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  "FORT CONSTITUTION" (NEW HAMPSHIRE): PAINTED SIGN BOARD WITH GREAT GOLOR, GRAPHICS THAT INCLUDE AN ELEGANT SPREAD-WINGED EAGLE, AND EXCELLENT CRAQUELURE SURFACE, 1920-40
Dimensions (inches): 39.75" tall x 27.5" wide x 1" deep
Description:
"FORT CONSTITUTION" (NEW HAMPSHIRE): PAINTED SIGN BOARD WITH GREAT GOLOR, GRAPHICS THAT INCLUDE AN ELEGANT SPREAD-WINGED EAGLE, AND EXCELLENT CRAQUELURE SURFACE, 1920-40:

Wooden sign made of three planks of softwood with a softwood molded frame, painted scarlet red, with white lettering that reads: "Fort Constitution Straight Ahead." A spread-winged eagle with particularly nice graphics is nestled under the word "Constitution," which is arched in a "D" shaped serpentine style. The style of the eagle bears both late Art Nouveau and Art Deco elements, with its sculpted arches and plumage and angular federal shield. Probably made during the 1920-40 period, the varnished paint surface has wonderful patina that has an alligatorted texture from extensive craquelure and is especially attractive.

Originally called Fort William & Mary, Fort Constitution is a 17th century garrison, manned by the British sometime prior to 1632 as part of its worldwide system of defenses. Located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on new Castle Island, it has been home to a lighthouse since 1771. In 1774 it was the only manned fort in the state. In December of that year it was raided by local patriots to seize both gunpowder and cannons as tensions grew with Great Britain. This occurred in response to something called the "Powder Alarm," which was fueled as anger grew about the Intolerable Acts, passed during the first half of the year by British Parliament to punish the colony of Massachusetts in response to the 1773 Boston Tea Party. Actions on both sides to control weaponry, gunpowder, and other military supplies became more and more contentious as war became ever more of a certainty.

On December 14th, only one British officer and five men were stationed at Ft. William & Mary. They would not surrender despite being greatly outnumbered. Colonists overtook them, absconded with more than 100 barrels of gunpowder, and hauled down the huge British flag. The next day reinforcements came, along with other rebel soldiers from Maine, and the fort was overrun again. Supplies, muskets, and 16 of the King's cannon were removed. No deaths occurred on either occasion.

British ships were sent to keep peace. In 1775 the Governor of New Hampshire fled to the fort with his family and later that year the state was abandoned all-together, released from British control.

Following the Revolutionary War, in 1791, the state of New Hampshire gave the land that Ft. William & Mary stood upon, called Fort Point, to the Federal government, which established the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard further upriver and rebuilt the garrison, renaming it Fort Constitution. This was one of 7 fortifications built to protect the harbor between colonial times and WWII, the last of which was Ft. Dearborn.

In 1961 the land was given back to the state and Fort Constitution State Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Condition: Braces on the back are absent. Some in-service retouch, expected wear and scuffing.
   
Primary Color: red, white
Earliest Date: 1920
Latest Date: 1940
For Sale Status: Sold
Price SOLD
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