Ft. Sumner Park Site of Sumner Concert Series; Begins 7/11

A Queen Anne style band stand at Ft. Sumner Park, North Street, preceded the band stand built at Ft. Allen Park, on the Eastern Promenade. (Photo courtesy of Ken Thompson)

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,464)

The historic Ft. Sumner Park on North Street is the site of this year’s Summer Concert Season.  It starts tomorrow Thursday, July 11 at 7 pm and runs until 8:15 pm.  Usuallly, the concerts are held at the Ft. Allen Park on the Eastern Promenade.  However, because of restoration work being done in that area, the concerts have been moved to another part of Munjoy Hill.  The concerts run at Ft. Sumner Park every Thursday until the end of August.

The first musical group to perform at Ft. Sumner Park is the Acadian Aces. The Aces promises to keep the ‘cajun flame alive in old Acadie with an energetic brand of raw, rootsy ‘cajun music.  The vocal power of guitarist Robert Sylvain and charismatic fiddler Hawk Kallweit supplies a one-two punch that’s instantly compelling and distinctive, according to a press release issued earlier today.   The concert is sponsored by Bayside Bowl.

Ft. Sumner was erected in 1794 on the highest point on the Hill.  It was authorized by President Washington as the possibility of war became a possibiity for the US.  The main building, built where Shailor School stood, was a brick blockhouse intended to be the last defense for fifty men, according to local historian Ken Thompson.   It was named for the Governor of Massachusetts.  Ft. Sumner was never used in battle and was eventually dismantled  between 1815 and 1817.  The brick and stone of which it had been made were used for the construction of two other forts in the area – Preble and Scammell.   In 1827, John Neal established  one of the first gymnasiums in New England at the former grounds of  Ft. Sumner.  Eventually, in the late 1870′s  Shailor School was built on part of the old Ft., according to Ken Thompson.  More recently, Avesta Housing converted it into housing.