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The casco castle e38170da

The Casco Castle

There’s something strange poking out of the tree line South Freeport. Is it a utility pole? Is it a peculiar tree? No, it’s actually the remains of the Casco Castle. The stone tower looks out of place in the quiet, residential neighborhood that it stands in, and its history is equally as unusual. Most people think back to the medieval era when they hear talk about castles, but the Casco Castle was built a little over a century ago by an eager entrepreneur named Amos Gerald.

The Man of the Castle
There was a brief period in the late 1800s through the early 1900s where electric trolleys were the most popular form of transportation. Amos Gerald (sometimes spelled Amus) took advantage of this by building trolley lines all throughout Central and Southern Maine. One of these railways ran from Brunswick to Yarmouth, and to encourage people to use his costly railway system, Amos built Merrymeeting Park in Brunswick, a high-end resort and casino.

Amos’s Merrymeeting Park was not entirely successful, but that didn’t stop the enthusiastic businessman from building a second resort in South Freeport, which he named Casco Castle. The main building was actually built with wood, but the exterior was covered in gray shingles to make it look like stone. Although the adjoining tower was the only part of the structure made of stone, the building looked very much like a medieval castle. Postcards depicting the Casco Castle can be found online and at the Freeport Historical Society.

The Fabulous Resort
Casco Castle was much more than just an extravagant hotel. The resort’s main attraction was the zoo which housed a variety of animals such as monkeys, wolves, and bison. Rumor has it that the first-ever bison born in Maine was born in Casco Castle’s zoo.

The resort also had a refreshing swimming area, baseball diamond, and shore dinners every evening during the summer. These shore dinners were served with a live orchestra playing in the background and cost only 50 cents. The lobsters and clams served were bought from local fishermen daily.

A Tragic Ending?
While everyone who visited the resort enjoyed their stay, Amos could no longer afford to keep it going. Automobiles were becoming increasingly popular, and the era of the electric trolley was coming to an end. By 1911, Amos could no longer cover his debts, and his properties were foreclosed on.

New owners purchased the failed resort, and it reopened in 1914. However, on the very last day of the summer season, as everyone was getting ready to leave, the Casco Castle caught fire. As the faux castle was made of wood, the fire quickly grew and destroyed everything except the stone tower that we can see today. Rumor has it that the fire was actually an act of arson committed by the new owners to cover their debt, but this was never proven.

How to View It
The remaining stone structure resides on private land, and the owners ask that people respect their property. Luckily, the tower is 185ft tall, so you can easily see it from afar. Winslow Park and the end of Wolfe’s Neck Rd both offer great views of the tower.

The very best view of the Casco Castle’s tower is from a kayak, which can be rented in town or from one of the many boat excursions which leave Freeport daily in the summer.

-Written by Stacy Oswald & Photo by Derek Story