Incorporated in 1647, Kittery is Maine's oldest town. Kittery is also the southernmost town in Maine. Travelers headed north often visit this "Gateway to Maine" first. Its outlet stores along US Route 1 are well-known, while its history and character are notable.
Among the early settlers from England were merchants who plied the oceans, fishermen of the bountiful waters, and builders of sturdy wooden naval vessels. The first ship to fly a US flag in battle – USS Ranger – was built here.
In 1800, the first Federal shipyard in the U.S. was established here. Construction of submarines started at the shipyard in World War I. Today, our Navy shipyard continues to play an essential role in maintaining the nation's defenses.
We have created an on-line database of people, places, and events from Kittery history. This "portal" is now available here – for free. You can search the list of people or learn more about using the database. There's also an interactive timeline of Kittery history!
For the Maine bicentennial, we wrote a booklet that reads like a timeline. Its short chapters are each about an era
in the town's history. It includes the story of how Maine became a state in 1820. For an electronic copy of the booklet
– with our compliments...
Open the book on Kittery history here:
Click the photo above to open or download a PDF document.
You will need Adobe Acrobat to read it.
This book, by John Eldridge Frost, is one of the best accounts of early settlement in Kittery. It interprets history through the architecture of colonial buildings, many of which still exist.
It tells the stories of the oldest places and structures in town.
"Colonial Village" was originally published in 1947. For our new version in 2021, we redesigned the book and wrote an appendix, to bring the book up-to-date with changes over the last 74 years.
As with most Society projects, this was a volunteer effort, which produced an attractive and informative book.
Thanks to the Rosamond Thaxter Foundation for supporting this publication.
To ask for assistance from our volunteer staff, please use our handy Request Form.
At the same time, you may want to consider membership in the Kittery Historical and Naval Society.
Members receive a quarterly newsletter, with stories from the Kittery archives. Please help to support and
encourage the study of local history. Click here: to become a member today!