Whether you're traveling by water or land, it's impossible to overlook the imposing yet captivating castle tower that appears almost out of nowhere as you approach the cozy and picturesque coastal town of South Freeport, Maine.

Did You Just See a Castle in South Freeport, Maine? Yes. Kind of.

In fact, due to the hilly terrain in the area, it's easy to think that your eyes are deceiving you. Sometimes it's there peeking through the trees, and sometimes it is not. But yes, that is a castle.

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Well, to be clear — it's a 185-foot castle tower with a turret. And it wasn't part of an actual castle, but rather a castle-themed hotel called the Casco Castle, built in 1903 by Amos Gerard, the so-called Electric Railway King of Maine. And that is all that is left standing.

Visitors Depart Trolley En Route to Casco Castle
Freeport Historical Society (Public Domain)

Why Was a Castle-Themed Hotel Built in a Small Coastal Town in Maine?

During the late 19th century and early 20th century, electric trolleys were heralded as a convenient and cheap way to get around Maine towns. That said, they weren't cheap to build, so to offset these expenses, some clever entrepreneurs took to building resorts along these trolley lines. And they didn't skimp on amenities.

The Casco Hotel boasted a baseball field, expansive greenhouses with formal gardens and even a zoo that housed an impressive collection of deer, wolves, buffalo, bears and monkeys.

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Interestingly enough, the stone tower was connected by a bridge to the main section of the hotel. This is only visible in some photos (see the above postcard), and you wouldn't catch me crossing that bridge.

Casco Castle Hotel
Townsquare Media

What Happened to the Casco Castle Hotel?

During the end-of-season preparations in 1914, the structure caught fire and was ultimately destroyed. With its castle-like exterior covered in wooden shingles designed to resemble stone, the hotel was beyond salvaging. The only remaining part of the original hotel is the tower, which stands intact to this day.

Casco Castle Tower
Freeport Historical Society

While you may want to live out your Tangled dreams and ascend the stairs to the very top of the enchanting structure, this is strictly forbidden, as the tower sits on private property, and signage is very clear about that. In fact, the stairs were destroyed in the fire, and there are reports that the flames shot straight out of the turret.

Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.

No Trespassing at Casco Castle Site
Townsquare Media

Look Closely and You Might See Signs of the Original Castle Grounds

The site where the Casco Castle hotel once stood is now home to charming Maine coastal homes and cozy cottages with pretty spectacular views of Casco Bay. These private properties line Haraseeket Road, which is a dead-end street just a short stroll from the much-loved Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster Company.

As you explore the area, you'll notice remnants of the hotel's grounds, such as stone walls and gates.

Remnants of Casco Castle
Townsquare Media

The best way to see the castle tower is to take in the view from across the water at Winslow Memorial Park, located where Staples Point Road ends. There's a great playground and beach for the kids.

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Gallery Credit: Erin Joslyn

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[WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter private or abandoned property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing.]

Gallery Credit: Sandi Hemmerlein

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