Portland Cryptozoology Museum to Move to Bangor by 2024

The founder of a Portland museum that tells the stories of ‘cryptids’ like Bigfoot, the Yeti and the Loch Ness Monster is planning to move all operations of the museum and its associated nonprofit to Bangor d 2024.

Loren Coleman said he would move the International Museum of Cryptozoology, which has become an offbeat Portland tourist attraction, to a building on Broadway in Bangor that he called a “hidden treasure”. The announcement comes less than a year after a bookstore opened in Bangor.

Coleman, a world-renowned expert on cryptids – animals whose existence is unproven – intends to purchase the building at 490 Broadway in Bangor, the former site of the Bangor Redemption and Beverage Center, and to consolidate all of its locations into one location in Bangor.

Coleman opened the International Museum of Cryptozoology, or ICM, in Portland in 2003. Since then it has expanded twice, first on Congress Street and then to a much larger space at the Thompson’s Point development on the river. Fore in 2016. He presented an ever-changing selection of the thousands of cryptozoological artifacts collected by Coleman over the years.

Affordability drove Coleman to Bangor in 2021, when he bought the building at 585 Hammond St., where earlier this year he opened an ICM bookstore and gift shop full of unique artifacts like a mermaid from the Fiji and a replica of the Minnesota Iceman. He also moved full time to Bangor with his wife, Jennifer.

Now he has decided to move the whole kit and kaboodle from Portland to Queen City.

“Portland’s lease is up in early 2026, and this hidden gem combines our need for uniqueness and affordability in a wholly owned property in our new hometown,” he said.

Coleman said he was struck by the unique architecture of the building, which was built in 1945 and is located near the Interstate 95 interchange on Broadway, across from an Irving gas station.

Coleman said it was an example of Streamline Moderne architecture, a minimalist style of Art Deco design from the 1930s and 1940s that emphasized curved lines, elegance, and modernity. It was most often used in commercial and public buildings, as well as in the design of cars, trains and planes.

An artistic representation of the future International Museum of Cryptozoology, which will be located at 490 Broadway in Bangor.

“Discovering this remarkable rare example of Streamline Moderne architecture from 1945 that still stands in Bangor, Maine in 2022 is like finding a near-extinct okapi living in the boreal forests of the American North Woodlands,” Coleman said, referring to the endangered African land mammal. . “There is no doubt in my mind that we must do everything we can to save him.”

Prior to the Bottle Redemption Center, 490 Broadway was home to several taxi companies, including Dick’s Taxi and Town Taxi. Before that, it housed a dry cleaning business and a used car parking lot.

The building has been empty since the end of 2018, when the redemption center closed. In 2021, a Skowhegan businessman announced plans to open a car wash there despite outcry from neighbors in the nearby Little City neighborhood. Later that year, however, the project was scrapped.

The former Bangor Redemption and Beverage Center on Broadway in an April 2021 file photo. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik/BDN

Coleman has studied cryptids for almost five decades. He has written over 40 books on various cryptozoological topics, has consulted, and been interviewed for movies, TV shows, and documentaries.

Work to move ICM operations to Bangor won’t begin until late 2023, Coleman said, well after construction began in the spring of an overhaul of the I-95 interchange at Broadway, as well as the replacement of the Viaduct 95, a project that is expected to take at least two years to complete. The Hammond Street Bookstore will remain open for the near future.

Correction: A previous version of this story misrepresented the year the museum lease ended in Portland.

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