Stephen King’s Maine Home to Become Museum and Writers Retreat

Some houses are scary because terrible things happened there. Within those walls, lost souls were tortured or met their end. Other homes terrify because demons and ghosts are thought to roam their halls, as the long-dead spirits of the damned are fated to reside there, torturing new tenants as they pass through. For some, it’s merely a matter of location, having been built in isolated, dark places, or upon land that has been soiled and cursed. But one building can rightfully claim all of those nightmares, because it was where countless horrors came to life before they became a part of our own— Stephen King‘s house in Bangor, Maine, the city that inspired It‘s fictional town of Derry. And soon you’ll not only be able to visit it yourself, you might even be able to live there and craft your own tales of terror, because it’s being transformed into a museum and writer’s retreat.

Stephen and Tabitha King asked the Bangor City Council (in a story we first learned about at Rolling Stone) to rezone their Maine mansion into a non-profit building that will double as both an archive and museum of King’s work as well as a place where writers can come and live. It passed unanimously.

Weary of turning the home into Maine’s very own Graceland and disrupting the lives of their neighbors, guests will only be able visit by appointment in an effort to limit the number of people who pass through. It will also house up to five writers at a time. (Which, as a writer myself, I can honestly say sounds like a pretty good premise for a horror story).

Located at 47 West Broadway, the two-story Victorian red building with two asymmetrical turrets, white trim, and a wide porch with columns looks totally normal… until you remember Stephen King lived there. When you think about the countless stories it oversaw the creation of it starts to feel more sinister. How many creepy fictional homes that he wrote about in his books did it inspire? Is it painted red or was it stained by blood? And are we sure there isn’t a pet semetary nearby?

The mansion’s protective black gate adorned with bats certainly doesn’t make it look any less scary. But none of that prevent lots of people from visiting it already.

As for Bangor itself, which King first moved to with his wife and family in 1979, King wrote in a 1983 essay for the city that the town was the basis for the fictional city of Derry, Maine, the city terrorized by Pennywise the Clown in his iconic book It. In the essay, he explains why his story couldn’t have been based on any other place.
“The real answer is that no, not any small American city would have done. Portland certainly wouldn’t have done. And no, I don’t know why. Maybe the book itself will answer the question (but if it does, I suspect the answer will lie in the narrow white spaces between the lines). If there really is such a thing as a “novelist’s perspective” (or, more properly, a “Steve King novelist’s perspective,” because I suppose each novelist must have a different way of looking at things), then it is a matter of heart and instinct. There’s a voice that says: ‘Here. Yeah. Right here. Dig in, Sonny. You’re home.’ And if you try to ask any further questions, the answer you’re apt to get is, ‘Shut up, dummy, I’m writing a book down here, do you mind?'”

Could he have written it in any other home though, or were those walls just as important to bringing Pennywise and Derry to life?

Are you too afraid to visit and find out?

Featured Image: Mobile Instinct 2/YouTube

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