Salamandra Tower

This tower house, based on no particular regional style, was built on a small island near Boothbay Harbor in Maine in the 1920s by Jacobi Salamandra, who had made his fortune as a rum-runner during Prohibition. It is now part of the Salamandra Yacht Club, and is used as a clubhouse and offices.

Cross Section and Site Plan

There are five stories in the main section, with a sixth to the angle tower. The vaulted basement is the wine cellar. Above it, the 'dining room' is now an anteroom, the 'great hall' is a saloon bar, and the 'solar' a private meeting room. The top floor, or 'garret' contains offices. Main entrance is up an external stair, with a portcullis room above it.

Schematic Plan of Salamandra Island:

Floor Plans

(The plans are labelled based on their original functions when the castle was built as a private retreat or 'country house'.)

The basement area is a few feet below ground surface and contains four vaulted cellars. Access is via an external door and also by mural stair from the kitchen. There is a well in one corner of the wall leading to a fresh-water aquifer under the sea floor; a well-known dowser was brought in from Italy to find this unusual source of fresh water.

The first floor kitchen is still in use as such, but is now ancillary to the bar service in the great hall on the floor above; the dining room is now used as a reception area, with the porter's lodge as a cloak room, and the parlor as the main office for the club.

What was grandiosely called the Great Hall is now a saloon bar, with the bar itself running along the lower side next to the snug and a small dining area along the upper side by the alcoved windows. The drawing room is a small private bar where high-stakes poker is played. An arcade forms a small lobby with access to the poker room, the main spiral staircase, and the card room (pinochle, bridge, and the like). The portcullis is operated from a small mural chamber.

The solar is now the principal meeting room for the executives of the yacht club, where important matters involving membership, finances, etc. are discussed. The master bedroom is now a private parlor, and the two small bedrooms are respectively the archive room and the trophy room. The bathroom has been converted into a sauna for the more hedonistic members!

The garret floor is the main office area for the yacht club -- the central main office, two small archive rooms, two clerical offices, and the chief executive's office in the tower wing. Access to the two parapet walks is at this level.

At the top of the wing is the 'muniment room' or library, where important documents and rare books relating to yachting are stored. It is surmounted by a parapet walk where telescopes are placed to view the harbor and its shipping.

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