The 10 Best Abandoned Places In Maine For 2024 And Beyond

Maine, known as the Pine Tree State, is a land steeped in natural beauty, history, and a unique cultural heritage. However, along with its picturesque coastline and dense forests, Maine also harbors a myriad of abandoned places that hold the echoes of the past. From old forts and crumbling manors to deserted villages and obsolete industrial sites, these abandoned places in Maine offer an evocative glimpse into the lives and stories that once thrived within their walls.

For urban explorers, photographers, and history enthusiasts, these sites offer both an adventure and a haunting journey through time.

Note: Many of these locations are in an extremely delicate state. Specifics on locations, such as coordinates or maps, are not given. This is done so purposefully as a barrier to entry to those who may mean harm to these spots. I want to ensure that these abandoned places in Maine are known about, but stay as vandalism and destruction free as possible. Remember: Take only photos, leave only footprints.

Breakdown: The Top 10 and More

If you have a specific location from the list below that you would like to immediately get more information about, click the links in the list to snap straight to that abandoned places in Maine location.

Broaden Your Horizons Beyond Maine

Are you interested in venturing outside the state of Maine? Maybe you live close to the state line, or maybe you’re just looking for adventures outside your home state. Whatever the case may be, here are some guides to bordering states that may be helpful in effective urban exploration:

Don’t Forget About Trespassing Laws

It is important when considering abandoned places in Maine to know the basics of Maine trespassing laws. Luckily, we have developed a massive guide to trespassing laws in all 50 states. For laws that specifically relate to Maine, please click here.

Without any further ado, let’s hop into the list of abandoned places!

The Best Abandoned Places in Maine

Fort Gorges (Portland)

Fort Gorges is a historic military fort located on Hog Island Ledge in Casco Bay, in the city of Portland, Maine. Named for Sir Ferdinando Gorges, the “Father of English Colonization in North America,” the fort is a striking relic of America’s military history.

Construction of the fort began in 1858 as part of America’s third system of coastal defense, a response to British naval superiority demonstrated during the War of 1812.

The fort was designed to be a state-of-the-art facility, with impressive granite walls and room for a large number of heavy cannon. However, by the time the fort was completed in the 1860s, it was already obsolete due to advancements in artillery technology.

Throughout its history, the fort was used sporadically for various military purposes. During the Spanish-American War, it served as an ammunition storage depot. During World War I, it was used for barracks, and during World War II, it was a site for placing anti-submarine nets.

After years of neglect following World War II, the fort was declared surplus in 1960, and in 1963 it was given to the city of Portland by the Federal Government. Since then, it has been a historical curiosity, drawing visitors who are intrigued by its storied past and its dramatic setting.

How Things Look Today

Today, Fort Gorges is accessible only by private boat or kayak and is open to the public for exploration. The fort’s interior is largely unaltered and presents a unique look into 19th-century military architecture. While the aging granite walls are still sturdy, some sections of the fort have fallen into disrepair due to the forces of nature and time.

Visitors to Fort Gorges can explore the various rooms and levels of the fort, offering a sense of what life might have been like for soldiers stationed there. From the top of the fort, one can enjoy panoramic views of Portland and the surrounding area. However, due to its state of disrepair, visitors are urged to exercise caution while exploring the fort.

York County Jail (Alfred)

The York County Jail, located in Alfred, Maine, is a haunting relic of the past. The building, completed in 1850, was used as the county’s primary correctional facility until a modern jail was built in the early 2000s.

The old York County Jail is a striking example of mid-19th-century architecture. The large brick structure with its slate roof and iron-barred windows is emblematic of the austere design and construction of prisons of the period. This formidable edifice was designed not only to confine, but also to intimidate.

In its day, the jail housed a range of inmates, from those serving short sentences for minor offenses to more hardened criminals. The facility included cells for male and female prisoners as well as administrative offices for the jail’s staff. Life within its walls was certainly harsh by today’s standards, with crowded cells and austere living conditions.

How Things Look Today

Since the new jail was built and the old one abandoned, the historic York County Jail has stood vacant, a silent monument to an earlier era of law enforcement and penal philosophy. Its darkened windows and quiet halls offer a stark contrast to the busy criminal justice activities that once filled its rooms.

While the building is not typically open to the public, its exterior is clearly visible from the nearby road, presenting an imposing and somewhat eerie sight. Those interested in the history of law enforcement, corrections, or 19th-century architecture might find a visit to the site worthwhile.

