|Diamond Cove was built at the turn of the century as a military stronghold, then called Fort McKinley. It served as coastal headquarters for the defense of Portland Harbor from the time of the Spanish-American War through the end of World War II. During that period, up to 1,000 soldiers at a time lived in brick barracks and Queen Anne-style officers’ quarters surrounding the spacious parade ground. Their mission was to prevent enemy vessels from penetrating Portland’s deep-water and ice-free harbor, which was closer to Europe than any other east coast port, and critical to the country’s coastal defense. With the advent of new military methods, however, especially air power, such coastal fortifications eventually became obsolete. Fort McKinley was retired from active service in 1945, and stood vacant for over 40 years.|
Today, Diamond Cove has been restored to its former elegance. Up on the hill, officers’ row and the sergeants’ quarters have been renovated. The barracks are again residential, but each houses eight family homes rather than 100 men. The pump house, the schoolhouse, the bakery, the jail and the firebarn have all been restored, but converted to attractive homes. The quartermaster’s storage buildings, located at the water’s edge, have become a wonderful restaurant and gracious homes. Fort McKinley, which must once have been a coveted assignment for a soldier, is now Diamond Cove: a unique family-oriented residential community.
Fort McKinley Museum, in the former wagon shed, displays relics of the fort’s past.
Guided historical tours are offered daily, by appointment.
Diamond Cove is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.