This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you book or purchase through these links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.You probably have heard of Stephen King if you live in the United States or like to watch movies or read books. Many of the famous author’s books have been turned into blockbuster films. In 2019 alone there has been a remake of Pet Sematary and currently just released in theaters is It: Chapter Two, the follow-up to the record-breaking 2017 remake, It. So, for fans of the bestselling horror author such as myself, why not take a Stephen King tour in his hometown of Bangor, Maine? Yes, that’s right…a Stephen King tour exists!
This tour can, of course, be done any time of year. However, I highly recommend it in October because what else makes for better Halloween fun than touring filming locations and learning about the personal life of perhaps the greatest horror author in history? Nothing. Yep, that’s what I thought too. So let’s get to it. Allow me to show you how to get your Stephen King tour on!
Bangor, Maine-Discovering Stephen King
I have visited Bangor, Maine a couple of times as my cousin lives in the area. Even though I’ve been reading Stephen King books since I was a teenager and I’ve seen most of the movies, I had not previously heard of Bangor and knew almost nothing about the personal side of the author behind the highly-engaging books-turned-films.
So when I visited my cousin in the month of October and learned that it was the home of Stephen King where I could take an entire Stephen King tour that included visiting filming locations and even seeing his home, I was 100% in! My cousin’s husband is also a big SK (as he is commonly known) fan too so he joined me on the tour and we made it an SK day!
SK Tours of Maine
Stu Tinker made a Stephen King tour of “Derry” possible with his SK Tours of Maine. The Bangor native and his wife, Penney (name coincidental), owned and operated Betts Bookstore for twenty years where they specialized in all things Stephen King. For the last nine years of their ownership, their entire stock was Stephen King only. The Tinkers received support from the Kings and became known as the premier place to go for Stephen King memorabilia.
After selling the bookstore, Stu and Penney concentrated on giving Stephen King tours in Bangor. The decision proved to be a smart one as the tours became quite popular and have been taken by visitors from all over the world.
Stephen King Tour-Bangor, Maine
The following are some of the places you will see on the tour.
Mount Hope Cemetery
Mount Hope Cemetery is where the original Pet Sematary was filmed. I am aware that a remake was released earlier this year for the movie’s 30th anniversary, but it was filmed in Canada.
If you recall (or don’t recall but are interested in knowing), Mr. King makes a cameo appearance in Pet Sematary as a minister conducting Gage’s funeral. The location is at the top of this hill’s stone staircase (on the State Street side of the cemetery).
This is the location in the film where they buried Gage the first time.
Does the name Randall Flagg sound familiar to anyone? To Stephen King fans, it should. It’s the name of Stephen King’s “bad guy” and has appeared in as many as nine of his books.
On the tour, we learned that the villain’s name came from the R.M. Flagg on this kitchen store’s red building. Mr. King has apparently never done business with the store. However, he drove back and forth on Route 2 from Bangor to University of Maine, Orono campus and wrote about a lot of the things he saw along the way for the entire four years!
Bangor Water Works Apartments
The Bangor Water Works Apartments served as the rat-infested textile mill in the film Graveyard Shift. 500 rats were used in the scene and when they moved film production, two individuals had to round up all of the rats for Jackson Labs. Because the rats were biting, the task took the guys three extra days to complete!
East Maine Medical Center
To my knowledge (if anyone knows differently, let me know), the East Maine Medical Center in Bangor isn’t a film location. However, it probably is my favorite story pertaining to the personal side of Mr. King.
Stephen read bedtime stories to the kids in the pediatric wing. No one knew for 3 of the 4 years he read to the children except his family and the staff who would sneak him in.
He also started a fundraiser for many improvements such as painting rooms and installing TVs. This raised 1.8 million dollars and Mr. King personally matched the amount. He and his wife, Tabitha, were also behind the establishment of a Ronald McDonald House allowing parents who couldn’t afford to stay in Bangor the ability to stay with their kids while they were hospitalized.
WKIT Radio Station
Stephen King owns his own radio station WKIT (well, of course!) 100.3 FM or Stephen King’s Rock Station. The “K” is for King and the IT…well, come on now. 🤡🎈
KidsPeace National Center
What is now the KidsPeace National Center was Stephen King’s business office for years. The address, 49 Florida Avenue, would come up as his residential address and people would flock to it only to realize that he did not, in fact, reside there.
Shawn T. Mansfield Stadium
“…this is a field that a King built” is one of many things upon which Shawn T. Mansfield Stadium prides itself.
Way before Mr. King built a 1.2 million dollar stadium on the property which he donated to the city of Bangor, it was just a grassy field. This grassy field served as the inspiration for the park in Mr. King’s book, Thinner.
Left: Stephen King was a coach of the 1989 Maine State Little League Champion team Right: Stephen and Tabitha King’s name appears on the home plate since they donated the money to fund the park.
Stephen King’s House
Cruising by Stephen King’s house is a treat for anyone, fan or not. It’s quite the unusual, quirky house and definitely fits Mr. King’s personality. In addition to the house number of 47, the black wrought iron gates also feature spiders as well as a “K” with a three-headed dragon looking over it!
Pay attention to the detail on the wrought iron gates!
IT Locations-Stephen King Tour
The Infamous Drain
Say hello to the drain that gave Mr. King the inspiration for It. The infamous drain at the corner of Union and Jackson Streets looks like any other ordinary drain in the city but not like the one featured in the 1990 film.
Did Pennywise show up to say hi??? 😱🤡🎈
Thomas Hill Standpipe
The Thomas Hill Standpipe was the inspiration for the haunted water tower in It. Constructed in 1897, the wrought iron tank has a wooden frame and holds 1.75 million gallons of water. The tank stands 50 feet high and has a diameter of 75 feet.
The park bench in “Memorial Park” where Mr. King is said to have written most of the book, It, which was published in 1986.
Meet Me at the Sewers
This cement structure built into a small hill is the location where the kids meet in the movie, It, before they head into the sewers.
Paul Bunyan Statue
That giant Paul Bunyan statue that came to life in It and attacked Richie? Yep, this is it…no pun intended although it would have sounded cooler with intent, right?
Bangor Public Library
The Bangor Public Library appeared as the Town Hall building of “Derry” in It. Derry is, of course, fictional but Mr. King has stated that Bangor, Maine served as his inspiration for the famous fictional town.
Okay SK fans, pretty interesting stuff, right? I loved what all I learned about Mr. King. I was already in love with his writing but I totally have a newfound appreciation for him after learning more about his personal life. If you are an SK fan, a movie buff, or just looking for cool Halloween fun, I definitely recommend this Stephen King tour!
Hungry after getting your SK on? My guide to Maine-ly eating will give you ten options to solve that problem!
Have you been to Bangor? Are you a Stephen King fan? What is your favorite movie? What location on this tour would you be most excited about?
‘Til next time…