December 15, 2017
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Hard Hat Tours of Turrets Renovation at COA

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COA's iconic Turrets

BAR HARBOR, ME – The public is invited to take a tour of the Turrets Renovation Project at College of the Atlantic. COA’s Director of Buildings and Grounds, Millard Dority, will take guests up on the scaffolding for a bird’s eye view of this remarkable National Historic landmark. The tours, which will last an hour and include coffee with President Collins, are at 9:30 AM on July 26th, August 9th, and August 16th.

A celebrated summer cottage built in 1895, Turrets was a gift from John Josiah Emery of Cincinnati for his bride, Lela Alexander, just 18 years old on her wedding day. Bruce Price, the architect of the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, designed the building. Construction was a massive undertaking—not the least of which was quarrying the stone from near Eagle Lake and transporting it by draft horse to the shores of Frenchman Bay. When COA bought the Oblate Seminary property in the early seventies, it came with Turrets, stately, but abandoned and in terrible disrepair. The building survived the 1947 fire, a 1950’s renovation – and subsequent neglect.

On December 24, 1974, Turrets became the first structure in Bar Harbor to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With additional efforts over the years, Turrets became COA’s central administrative and classroom building, but as history tends to repeat itself, the massive structure is once again in need of repair. Reconstruction began in April 2013 with the immediate goal to reconstruct and preserve the outer envelope for the next century. The College is replacing 99 windows, over 20 doors, 7 chimneys, and the slate roof. In addition, the entire exterior of the building needs to be repointed.

Architect Roc Caivano, who has been designing on the island for more than 25 years, came to COA to teach architecture and design in 1974 and has a longstanding appreciation of Turrets.

“The Turrets has been like a trusted old friend,” Caivano said. “It survived the 1947 fire and was the place of refuge after the fire that destroyed Kaelber Hall in 1981. The heirs neglected it and real estate investors that held the building before COA took ownership in 1974. It is significant in Bar Harbor’s history and a significant example of American Residential Architecture. COA is renovating and renewing this historic treasure just as it works to save and renew the environmental treasures around us.”

To reserve your hard hat, please contact Lynn Boulger at 207-801-5620 or Space is limited. Please specify which date you would like to attend. More information about the project can be found online:

Directions: Drive to the South Entrance of the COA campus. Take a left following the signs to Turrets. Park in the commuter/staff parking at the end of the parking lot.

About College of the Atlantic
College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world. For more, visit

TOUR: July 26th, August 10th, and August 17th at 9:30 a.m., the public is invited to take a tour of the Turrets Renovation Project at College of the Atlantic. The tours will last two hours and include coffee with President Collins. Turrets, 105 Eden Street, Bar Harbor, ME. or 207-801-5620.