After 112 years of sitting idle, the huge brick oven at Fort Knox State Historic Site will be fired up later this month in anticipation of a major historic reenactment in July.

The public is invited to see the giant oven in use on Father’s Day and enjoy samples of baked goods made in the 150-year-old oven in exchange for a donation. The oven-firing is being done in conjunction with the upcoming “Battle of Fort Knox” reenactment in July.

The firing of the oven will take place Sunday, June 20, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Fort Knox Historic Site in Prospect. Admission to the site is free as part of the annual Maine Day event.

Located at the Penobscot River Narrows, Fort Knox, Maine’s largest historic fort, features stunning military architecture and master granite craftsmanship. Constructed between 1844 and 1869 by master craftsmen and never fully completed, this is an unaltered example of a large mid-19th-century granite coastal fortification. It is also New England’s finest unmodified specimen of military architecture of the period.

Although it never saw combat, Fort Knox was garrisoned during the Civil and Spanish American Wars. It is one of Maine’s most popular historic sites and is used for numerous popular events, including Civil War reenactments.

On July 23-25, Fort Knox will be the host of a major Civil War encampment and living history event, involving living-history participants and re-enactors from all over New England, as well as a naval battle. “The Battle at Fort Knox” is co-hosted by the 20th Maine, Co. B and 15th Alabama, Co. G, Civil War Living History groups, with support from the Friends of Fort Knox and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. More than 200 participants, including re-enactors and living historians from as far away as Florida and Michigan, are expected to participate in demonstrations and reenactments.

In anticipation of the July event, organizers last month fired up the huge bakery oven at the fort for the first time in 112 years. It took two days of a constant, slow fire to get the oven completely operational, according to the event organizer, a Civil War living historian who uses the professional name “Miss Rose.”

“It was an overwhelming historic experience being allowed to set this up,” Miss Rose said. “It allows us to bring that part of history back to the state of Maine and allow its citizens to experience something the general public has never experienced.”

The huge oven first was fired up the weekend of May 15-16, she said. After four hours of a smoke-filled bakery, the chimney finally warmed to give it enough draft and the smoke cleared. After 48 hours, the oven reached 200 degrees Fahrenheit. After another day, it fluctuated between 250 and 300 degrees. It wasn’t until late in the third day that it settled in to a constant 300 degrees, Miss Rose said.

“I stopped feeding it, and on Tuesday afternoon, although the coals were gone, the oven was still toasty, so that the school groups could feel the brick and be a part of history as the first cook fire in nearly 112 years was fading,” she later wrote in an online blog.

The first foods to come out of the oven were biscuits, apple tarts and cinnamon rolls. Miss Rose also made a symbolic meal of barbecued pork, representing the 15th Alabama and the South, and baked potatoes, representing the 20th Maine and the North, as a supper for some re-enactors from the 20th Maine Co. B. A pineapple cake also was baked in the oven, Miss Rose said.

Proceeds from the June 20 oven firing will go to support the Battle at Fort Knox in July, which is being celebrated in conjunction with The Bucksport Bay Festival. For more information on the festival, go to:

For further information, contact organizers at or 370-2235.

Fort Knox is owned and operated by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. For more information on this or other state parks during its 75th anniversary year, go to: