KHNM sign

– History –

Incorporated in 1647, Kittery is Maine's oldest town. Among the early settlers from England were merchants who plied the oceans, fishermen of the bountiful waters, and builders of sturdy wooden naval vessels.

Kittery was known for its shipbuilding during Colonial days. The first ship to fly a US flag in battle – USS Ranger – was built here. In 1800, the first Federal shipyard in the United States was established here. Construction of submarines started here during World War I. Today, our navy shipyard continues to play a pivotal role in maintaining the nation's defenses.


The Gateway to Maine

Kittery is the southernmost town in Maine, so it's often the first town to be visited by travelers headed north. Although known for its outlet stores, Kittery has an abundance of history and character.

This year, in 2020, we are observing the bicentennial of Maine statehood. Two years from now, in 2022, we will celebrate the 375th anniversary of Kittery's incorporation as a town.

Maine 200 Kittery 375

Bicentennial booklet

In honor of Maine's bicentennial, we created "A Brief History of Kittery" about people, places, and events. This booklet includes the story of how Maine became a state in 1820. The booklet is like a timeline, with two-page chapters, each about an era in the town's history. While the Kittery Museum and several town buildings are closed, the booklet is available in electronic (PDF) form.

Open the book on Kittery history – with our compliments – here:

Kittery History

Click the photo above to open or download a PDF document.
You will need a suitable device and Adobe Acrobat to read it.


Like the booklet? This is your invitation to join our Society. Members receive a quarterly newsletter, as well as a printed copy of the booklet. Please help to promote and encourage the study of Kittery history. Click here to become a member today!


Remembering our Veterans

Kittery has memorials to the veterans of several conflicts. Two monuments are noteworthy:

In addition, we have compiled the names listed on the following memorials:

These lists may be less readable on smaller devices. For more information, contact the Museum.