As one of the most prolific writers of the last 50 years, Stephen King evolved beyond a “mere” horror novelist to become a full-blown pop-culture icon. Soon, fans of his books (if not his often clunky film adaptations) will be able to experience the writer’s life, legacy, and inspiration as he looks to convert his Bangor, Maine estate into a one-of-a-kind writer’s retreat.
In October, Stephen King and wife Tabitha received the Bangor City Council’s approval to rezone their home as a non-profit entity. They intend to archive a large selection of King’s work as a museum of sorts in the main house on the property. It will open to scholars and researchers by appointment only. A second guest house will serve as a writer’s retreat, housing up to five budding writers at a time. The house and the town of Bangor, where the Kings have lived for decades, inspired many of his most acclaimed books. Sadly, King himself is unlikely to be on-property during the retreats, but we imagine he’ll be there in spirit (get it?).
While the King’s still technically live in Bangor, they admit to spending considerable time at their other homes in Florida and Oxford County, Maine. Yet, the blood-red Bangor mansion continues to be a popular tourist attraction where visitors often crowd the ornate gate outside for selfies. For these two reasons, the couple is looking to give back to their fans and to Bangor in a discreet and respectful way. A city planner told Rolling Stone, “They did not want the house to become a Dollywood or some kind of tourist attraction. That would bring all sorts of people to the neighborhood, and they have other neighbors that live there.”
The writers’ retreat at the King House is still in its earliest phases, so exact details are thin. King confirmed on Facebook that the recent zoning changes are only the first step. It will be another year or so before the house opens its doors as a retreat. Given the town of Bangor’s love for the author, however, it’s likely they’ll fast-track the entire project.
If you’re looking for a refresher on his dizzying body of work, check out our picks for the best Stephen King books, ranked.