Architect to talk on history of The Turrets

Architect Roc Caivano talks about the history of The Turrets, built in 1895.
Architect Roc Caivano talks about the history of The Turrets, built in 1895.
Posted Jan. 09, 2013, at 2:49 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 09, 2013, at 3:18 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 4:10 p.m. to 4:10 p.m.

Location: College of the Atlantic - McCormick Lecture Hall, 105 Eden Street, Bar Harbor, Maine

For more information: Donna Gold; 207-288-5015;

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Architect Roc Caivano will discuss the history of College of the Atlantic’s most historic building, The Turrets, at 4:10 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, in the McCormick Lecture Hall at COA. The talk is part of the Human Ecology Forum.

A celebrated summer cottage built of granite in 1895, The Turrets was a gift from John Josiah Emery of Cincinnati for his bride, Lela Alexander, just 18 years old on her wedding day. 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.

The building survived the 1947 fire, a 1950s renovation and subsequent neglect. When COA bought the Oblate Seminary property in the early 1970s, with it came The Turrets, stately, but abandoned and in terrible disrepair.

Caivano, who has been designing homes and buildings on the island for more than 25 years, was a recent graduate of the Yale School of Architecture when he came to COA to teach architecture and design in 1974. Seeing the state of The Turrets, he and a team of students, staff and faculty, began raising funds to restore the building and renovate it for college use.

On Dec. 24, 1974, The Turrets became the first structure in Bar Harbor to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The next year, thanks in part to a gift from the local Emery family and a grant from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, the college was able to undertake a massive restoration.

With additional effort over the years, The Turrets became COA’s central administrative and classroom building. Today, again, it is in need of repair. Caivano’s talk covers the building’s colorful history from Gilded Age elegance to the heart of a nationally known environmental college.

For information about Caivano’s talk, contact Lynn Boulger at or 207-288-5015.