Hunting for abandoned places in Maine? You’re in the right place. Below are 13 of my favorite abandoned places across the state.
Abandoned Places In Maine
1. Evergreen Ski Resort
Back in the early 60s, developers imagined Evergreen Valley to be a small but bustling ski town with cabins, lifts, and restaurants for the winter season. It would take some time, but by 1970 $4.5 million was spent to transform the 1,050 acres into a ski bum’s dream.
Throughout the 70s Evergreen Valley did well, but ran into problems. Multiple years of little to no snow strained the businesses, and the snow machines that were supposed to work continued to fail to produce enough snow to ski.
By 1975 the resort was in foreclosure. There were minor attempts to breathe life back into the businesses but they ultimately failed.
Today, remnants of the ski lift multiple cabins can be found along the hillside. It’s a unique place to visit and isn’t too isolated from civilization, so I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you’re in the area.
2. Fort Gorges
Fort Gorges was built in the mid-1800s following the war of 1812. The fort was built to support a network of other seaforts to defend the Maine coastline. Unfortunetly by the time the fort was complete the war was already over.
Advancements in explosives made the fort inadequate to serve. There was a plan to modernize the fort but funding ultimately fell through. The fort was last used during World War II to store submarine mines. Its been slowly eroding the harsh winds and salty sea.
Fort Gorges is on a small island, so you’ll need a boat or some swim trunks to reach it. This is personally one of my favorite abandoned places in Maine on the water. Over the years, birds have carried tree seeds to the island where they have sprouted on the roof of the fort and turned it into its own little jungle ecosystem.
If you’re nearby I’d highly suggest checking it out. I find it’s best to photograph with a drone.
3. Battery Steele
Battery Steele was constructed in 1942 in response to coastal threats during World War II. The battery was one of the largest gun batteries in the entire United States. Like many coast forts at the end of World War II the fort was slowly decommissioned and eventually abandoned.
In 1995 the abandoned fort became the property of the Peaks Island Land Preserve, and later in 2005 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Despite years of neglect, the hardy concrete fort has withstood the tests of time. There are numerous tags inside and along the walls but its doesn’t take a whole lot away from the site. If you’re looking for abandoned places in Maine with beachfront access, look no further than Battery Steele.
4. Eagle Lake Locomotives
Just before 1930 ambitious loggers were looking for a way to transport hardy spruce logs across Churchhill and Eagle Lake. Naturally, the railroad was the best option and in a few short years the tracks were laid. With those tracks came two steam-powered locomotives that can still be found there today.
The steam engines would move a dozen or so cars filled with pulpwood from Eagle Lake to Umbazooksus Lake. The trip was efficient, and only took about three hours. This played a massive role in the success of the Great Northern Paper Company which supplied close to 1/5th of the United States paper demands.
Demand for paper would drop sharply during the great depression and by 1933 the pulpwood operations had ceased. After the second world war, many businesses opted to use trucks rather than trains. The old rail line was forgotten and the trains sat idle. Eventually, the old trestle collapsed into Chamberlain Lake.
The old locomotives are the star of the show and make Eagle Lake one of the most unique abandoned places in Maine. I’d highly recommend visiting these trains even if you have to make a road trip out of it.
5. Old Town Civil Defense Bunker
The Old Town bunker was built in 1965 to withstand bombs during enemy invasion. The underground rooms cover roughly 8000 square feet. Unfortunately, due to advancements in weaponry, the bunker was deemed inadequate for modern-day protection.
The bunker is a widely-known local spot and it is worth checking out if you’re in the area. Due to popularity, the doors have been welded shut. Regardless, it’s still a cool place, especially during the fall. Just keep in mind this isn’t the place to visit if you’re chasing abandoned bunkers that are fully accessible.
6. Goddard Mansion
The Goddard Mansion was commissioned by businessman John Goddard around 1858. The lavish fort-like home was quite the spectacle, but just like me, it didn’t last long. In 1898 the house the Army acquired the home for servicemen and their families stationed at Fort Williams.
Sadly, the property cost more to upkeep than originally thought. By 1964 the mansion was in a sad state of disrepair with an estimated $175,000 needed in repairs. By 1980 the Goddard Mansion was decayed beyond repair.
In 1981 the fire department did a controlled burn to remove any dangerous debris. Today the foundation is all that remains of a once-elegant Italianate manor.
The remains were opened to the public, but in 2009 they put a fence for public safety. It’s a cool place to check out if you’re close, the ruins lack any type of interior which is unfortunate.
7. Portsmouth Naval Prison
Dubbed “Alcatraz of the East”, the island site has been in use since 1775 and played defensive roles throughout numerous wars. In 1901 a defensive naval base called Camp Long was being decommissioned. By 1908 the fort had been rebuilt and transformed into a naval prison inspired by the design of Alcatraz.
During WWI the prison held prisoners of war. The prison quickly filled capping out at 2,295 prisoners in 1918. Expansions were added and by 1945 the maximum occupancy was just over 3000.