Future plans for the old York County Jail remain uncertain, but the building’s historical significance makes it an important part of Alfred’s local heritage. Preservation efforts have been suggested and discussed, but for now, the old jail continues to bear silent witness to the passage of time. As with any abandoned structure, anyone wishing to explore it should ensure they have proper permissions and should exercise caution.

Goddard Mansion (Cape Elizabeth)

Goddard Mansion is a captivating relic, situated within the limits of Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The sprawling ruins of this once grand and opulent mansion tell a story of wealth, time, and ultimately, decay.

Built in 1858, the mansion was the home of Colonel John Goddard and his family. Goddard was a notable figure in the community, having served in the Civil War and later building a successful career in the lumber industry. The mansion was a testament to his wealth and status, boasting spacious rooms, an ornate design, and a commanding view of the surrounding landscape and coastline.

The Goddard family lived in the mansion until the late 19th century. In 1898, the property was acquired by the U.S. Army as part of the land purchased to establish Fort Williams. The mansion served a variety of roles during its military tenure, including serving as officer quarters and a club for non-commissioned officers.

How Things Look Today

With the closure of Fort Williams in 1963, Goddard Mansion fell into disrepair. Despite preservation efforts during the 1980s, the mansion was too deteriorated to save. Today, the roofless, crumbling ruins stand as a hauntingly beautiful testament to the passage of time.

Visitors to Fort Williams Park can view the mansion ruins up close, walking among the stone walls that once housed a thriving family. Although the mansion’s grandeur has faded, it remains an integral part of the park’s history and a significant point of interest for visitors. The mansion ruins, coupled with the park’s stunning ocean views and the iconic Portland Head Light, make for a fascinating trip into Maine’s past.

Loring Air Force Base (Limestone)

Loring Air Force Base, located near Limestone in the northeastern corner of Maine, is a sprawling relic of the Cold War era. Opened in 1953 during the height of the U.S.-Soviet tensions, the base played a significant role in the nation’s strategic defense plans. It was one of the largest bases in the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command network, and its location made it the closest point in the continental United States to Europe.

The base was named in honor of Major Charles J. Loring, Jr., a Maine native who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor during the Korean War. Loring Air Force Base was home to the 42nd Bomb Wing, which operated B-52 Stratofortress bombers and KC-135 Stratotanker refueling aircraft. The base also stored nuclear weapons and was a critical part of the U.S. military’s deterrent strategy.

However, following the end of the Cold War, Loring Air Force Base was deemed surplus to requirements. It was officially closed in 1994 under the Base Realignment and Closure Act, and its assets were redistributed to other military installations.

How Things Look Today

Today, Loring Air Force Base is a silent testament to its past. Many of the base’s buildings stand vacant and decaying, a stark contrast to the bustling activity that once pervaded the area. The airstrips, once launching points for nuclear-armed bombers, are silent, and the massive aircraft hangars stand empty.

Despite its abandoned status, the base has found a new life in recent years. The Loring Development Authority has been working to repurpose the site for civilian use, converting parts of the base into a commercial and industrial park known as the Loring Commerce Centre. A number of businesses have set up shop in the renovated buildings, and efforts are ongoing to attract more to the area.

Visitors to the base can explore the echoes of the Cold War that remain, with the stark, imposing structures of the base offering a fascinating look into a pivotal era of history. However, visitors are advised to respect the boundaries of the active commercial areas and heed any signage or barriers.

Eagle Island’s Abandoned Houses (Eagle Island)

Eagle Island, situated in Casco Bay off the coast of Maine, is a location steeped in the quiet solitude of abandonment. While it’s well known as the summer home of Arctic explorer Admiral Robert E. Peary, its other, less famous abandoned houses lend a somewhat eerie charm to this picturesque island.

The majority of these abandoned buildings date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Eagle Island and other islands in Casco Bay were popular summer retreats for the well-to-do families from the mainland. These families often built quaint and idyllic summer homes, or “cottages”, where they would vacation, escaping the summer heat of the cities.

However, with the passage of time, maintaining these isolated homes became increasingly challenging for their owners. Many of the houses were eventually left to the elements, as families moved away or lost the means to care for their island properties.

How Things Look Today

Today, some of the abandoned homes on Eagle Island have been almost entirely reclaimed by nature. Weather-beaten and overgrown with vines, these structures have a haunting beauty, standing as silent testaments to a bygone era. They provide a stark contrast to the well-preserved Admiral Peary home, which is now a State Historic Site and museum.

