Fort Sewall

Fort Sewall was first established in 1644 as a defensive breastwork on Gale’s Head, one of this area’s rocky headlands. The fort was enlarged in 1742 for defense against the French, and further construction including a magazine and barracks occurred in 1794 and, again, at the time of the Civil War. A company mustered at the fort during the War of 1812, and in 1814 the fort was named in honor of Judge Samuel Sewall, a town benefactor during and after the Revolution, who later became a Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court. The Fort’s greatest moment in history was on Sunday, April 3, 1814 when the U.S. Navy’s Constitution, being chased by two British frigates, escaped into Marblehead Harbor under the protection of the fort’s guns. The “Fort” which was deeded to the Town by the Federal Government in 1922, still contains bunkers and underground rooms once used to detain prisoners. Today, the headland, which is open to public as community parkland, provides spectacular views of Marblehead harbor, Cape Ann, off-shore islands, and the Atlantic. Revolutionary War re-enactment encampments by members of the modern-day Glover’s Marblehead Regiment occur at the fort annually, and public programs are presented.


188 Washington Street Marblehead, MA 1945

Driving Directions

I-95 to Rte-128N, Exit 25A. Follow Rte-114 East through Salem to Marblehead; Rte-114 becomes Pleasant St. At the High School, veer left onto Pleasant St. and follow to the end. Turn left onto Washington St. to end, then right onto Franklin St. to end, then left onto Front St. Park on any streets or in small lot at end of Front St.

Notes & Advisories

Fort Sewall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975


  • Historic Resources
  • Natural Resources
  • Parks


  • Appropriate for all ages
  • Parking Available