In 1863, during the American Civil War, Fort Machias was built adjacent to the ruins of Fort O'Brien. It was a five-gun earthworks fort with Napoleon 12-pound cannon. It was actively manned from 1863 to 1865. In 1923, the U.S. government transferred the sites of both forts to the state of Maine. As of 2006, they are managed as a historic site by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. In 1969, they were added to the National Register of Historic Places, as structure #69000024.
The town is crossed by state routes 92 and 191. It borders the towns of East Machias to the north, Whiting to the northeast, Machias to the west, and (separated by water) is near Cutler to the east, and Roque Bluffs to the southwest.
There were 413 households out of which 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.4% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.0% were non-families. 22.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.88.
In the town the population was spread out with 20.9% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 32.1% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 125.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 134.2 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $29,531, and the median income for a family was $32,279. Males had a median income of $29,643 versus $20,500 for females. The per capita income for the town was $13,727. About 11.8% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.9% of those under age 18 and 15.3% of those age 65 or over.