Maine March 15, 2017
We Dare You To Take This Road Trip To Maine ‘s Most Abandoned Places
Our road trips have taken you from Maine’s gorgeous
waterfalls to impressive lighthouses and everywhere in between. But, Maine’s rich history means we have quite a few interesting abandoned places to visit. They might not represent the typical and expected beauty of the state, but they’re lovely and important in their own way. Hop into the car and head to these interesting spots to learn a little bit more about the state we all love. Click here for the completely driveable Google Map directions.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. The Back Cove Swing Bridge in Portland.
You'll start your journey in Portland, just next to the B&M Baked Bean Factory. Here sits an abandoned bridge, permanently left in the open position. For over 100 years, this bridge allowed ships to access the area. However, in 1984, the bridge fell victim to arson and was greatly damaged. The damage was so significant that the Grand Truck railroad felt it wasn't worth investing in repairs. This was a result of the high cost, but also a result of the change in usage. Passenger service ceased in the 1960s and with the popularity of trucking services, freight services using the tracks had significantly decreased. Today, you can access the nearby old tracks by parking and walking from the Eastern Prom.
2. The old abandoned bunkers of Battery Steel on Peaks Island.
Battery Steele is a military fort located on the oceanside area of Peaks Island in Casco Bay. The Fort was built in 1942 as part of efforts to support World War II. The military site is a mix of two worlds. From the outside, the area appears to be completely left to nature. Overgrown trees and branches crowd what appears to be a crumbling facade. However, the real magic of Battery Steele lies underground. The bulk of the fort is made up of an underground area. These tunnels have been overtaken by artists and the mark of local Maine residents and friends covers the walls. You can access the area by hopping on the ferry to Peaks Island from Portland.
3. The beautiful, but empty town of Swan Island.
Swan Island, previously known as Perkins, is located in the Kennebec River. Some say the island was abandoned as a result of pollution in the river. The businesses located on the island were forced to shut, causing the families to move elsewhere. The more official story says that the state of Maine began acquiring bits of the land over time. The ghost island still has five standing homes - each dating back to the 1700s. You can visit the island by parking across the river and kayaking over. It's open daily from May 1- through the end of October.
4. The Kennebec River Rail Trail on abandoned train tracks.
The Kennebec River runs for 170 miles between Moosehead Lake and the Gulf of Maine near Bath. It's a beautiful example of Maine's inner waterways and comes with some of the state's richest history. Today, a lovely 6.5-mile trail follows the river on its west side as it bends and curves its way towards the coast. It also follows the railroad tracks that once connected Portland to Augusta. While they are no longer in use, they're still maintained today in case they are ever used in the future. Stone markers are used every quarter mile to track the distance and look just like the original markers once used in conjunction with the train. To start the journey in Hallowell, head to Water Street to park. Then make your way to the trailhead located on Greenville Street.
5. The eerie, Kennebec Arsenal in Augusta.
Following its transfer from military to state use in 1901, the nearly 200-year-old Kennebec Arsenal in Augusta became a facility to house the mentally ill. One look at the imposing granite structure and you can almost hear the cries of the tortured souls who called this place home. It closed its doors for good in 2004, but has recently been slated for redevelopment.
6. The downed B-52C Stratofortresses in the woods near Greenville.
On January 24, 1963, a United States Air Force Boeing B-52C Stratofortress went down over Maine while flying a training mission. Of the nine crew members, only the pilot and navigator survived. Elephant Mountain, near Moosehead Lake about six miles from Greenville, is the final resting place of its shredded fuselage. A half-mile hike will get you to the wreckage, where a stone memorial commemorates the seven fallen soldiers.
7. Bates Mill #5 on the banks of the Androscoggin
On the banks of the roaring Androscoggin sits Bates Mill #5, one part of a hulking brick textile factory that was once the backbone of the Lewiston economy. Sadly, like many of the mills that dot Maine’s landscape, this once bustling building has gone quiet, left to be reclaimed by the elements. Among the rust and splintered floorboards, artifacts of an industry gone still remain. Here, discarded canisters reveal cotton still waiting to be woven into fine Maine textiles. Building #5 has been slated to face the wrecking ball since 2009, but the recent redevelopment of the Bates Mill has locals calling on the city to rescue the long-neglected space. With tenants like Baxter Brewing and TD Bank moving in, the future of this forgotten mill is finally looking brighter.
8. And, finally, the abandoned locomotives nestled deep in the North Woods.
You'll find them about two hours north of Millinocket, accessible primarily via rough and tumble logging roads. The trains came in when lumber needed to move South into nearby towns. Sadly, when the Great Depression hit the lumber business in Northern Maine was ruined - the trains were no longer needed, but the cost to remove them wasn't worth paying. So, they sit in the North Woods waiting for intrepid explorers to visit and remember an important part of Maine's history.
For another cool place to visit in Maine, check out the Blueberry Barrens by