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 is often the first town to be visited by travelers headed north. Although it is 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

In honor of Maine's bicentennial, we created "A Brief History of Kittery" about people, places, and events across time. A printed copy is free for Kittery residents, while supplies last. Look for it at several places around town or visit the Museum during our open hours. For a PDF version...

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.


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.