Architect Roc Caivano will discuss the history of College of the Atlantic’s most historic building, The Turrets. The talk, on Tuesday, Jan. 15, will be at 4:10 p.m. in the college’s McCormick Lecture Hall as 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 1950’s renovation and subsequent neglect. When COA bought the Oblate Seminary property in the early seventies, 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 December 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 more information about Caivano’s talk on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 4:10 p.m. in the McCormick Lecture Hall, contact Lynn Boulger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 288-5015.
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 www.coa.edu.