There are many things that Maine is known for: lobsters, beautiful coastlines, and – of course – being the home of Stephen King. King and his wife Tabitha live in a Victorian-style mansion in Bangor, Maine complete with wrought iron fences that feature bats and gargoyles. It’s practically something out of one of King’s prolific horror novels! Pretty soon, they will be opening their home to the public. Not for tours – but for a place where writers and literary scholars can come to hone their craft.
In October of 2019, the Bangor City Council approved the plans to turn the King mansion from a residential home into a nonprofit organization and the location for his personal literary archives.
There are two buildings on the King’s estate, one of which (their current home) will hold his archives. The archives will be available for visitors to comb through by appointment only. Currently, his archives can be seen at the University of Maine.
The house next door to theirs will be the location for their upcoming “writer’s retreats.” King, an active participant in social media, took to Facebook shortly after the plans were approved to give the public some more insight:
“We are in the very beginning of planning the writers’ retreat at the house next door, providing housing for up to five writers in residence at a time,” says King. “The zoning change getting press coverage was the first step. We are 1 to 2 years away from an operating retreat.”
As that post was made in October of 2019, it may be safe to assume that the retreat will be open for reservations by the end of 2020! Time will tell…
The Kings and Their Community
The Kings spend most of their time on the road, in Florida, or at another property they own in Oxford, Maine. However, their love for Bangor cannot be understated.
Much of the Stephen King universe takes place in fictional towns within the state of Maine, many of which were inspired by Bangor. IT is a prime example of this.
In a Rolling Stone article, it was reported that, “In a 1983 essay, owned by the Bangor Historical Society, King explained that when he first moved to the town, the idea for IT was stewing in his mind. The book was set in fictional Derry, Maine, a proxy of Bangor.”
Over the years, Bangor has gained attention as a result of Stephen King’s writings and the mere fact that he and his wife reside in town. Many people are known to make a trip to the King residence for a photo or two.
Although the prolific horror novelist and his wife often aren’t home, they still find ways to contribute to their community through millions of dollars of donations, and now, the writer’s retreat.
There currently is no set date for when the writer’s retreat will be made available, but when it is, four to five writers will be able to temporarily reside in the very same location that sparked inspiration for many of Stephen King’s novels. It is sure to be the opportunity of a lifetime.