After WWII, surrendered German U-boars were escorted to Portsmouth so engineers could study their design. This was convenient for interrogators who would pull captured crewmen from their cells if the engineers had questions.
The prison was used throughout the Cold War and up until the early 80s when it was used to train military corrections officers. The property was set to be renovated but lead paint and asbestos removal would cost about $10 million.
The building is in great shape, despite its years of abandonment. It’s a literal fortress, so access isn’t the easiest. The land is on private property with no current plans to release or demolish.
8. Fort Baldwin
Fort Baldwin is another coastal fort built during the American Revolution. It fell out of use after the war and was kept on standby until World War I. During the war, the fort worked in tandem with Fort Popham as a part of the Coast Defences of Portland.
In 1924 the fort was disarmed to reallocate resources to more threatened areas. The fort was reactivated during WWII briefly before being returned to the state in 1949.
Today the fort is easily accessible and open to the public. If you enjoy military history the fort is a great place to explore and enjoy the waterfront. Since the fort has been preserved this is a great legal abandoned place in Maine to explore.
9. East Vassalboro Grist and Saw Mill
Built in the 18th century, the East Vassalboro mill is one of the oldest water-powered mills in the entire state. The mill used to Outlet Steam near China Lake to power its operations. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Today the mill sits quietly along the river abandoned and crumbling with time. It’s a pretty easy place to explore, with the lake adding a nice extra feature for photographers.
10. Moulton Saw Mill
In 1790 someone (presumably Adam) built Adam’s Sawmill right on the waterfront. In 1882 Charles Moulton purchased the mill as an investment where it continued to operate into the 1980s. Eventually, the state made Charles shut down the mill in 1986 due to sawdust pollution along the river.
Feeling defeated, and dealing with mounting maintenance costs, Charles sold the building in 1995 to Anthony Tedeschi who aimed to restore it as a measure. However, with all the rotting wood and decay restoration was deemed too expensive for the project.
Today the mill is a charming little ruin that is slowly collapsing into the pond. Inside are numerous artifacts that are protected by the local property owner. Unfortunately, thieves had stolen some antiques inside so many of the artifacts have been removed.
11. Buckman Tavern
Built by Samuel Buckman in 1776 as a stop along the King’s Highway. It was a good stopping place between Porstmouth and Bangor which made the tavern a popular place for travelers.
Local lore surrounds the tavern with some saying a guest murdered his traveling companion and dropped his severed head from the top floor window. Now every time that window is replaced, it mysteriously breaks.
While it might seem like total fiction, the nearby neighbor’s deed states that two bodies were buried in an old well on their property. The neighbor’s home was once part of the stables that were part of the tavern.
The well has been sealed but is marked with stones. It’s through that is a guest died at the tavern they simply buried them out back.
Buckman Tavern sits in an overgrown lot with not a whole lot to see. It’s a fascinating part of local history but probably not worth your time for a long drive. If you believe in ghosts maybe it’s worth stumbling around at night. With that said, it’s still one of the oldest abandoned places in Maine for you history buffs
12. Milo Textile Company
The town of Milo has a long and well-documented history, but for the sake of this article, we’ll be exploring the Milo Textile Company that still exists today.
The mill was built in 1879 where close to 30 men worked around the clock to make excelsior for furniture and packing goods. During its prime, the mill made nearly 3,000 tons per year and had a weekly payroll of $1000. (Big bucks back in the day.)
The mill is one of the most interesting buildings in Milo and looks much like I’d imagine it would a hundred years ago. Photographers can capture the decaying mill along with the river to get some pretty great shots.
13. Loring Airforce Base
Loring Airforce Base was built in the late 1940s and would quickly become the largest airforce base in the Strategic Air Command. The choice to build the base in Limestone was not random. The town sits at the closest point in the US to Europe, allowing for quick deployment during the Cold War.
The site held nuclear weapons just northeast of the airfield in a secret facility called North River Depot. Today the depot is now part of Aroostook Nation Wildlife Refuge.
During the Cold War, an armed bomber would take off every six-hour to fly a pre-determined test route. If war were to break out, chances are the United States would have had a bomber already in striking range.
In the fall of 1975 near the nuclear storage area, a UFO was spotted hovering at an altitude of 300 feet. The craft didn’t respond to radio and circled the site until disappearing from radar and being spotted numerous times throughout the night east of the base.
This was one of the rare instances where the US government admitted that a nuclear site’s airspace had been penetrated by an unidentified craft.
Loring had a large civilian population with many facilities and amenities, including a ski hill. Service members worked on base, in hospitals, and in schools throughout the community until the base was closed in 1994.
There are numerous buildings around the base and in Loring that are abandoned. The runway has recently been cleared and is used as a small airport. There are tons of old relics to be found around the base inside. Be sure to check out the old nuclear depot just northeast.
Go out and explore!
That concludes our list of abandoned places in Maine, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.