The Turrets

Constructed in 1895, The Turrets is one of the most impressive cottages built during Bar Harbor’s summer cottage era [1]. The Turrets was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places on December 24, 1974 as the first Bar Harbor property and one of the first Mount Desert Island properties to be included on the National Register [2]. As would be the trend for most of the area’s later designated properties, The Turrets was selected for its architectural significance and as a symbol of Bar Harbor’s social history [3].

After being exposed to Mount Desert Island through the work of artists at the Hudson River School, wealthy summer visitors came to the island in the 1850s, and within a decade, hotels and family cottages were being built to accommodate the new summer population [4]. Included among the summer visitors were The Turret’s original owners Mrs. and Mrs. J.J. Emery who first visited Bar Harbor in 1881 and became active members of the Bar Harbor community [5].

The Turrets

The Emerys commissioned Bruce Price of New York to design The Turrets [6]. It was a monumental design project, and at the time of construction, the Bar Harbor Record described the granite, French chateauesque style cottage as “One of the largest and most expensive summer residences,” and, “One of the finest summer homes in New England”[7].

The Turrets remains as one of the fewer than 100 summer cottages to have survived disinterest and destruction that followed the summer cottage era [8]. After a couple of decades of general decay with minimal upkeep, College of the Atlantic (which bought the property in the 1970s) successfully completed a massive restoration project which later earned the “2014 Honor Award for Rehabilitation” by Maine Preservation [9].

By Marisa Higgins


[1] National Register of Historic Places. The Turrets, Bar Harbor, Maine. National Register #74000155; Sassman, Barbara. “Historic Research of the Turrets.” Internet Archive. Senior project, College of the Atlantic, 1978.

[2] Register #74000155.

[3] Ibid.

[4] National Park Service. “The History of Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island.” Acadia National Park. U.S. Department of the Interior. accessed December 6, 2015.

[5] Register #74000155; Lenahan, D. P. “A Memorial Walk; Bar Harbor to Sieur de Monts.” The Memorials of Acadia National Park. June 24, 2012.

[6] Sassman 1978.

[7] Register #74000155; Sassman 1978.

[8] National Register of Historic Places. Harbor Lane – Eden Street Historic District, Bar Harbor, Maine. National Register #09000550.

[9] Maine Preservation. “The Turrets at College of the Atlantic – Bar Harbor.” 2014.

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