Visitors to the island can view these abandoned homes from the outside but should keep in mind that entering these buildings can be dangerous due to their deteriorating state. As always, it’s important to respect the private property and do not trespass in these areas.

The island, which is a Maine State Park, is accessible by private boat or ferry services from nearby towns such as Harpswell, and offers hiking trails, picnic spots, and stunning views of Casco Bay.

Evergreen Valley Ski Resort (Stoneham)

Evergreen Valley Ski Resort, located in Stoneham, Maine, is an eerily beautiful example of a once-thriving winter sports location that has been left to the elements. In its heyday, the resort was a popular destination for skiing enthusiasts, with multiple slopes catering to different skill levels, a well-equipped ski lodge, and even nighttime skiing.

Evergreen Valley Ski Resort offered various amenities to its visitors, including ski rentals, ski lessons, and a cozy lodge where visitors could relax, warm up, and enjoy a meal or a hot drink. The resort was particularly known for its family-friendly atmosphere, making it a popular choice for families and beginners in the world of skiing.

However, like many smaller ski resorts, Evergreen Valley faced increasing competition from larger, more modern facilities, and it struggled to keep up. Over time, fewer people visited, and maintaining the resort became financially unsustainable.

How Things Look Today

Today, the resort sits abandoned. The chair lifts that once ferried eager skiers up the mountain hang silent and empty. The ski lodge, once filled with laughter and the smell of hot cocoa, is now quiet and slowly deteriorating under the harsh Maine weather.

Despite its derelict state, the Evergreen Valley Ski Resort still holds a sort of desolate beauty. It’s a stark reminder of a past filled with winter fun and excitement, now contrasted with the quiet stillness of an abandoned site. Visitors are drawn to the eerie tranquility of the place, although it’s always advisable to exercise caution when exploring, and to respect any posted signage or barriers.

As of now, the future of the Evergreen Valley Ski Resort remains uncertain. While nature has begun to reclaim the area, the silent slopes and empty buildings stand as a testament to the resort’s past glory.

Fort Baldwin (Phippsburg)

Fort Baldwin, located in Phippsburg, Maine, is an abandoned military fort that once played a vital role in the defense of the United States. Constructed between 1905 and 1912, the fort was built with the purpose of defending the Kennebec River and the important shipbuilding facilities in Bath, Maine.

The fort was named in honor of Jeduthan Baldwin, a renowned engineer during the American Revolutionary War. Over the years, Fort Baldwin saw intermittent use, particularly during World War I and World War II. During these periods, the fort was filled with soldiers and heavy artillery, poised to protect the region from potential naval threats.

However, with the advent of newer, more advanced military technology, the need for traditional coastal forts like Fort Baldwin diminished. By the end of World War II, the fort was considered obsolete and was officially abandoned in 1948.

How Things Look Today

Today, the fort is a reminder of the past, its silent concrete structures standing starkly against the Maine landscape. Visitors can walk among the old gun batteries, empty bunkers, and observation towers, exploring a part of U.S. military history that has been left behind. The location of Fort Baldwin, high on a hill overlooking the mouth of the Kennebec River, also provides spectacular views of the surrounding area.

In 1964, the site was transferred to the state of Maine and was eventually designated as the Fort Baldwin Memorial, a historic site open to the public for exploration. However, time and the harsh Maine weather have taken their toll on the fort, and many of the structures are in various states of decay.

Despite the disrepair, Fort Baldwin offers a poignant insight into a bygone era, a time when such forts were critical to America’s coastal defense strategy. As such, it holds a certain fascination for history buffs, urban explorers, and anyone interested in Maine’s past.

The Ghost Trains of the Allagash Wilderness (Allagash Wilderness)

The Ghost Trains of the Allagash Wilderness in Maine are a haunting reminder of a bygone era. This remote area in northern Maine is home to the final resting place of two vintage steam locomotives and their log cars, stranded and forgotten in the forest.

The trains, once part of the Eagle Lake and West Branch Railroad, were used in the early 20th century to transport logs from the forests of the Allagash region to the mills downstream. The railway was an integral part of Maine’s logging industry, facilitating the movement of millions of logs harvested from the dense, expansive forests.

However, by the 1930s, the logging industry in the area had declined, and the need for the railroad diminished. A decision was made to abandon the railway, and the two locomotives were parked on a side track, expected to be retrieved later. But the retrieval never happened, and the locomotives were left to the mercy of the elements.

With the passage of time, nature began to reclaim the area. The railway tracks slowly disappeared under a blanket of vegetation, and the locomotives, once gleaming symbols of industry, succumbed to rust and decay. Yet, they have withstood the harsh Maine winters, standing as stoic relics in the wilderness.

