Discover the Eerie Past Of These 7 Ghost Towns in Maine

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Updated: July 5, 2023
© SevenMaps/
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Ghost towns are one of a kind. They are typically abandoned towns, cities, or neighborhoods left frozen in time. Some ghost towns though are completely demolished or left underwater! The state of Maine is filled with ghost towns and abandoned buildings. Many of the towns were left alone after the Great Depression as people fled looking for better opportunities. Are you ready to discover the eerie past of 7 ghost towns in Maine?

1. Askwith/Tarratine

The first ghost town on our list is Askwith in Piscataquis County, Maine. The town was eventually renamed Tarratine. This creepy ghost town was first settled in the 1800s. People came from all over, looking for a better life. In the area, there was a lot of game and fish, perfect for providing. Eventually, this led to the construction of a post office and a railway. This, however, didn’t last long. The post office is gone and in its spot sits an ATV trail. In the 1930s, the population was only 56. Now, it’s a true ghost town, as virtually nothing is left.

2. Riceville/Township 39

A truly creepy ghost town in Maine is Riceville, also known as Township 39. It was located between Penobscot and Hancock counties. This tiny village was never highly populated but was abandoned just as quickly as it was founded. Like other small towns in the United States, it formed because of the development of a company. For example, the F. Shaw and Brothers Company, a tannery, opened up Buffalo Stream, and the town was built around it.

Not much is known about this small town and its disappearance. By 1900, only 75 people lived in Ricevlle. A decade later in 1910, no residents remained. Old records state that the once booming tannery burned to the ground in 1906, which may have caused residents to leave as the tannery provided many jobs. Still, local legends and ghost stories say something different. While there is no evidence of this, some people believe that the area where the town used to thrive is haunted by ghosts. One story states that a group of people walked into the town and found everyone dead.

Sunset in Mount Desert Island over Hamilton Pond in Hancock County, Maine, United States, spring Bar Harbor wilderness hiking trail landscape after rain
Riceville was located between Penobscot and Hancock counties.


3. Freeman Township

Another ghost town in Maine is Freeman Township. Not much is left of this abandoned ghost town. There is also a lot of mystery surrounding the abandoned town. This town though was first settled in the late 1700s and early 1800s and was founded as Freeman on March 4, 1808. Before it was officially incorporated as a town, the area was known as Little River Plantation.

Many people came to this town for its natural resources. The land was granted to Falmouth residents after their town was burned down during the American Revolution. It soon grew large enough to contain a post office. At its height, there were 10 public schoolhouses, 2 rail stations, hotels, and multiple churches. In 1870, the population of Freeman was 608. However, by 1920, only 222 residents remained.

Now, if you visit the place where this ghost town once stood, there isn’t much to gawk at. A few structures in bad condition remain as well as a cemetery.

4. Flagstaff Township

If you’re trying to find Flagstaff, Maine, a ghost town in the state, you won’t find anything remaining. Instead, in its place is Flagstaff Lake. This former town is in Somerset County, Maine, near Eustis. Flagstaff Township’s history begins in the 1700s when Benedict Arnold left a flag in the overall spot while on his expedition to Quebec. A few years later, a fur trapper marked the spot with another staff.

Long before the destruction of the town, it was thriving with many buildings and businesses. For example, there was a general store, hotel, blacksmith shop, several churches, and a saw and grist mill.

The ghost town was never highly populated and the population, along with the cemetery was moved before the town was flooded. Although many of the buildings were destroyed, some structures remained and are still underneath Flagstaff Lake. For a few decades after the flooding, visitors commented that they occasionally found trinkets washed up on the shores, like utensils.

Flagstaff Lake, Maine
The remains of Flagstaff Township, a ghost town in Maine, are at the bottom of Flagstaff Lake.

©Casey Dugas/

5. Madrid

Madrid, Maine, not to be confused with Madrid Spain, was an old town in East Central Franklin. The former town is now within the unorganized territory of East Central Franklin. This town was first settled in 1807 to 1808 but wasn’t incorporated as a town until 1836. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because this beautiful town was named after Madrid in Spain. Wheat was the main crop for farmers and settlers. Mills were also built because of the town’s falls in the Sandy River. This small town produced many carriages and lumber.

The population of this town never exceeded more than 437. It took a massive decline in the late 20th century when younger people moved to larger cities. The government of Madrid was dissolved in 2000 and the town was disincorporated. Unlike the other ghost towns on this list, some people still live in the former town. The total population in 200 was 173.

Madrid. Maine. USA
Madrid is a former town in Maine.


6. Perkins Township/Swan Island

The Ferry between Swan Island and Richmond, ME; from a c. 1908 postcard.
Perkins Township is made up of Swan Island, Little Swan Island and a few tidal flats.

©from a c. 1908 postcard/public domain – License

Imagine coming across an abandoned island. Can you picture it? You won’t have to use your imagination for long. Perkins Township, also known as Swan Island, is an abandoned ghost town near Sagadahoc County. This Erie island has been abandoned for nearly a century and hasn’t had a population since the 1940s. But why? What happened to this town and island?

The island is about 1,500 acres and is home to many protected animals. Long before European settlers moved to the island, its natural resources were used by Native Americans. The area was settled on and off by notable people, including Captain James Whidden in 1750. Thomas H. Perkins and Jane Dumaresq also spent a lot of time on the island, mostly in summer. Previously, this town was home to over 100 residents that participated in farming and shipbuilding. The island also had many buildings including a schoolhouse. Although the town was disincorporated in 1918, it wasn’t completely abandoned until the 1940s. The last wave of people left the island because of the effects of the Great Depression and the ongoing pollution of the Kennebec River.

Honorable Mention: Evergreen Valley Ski Resort

Although the Evergreen Valley Ski Resort isn’t a ghost town, it deserves an honorable mention. There aren’t many abandoned ski resorts in the United States, especially those with unique stories. This ski resort had large plants to become a four-season resort community but ultimately closed its doors forever. It’s likely the skiing company bit off more than it could chew and was doomed from the start.

This small ski resort operated for ten years. Construction began in 1970. Evergreen Valley Ski Resort opened in 1972 but closed in 1982. It featured a 1,050-foot vertical drop. The remains of the resort are located on Adams Mountain in the White Mountain National Forest. What’s most surprising about this abandoned ski resort is that the buildings remain. You can still see the buildings in person, although they are filled with graffiti and falling apart. This small ski resort looks like it’s been frozen in time, especially since they left everything behind, including paperwork and furniture. Although most things were left behind, the lifts were removed in the 1990s.

Summary of 7 Ghost Towns in Maine

NumberGhost TownLocation
2Riceville/Township 39Penobscot and Hancock counties.
3Freeman TownshipFranklin County
4Flagstaff TownshipSomerset County
5MadridFranklin County
6Perkins Township/Swan IslandKennebec River between Richmond and Dresden in Sagadahoc County
7Evergreen Valley Ski ResortStoneham
Summary Table of 7 Ghost Towns in Maine

The Featured Image

Chesuncook Lake. Maine. USA
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About the Author

I have been a professional content writer for 6 years now, with a large focus on nature, gardening, food, and animals. I graduated from college with an A.A, but I am still pursuing a Bachelors of Marketing degree. When I am not writing, you can find me in front of my TV with a blanket, snacks, and my fur babies.

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