Genealogy, local history and historical research in New England and other interesting places. Nutfield was the former land grant ................................. that is now the towns of Londonderry, Derry and Windham, New Hampshire.
For instance, how many kids grew up on a peninsula 1.6 miles
square, with 7 miles of beaches, a view of the inner harbor and Boston skyline
on one side and nothing but ocean and islands in any other direction? For that matter, how many kids grew up in a
town with two (2) forts and a third one near by on Deer Island? Yes, that would
be as in military forts and not just historical ones, but actively occupied and
maintained forts. It wasn’t unusual to see jeeps and Army trucks on the streets
near the biggest fort, Fort Banks. It was usual to spend a day at the beach and
see the Shore Patrol making their daily rounds. The Army was a definite
presence in our town.
Fort Banks started out as a Mortar Battery, originally built
in 1892. It was named for the Civil War general and congressman, Nathaniel P.
Banks. It originally had four pits with four, twelve inch diameter mortars
each. These mortars were capable of sending an 800 pound shell, nine miles out
to sea. This installation was meant to guard and protect Boston Harbor as part
of the Harbor Defense. Later, anti-aircraft guns were added and Fort Banks
became the base for the Army’s 9th Artillery Regiment. In
preparation for WWII, by the end of June 1941, there 58 Officers, 18 NCO’s and
892 enlisted men stationed at Fort Banks. As we headed into the Korean War,
Nike Anti-Aircraft Rockets were on the site.
The fort now served as part of the early warning system for all of New
England. There was also a 250 bed hospital, barracks and officers housing. Today,
only one pit and two underground bunkers remain of the original installation,
which were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. In the
40’s and 50’s military personnel had life pretty easy. Fort Banks became know
as The Country Club, while Revere Beach Amusement Park and the hot spots in
Boston provided plenty of entertainment.
What once was an important defense installation bustling
with military personnel and activity, became inactive September 30,1966. It has
become a multi-use area, today, with a school, playground, condominiums, apartment
buildings and a cemetery.
I have access to the census records of Fort Banks from 1910
– 1940 and will do look-ups. Please use email@example.com
to request additional info or look-ups.
The other two forts, Fort Dawes and Fort Heath will be the
subjects of future blogs.