Winter Speaker Series

2023-2024 Zoom Speaker Series

Fort Western on the Kennebec: 1628-1919

Linda Novak, Director, Old Fort Western

Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at 7:00 pm

See Video Below

Linda Novak

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s (FOMB) final presentation of their 27th annual Winter Speaker Series: Fort Western on the Kennebec, 1628-1919 features Linda Novak, Director of Old Fort Western. Winter Speaker Series presentations are held via Zoom and are accessible via hyperlink at the top of the FOMB web page: This event takes place Wednesday, May 8th at 7 pm.

Fort Western near the bank of the Kennebec River in Augusta is best known as a military installation during the French and Indian War. Still, its history is much more expansive and it played a significant role in Maine during the 17th and 18th Centuries and then locally until the 20th century. Learn how the 1628 Trading Post at Cushnoc and the Plimouth Patent evolved into the Kennebec Proprietors and how the Kennebec Proprietors proposition Massachusetts Governor William Shirley to build the Fort in 1754. Learn how, after Captain Howard bought the Fort, his sons Samuel and William repurposed it into a home and store. It remained the home where Captain Howard's descendants resided until the 1850s before they sold it to the Sprague Company for use as a tenement. Finally, find out how the Fort was taken through eminent domain by the City of Augusta and given to Guy P. and William H. Gannett, who renovated the garrison before giving it back to the City of Augusta to open as a museum on July 4th, 1922.

Linda Novak is the Director of Old Fort Western. She is a graduate of the University of Maine with a BA in Anthropology. One of her earliest excavations was Fort Western in 1983 before she headed south to the College of William & Mary in VA where she earned a MA in Anthropology Specializing in Historic Archaeology. She spent eleven years in Virginia and worked for the James River Institute of Archaeology, supervising the re-cataloging of the Jamestown Ceramics, and the Collections in Yorktown including the Poor Potter Kiln Site, Yorktown Battlefield, Nelson, Smith and Ballard Houses and the Great Valley Road Archaeological Collections. Linda then joined Colonial Williamsburg as Assistant Conservator and then Assistant Curator of Archaeology before moving back to Maine. In 2010 she came full circle when she was hired as Director and Curator of Old Fort Western.

FOMB hosts their Winter Speaker Series October-May, on the second Wednesday of each month. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic and ability for participants to attend from out of the area, the series continues via Zoom. Coming up this summer is the FOMB Summer Outside Series open to all. Keep an eye out for the schedule.

Speaker Series presentations and summer outings are free, open to the public. Visit to see speaker biographies, full event schedules, video recordings of past presentations, become a member, and learn more about how you can help protect beautiful Merrymeeting Bay and the Gulf of Maine.

For more information contact FOMB at 207-666-3372 or

Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler