School closings & delays

Stephen King is converting his haunting Maine home into a writers’ retreat and archive

Elizabeth Wolfe and Brian Ries, CNN
(CNN) — Don’t be fooled by the wrought iron gates covered in bats and gargoyles. Stephen King hopes his stately home in Bangor, Maine, will soon be a welcoming place.This week, the Bangor City Council approved a request by the prolific author and his wife, Tabitha King to rezone their Victorian mansion for use as a nonprofit.

The move would allow the Kings to convert their property on 3.27 acres at 39 and 47 West Broadway into an archive and writers’ retreat.

The Kings own two homes behind the looming gate and have plans to use both for the preservation of their legacy.

One house will act as a retreat for up to five writers to stay and work, while the mansion where the Kings raised their family will be used for his personal archive maintained by the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation.

The property has long been a hallowed attraction in the town.

Fans and horror enthusiasts visit the gates to snap photos of themselves in front of it, a spokesperson for the city said. Plus, King has hinted that they might not be its only occupants.

In a 1983 essay released by the Bangor Historical Society, King wrote that he suspected the home disapproved of him at first.

“The parlor seemed cold in a way that had little to do with temperature,” he wrote. “The cat would not go into that room; the kids avoided it. My oldest son was convinced there were ghosts in the turret towers (that idea was probably more due to the Hardy Boys than to parental influence).”

The city of Bangor has been the inspiration for the King’s fictional town of Derry, a part of the Maine topography that the author has whipped up in his imagination.

The Bangor-inspired town has been featured in several of his novels and stories, including “IT,” “Insomnia” and most recently “11/22/63.”

“The City of Bangor, Maine, is honored to be the city of choice where the significant cultural assets of authors Stephen & Tabitha King will be maintained,” Sarah Nichols, Bangor City Council chairwoman, told CNN in a statement.

“From John Steinbeck’s house in California to Emily Dickinson’s home in Massachusetts, homes of culturally impactful authors and artists can enrich communities. It is fitting that their Bangor home will be used not only as an archive, but as a writers’ retreat. As such, Stephen & Tabitha King will continue to support and empower future generations of thinkers and seekers, just like they have over the years through the philanthropic efforts of their foundation,” Nichols said.

A timeline of the property’s conversion has not been announced, but literary hopefuls should begin gearing up to write the next great horror novel in the place where King once slept.

 

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