BLAINE HOUSE (Governor’s Mansion)
The Blaine House, located on the corner of State and Capitol streets, was built in the Federalist style in 1833. In 1872, the motif was changed to Victorian & Italian style, and in 1919, noted Maine architect, John Calvin Stevens, remodeled the mansion to a semi-Colonial structure. A gift to the state from Mrs. Harriet Blaine Beal, the house has been the official residence of Maine governors since 1919. The Blaine House is open to the public for tours Tuesday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Phone: (207) 624-7500
CHILDREN’S DISCOVERY MUSEUM
This exciting Discovery Museum offers a hands-on opportunity for youngsters through grade five to have fun while learning in an interactive environment. A host of exciting exhibits include a restaurant, grocery store and bank, theater and a rainforest/toddler play area. Kids can also learn about engineering, construction and transportation. The museum provides wonderful opportunities for creative family fun and is located at Shaw’s Plaza near Capitol Street. Closed Mondays. Phone: (207) 622-2209
This cemetery is one of the oldest burial grounds in Augusta. Located on the old "Vassalboro Coach Road" (now Hospital Street), the cemetery contains several interesting slate headstones of the late 18th century and early 19th century. Many are carved in traditional manner incorporating the willow, angel and death signs, as well as several interesting epitaphs.
OLD FORT WESTERN – 1754
A 258-year-old treasure! Old Fort Western was built in 1754 by the Proprietors of the Kennebec Purchase and is now a designated national historic landmark. It is the nation’s oldest-surviving wooden fort. Located on Cony Street on the banks of the Kennebec River, the fort complex includes the original main house (barrack and store) and reproduction blockhouses, watchboxes and palisade. The fort portrays military, settlement, family, work and community themes. Guided tours offer visitors an opportunity to step back into the past. For information on admission and group discounts, call (207) 626-2385.
KLAHR Holocaust Center
The Michael Klahr Holocaust Education Resource Center, built with the help of the Holocaust Human Rights Center of Maine – and a generous donation by Michael Klahr who survived the holocaust as a child – houses artifacts and information from Maine residents who survived or helped to liberate the concentration camps of World War II. In the new center, attached to the University of Maine at Augusta’s Katz Library, researchers find a rich archive of reference material. Klahr Center seminars and symposiums focus on the topics of diversity, medical ethics and the Holocaust.
KENNEBEC COUNTY COURTHOUSE
The Kennebec County Courthouse, located at the intersection of State and Winthrop streets, was built in 1830. This granite building is a clear example of the Greek revival style of construction. From 1830 to 1969, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court held sessions in the courthouse, and the room where they met still contains the original chairs and desks. The court is beginning a $50 million addition in 2012. The Kennebec County Courthouse is listed in the National Registry of Historic Buildings.
MAINE STATE MUSEUM
Experience Maine’s past by visiting the Maine State Museum, one of the finest state museums in the U.S. The museum presents exhibits of Maine’s natural environment, social history and manufacturing heritage. Located in the State Capitol Complex, the museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 9 to 5; Saturday 10 to 4 and is closed Sundays, Mondays and all state holidays. Phone: (207) 287-2301
MAINE VETERANS MEMORIAL CEMETERIES
This sprawling hillside cemetery and nearby expanded pastoral cemetery are the final resting places for thousands of Maine citizens who served their country in time of war. On the outskirts of Augusta, the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemeteries are designed with walls of names and offer a somber reminder of those who have served our country.
MAINE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL
The Maine Vietnam Veterans Memorial, located in Capitol Park, honors those who served in Vietnam and those whose lives were touched by the war. The memorial is represented by three triangular structures. One can walk through this “statue in reverse” memorial, incorporating the viewer as an integral part of the design.
LAW ENFORCEMENT & FIRE FIGHTER MEMORIALS
These special memorials, near the State House, give constant statewide tribute to law enforcement officials and fire fighters who have given their lives in the line of duty.
Prior to 1879, this park was known as the Augusta Mall and was the mustering point for the Kennebec Valley Civil War troops. Following that war, the westside rotary site was conveyed to the city of Augusta in trust for a Civil War monument. Since that time, war memorials have been added for World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq.
RIVER RAIL TRAIL TOPS MANY BIKE, HIKE AND NORDIC TRAILS
The Kennebec River Rail Trail offers miles of scenic river views for walkers and bikers. The recently finished trail stretches seven miles from Augusta through Hallowell, and Farmingdale to Gardiner.
The University of Maine at Augusta maintains hiking and running trails for all levels, and the Greenway in Augusta is a shorter, pleasant river walk. Viles Arboretum also offers beautiful wooded trails for nature lovers.
A world-class Nordic ski trail system has been recently established on a large tract of city property near the Augusta State Airport.
GOVERNOR HILL MANSION
The Governor Hill Mansion was originally designed by John Calvin Stevens for Governor John Fremont Hill. This building incorporates the use of Maine granite and St. Louis brick in its construction. It is the last remaining of the imposing estates of Augusta built during the late 1890s and early 1900s, and recently has been converted to conference facilities.
Phone: (207) 622-6235
The former Pine Tree State Arboretum, a 225-acre tract of land where trees, shrubs and plants are cultivated for educational, recreational and scientific purposes, was recently renamed Viles Arboretum in honor of Augusta philanthropist Elsie Viles. Recreational opportunities include bird watching, picnicking, hiking, biking and cross-country skiing. The arboretum, located at Hospital Street and Piggery Road, offers a fine view of the Kennebec Valley with a visitors’ center open to the public. Phone: (207) 621-0031
SAMANTHA SMITH MEMORIAL
In 1982, Samantha Smith, a 10-year-old child from Manchester, Maine, wrote to congratulate Yuri Andropov on his appointment as Soviet Premier. In her letter, Samantha confided her fears of nuclear war and the tense relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. Later, Premier Andropov invited Samantha and her family to visit the Soviet Union, experience its culture and meet Soviet children. Tragically, Samantha’s voice was silenced in a 1985 plane crash, but her legacy remains a major step in the successful peace efforts between the two super powers. The statue is next to the Maine State Museum.
At age 11, Vicki Van Meter, a Pennsylvanian, became an “adopted daughter” of Augusta when she piloted her plane solo from Augusta State Airport to San Diego, California, setting a record and becoming an international media star, NASA spokesperson and inspiration to youth. She also flew from Augusta in her cross-Atlantic record flight at age 12 in 1994. After her untimely death in 2008, Vicki’s family erected a statue at the airport to commemorate her love for Augusta and to help inspire others to “follow their dreams.”
MAINE STATE HOUSE
Noted Boston architect Charles Bulfinch designed the original Maine Capitol, built in 1829 using granite quarried from nearby Hallowell. In 1910, another Boston architect, C. Henri Desmond, enlarged the building to double its original size. It is truly one of Maine’s architectural treasures and recently underwent a $50 million renovation. The dome rises 185 feet. The Capitol Building houses both Executive and Legislative branches. Tours are available weekdays only, year-round and scheduled by calling the Maine State Museum. Phone: (207) 287-2301
THE MAINE SHAKESPEAREAN THEATER AT MONMOUTH
The Shakespearean Theater of Maine is a regional treasure that attracts Mainers and summer visitors from around the world to high-quality performances of Shakespeare and others. Since 1970, The Theater at Monmouth has presented professional productions of the world’s greatest plays in rotating repertory in the beautifully restored 100-year-old Cumston Hall (www.theateratmonmouth.org).