Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Maine: The House That Wasn’t There

This is a sad tale of a family that lost three sons in a fire. 

Edward Grove * owned an opulent Italian style white mansion in Northport, Maine. He was related to Edwin W. Grove who was the “Patent Medicine King” who had made millions from holding these patents. 

Edward and his wife left their three young sons under the care of two elderly caretakers while they went to a Boston hospital, so Mrs. Grove could give birth to their fourth child. 

Tragically, on December 16, 1954, a fire spread quickly through the mansion killing the Grove’s sons, Edwin aged 8, David aged 6 and Geoffrey aged 4. The two caretakers also died.

After the fire, all that remained of the home was blackened toys; pieces of the foundation, stone stairs that led to the entrance to the property, and one of the two tall chimneys that stood at either side of the home. 

One article written by The Lincoln Star described how “flames fanned by the winds from the Atlantic Ocean leveled the two-story showplace, in less than an hour.” Northport is located in Waldo County, which borders on the Atlantic Ocean.

Out of town newspaper article that described fire.

Today the area where the mansion burnt to the ground is still a vacant lot. Local residents claim that for years after this tragedy, they heard the cries of the children coming from where the mansion once stood. 

Several years after the tragedy, a family on vacation took a picture of what remains of the home. When they looked at their photographs later, they discovered that they had captured the mansion as it looked before it was destroyed. 

Since 1990, several more photos have been taken of the vacant lot that also shows “the house that wasn’t there.”

One of these photographs is displayed in a local Northport Diner. I have never seen this photo. I found this story interesting--it is not often people claim a phantom house--there are many phantom ships on the other hand. The difference here is this house is not seen with the naked eye but only in photos.

*  This story is well known by people in Maine. But the families name which was Grove has been changed to Cosgrove with the mansion being called Cosgrove Mansion.

The area where the mansion burnt down is kept private. There is no road name on maps etc. Since it is on an unnamed narrow one-lane road off Route 1 in the small town of Northport people, just look for, odd old rundown stone stairs that look like they were once elaborate. 

If you walk to the top of these stairs and go through an old broken chain link fence, you will spot the vacant lot.

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