How Things Look Today

For those adventurous enough to make the journey, the Ghost Trains of the Allagash Wilderness offer a unique and eerie sight. Located several miles from the nearest road, getting to the site requires a significant amount of hiking or canoeing. However, those who undertake the journey are rewarded with a glimpse into the past.

While the locomotives and log cars are silent, their presence speaks volumes about Maine’s industrial history. They serve as a testament to the labor and determination that went into harnessing the resources of the Allagash Wilderness, and the rapidity with which such efforts can be abandoned and forgotten. Despite their ghostly appearance, the Ghost Trains remain a potent symbol of Maine’s rich logging heritage.

Battery Steele (Peaks Island)

Battery Steele, located on Peaks Island in Casco Bay, Maine, is an eerie and historically significant abandoned site. This massive fortification was built as part of the United States’ coastal defense system during World War II.

The structure is the largest military fortification in the state and was constructed in 1942. It consisted of two 16-inch guns capable of firing shells up to 30 miles away. The primary purpose of Battery Steele was to protect Portland’s harbor and shipbuilding facilities from potential enemy naval attack during the war.

The battery was built entirely of reinforced concrete, covered with earth, and designed to blend into the natural landscape, making it less conspicuous to enemy aircraft. It also contained numerous ammunition magazines, storage areas, and personnel facilities. However, despite its impressive size and strategic location, the guns were never fired in combat.

In the years following World War II, the battery was declared surplus and eventually abandoned by the military. The natural process of reclamation began as plants and trees started to cover the structure, slowly reclaiming the area.

In the late 20th century, the area surrounding Battery Steele was turned into a public park, and the battery itself was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Despite this, the interior of the structure has been left relatively untouched since its abandonment and remains a magnet for urban explorers, historians, and those simply intrigued by its mysterious aura.

How Things Look Today

The walls of Battery Steele are covered in graffiti, a modern-day testament to its many visitors. The underground tunnels echo with the sound of dripping water, and the eerie atmosphere inside the battery is palpable.

Exploring Battery Steele offers an immersive journey into the past. It serves as a stark reminder of a time when the threat of war loomed heavily over the nation, and massive structures like these were constructed to protect our shores. Visitors today can wander the overgrown paths, peer into the darkened bunkers, and contemplate the history that echoes in this massive concrete relic.

Swan Island (Richmond)

Swan Island, also known as Perkins Township, is an abandoned and eerily beautiful island located in the Kennebec River in Richmond, Maine. This 4-mile-long island is now a wildlife management area managed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Swan Island was a thriving community. It was settled in the 1750s, and at its peak, the island was home to approximately 100 people. The island residents were mostly engaged in farming, fishing, ice cutting, and shipbuilding. It had a school, a post office, a hotel, and several houses.

However, by the early 20th century, the population started to dwindle. The changes in transportation and the economy made the island’s isolation less appealing and more challenging. The last year-round residents left the island in the 1930s, and by the 1940s, the island was virtually abandoned. The remaining houses and structures began to decay, giving the island a ghostly appearance.

Despite its abandonment, Swan Island offers a unique blend of history and nature. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife acquired the island in the 1940s and turned it into a wildlife management area. It is now a haven for a variety of wildlife, including deer, wild turkeys, bald eagles, and a host of other bird species.

Visitors to the island can explore the abandoned and historic structures, including the remaining 19th-century homes, schoolhouse, and cemetery, which have been preserved for their historical significance. Interpretive signs around the island offer insights into its history and the lives of its former residents.

How Things Look Today

Today, Swan Island is not only a popular spot for bird watching and wildlife photography but also offers opportunities for camping, hiking, and kayaking. The hauntingly beautiful landscape, combined with the eerie silence of the abandoned buildings, makes a visit to Swan Island an unforgettable experience. As with any protected area, visitors are encouraged to respect the historic structures and the island’s natural environment.

Our Final Thoughts on Abandoned Places in Maine

Those who are into urban exploration in the Maine area should get comfortable with Maine trespassing laws. Luckily, we have developed a massive guide to trespassing laws in all 50 states. For laws that specifically relate to Maine, please click here.

For more about obtaining permission to explore abandoned places, check out our guide Explore Abandoned Buildings: How To Get Permission. Finally, if you are wanting to find more abandoned places in Maine, check out my resource How To Find Abandoned Places With Google Maps.

Happy exploring!

  • John Bourscheid, Killer Urbex