Home of the Week: Turrets and Towers in Maine

Norumbega Castle, Camden ME
For sale: $1,790,000

As explorers crisscrossed the oceans in search of The New World, facts of their journeys sometimes mixed with fiction. Some searched for the lost city of Atlantis. Spain’s Juan Ponce de Leon went after the Fountain of Youth. France’s Jean Allefonsce spoke of Norumbega as a large, rich native city alongside the banks of an enormous river in what is today the state of Maine.

Explorers were never able to find that fantasy city, but the legend never died. In the 19th century, residents of Bangor, ME embraced the legend of Norumbega, when in 1886, eccentric inventor Joseph Stearns built his tribute to the fabled city: An enormous stone castle sitting on the coast of Camden.

Originally from Maine, Stearns became a millionaire with his invention of the duplex telegraphy, which he sold to Western Union.

Norumbega Castle, circa 1800s. Courtesy of Camden Real Estate Company

When Stearns decided to build the Norumbega Castle, he spent a year visiting European castles for inspiration. He hired New York architect Arthur Bates Jennings to incorporate his favorite castle features.

Situated on nearly four acres, Norumbega castle is 10,330-square-feet and has 12 bedrooms and 13.5 bathrooms. Stunning period woodwork, ornate stone fireplaces and views of the bay are featured prominently throughout the house.

Listing agent Scott Horty of the Camden Real Estate Company explained his favorite details of the home:

“[It] has the coolest stair landing complete with a fireplace and built-in window seats and stunning woodwork,” he said.

And in case you’ve ever wanted to sleep like royalty, the main turret is a bedroom.

Converted into an inn in 1984, the home is still available as a single-family property. Described as the “jewel of the Maine coast,” Camden is a historic hamlet nestled between mountains and coast.

According to Zillow’s mortgage affordability calculator, the estimated monthly payment for the Norumbega Castle would be $6,602 a month, assuming a 20 percent down payment on a 30-year-fixed mortgage rate.

In addition, the carriage house that once belonged to the Norumbega Castle is also for sale.

In the 1970s, the carriage house was split from the property as a separate, single-family residence. Like the castle, the carriage house is listed on the Camden real estate market, and features Victorian-era design.

Priced at $4.75 million, the Norumbega carriage house has had a complete renovation.