cream social, and many other activities including the dedication of a permanent memorial.

Come to Fort Williams. Enjoy this magnificent and historic site with us! And be sure to mark your calendars for July 24th.