The year was 1984. McDonald’s was looking to build a location in the town of Freeport, Maine. There was only one problem: The Freeport building design restrictions were strict, and the town wanted the fast-food giant to maintain the area’s aesthetic. In other words: No golden arches. McDonald’s solution? Remodel an existing structure.
They chose the Gore House, built by a wealthy local merchant, William Gore, around 1850. The town was split on whether to let the fast-food chain do this, but ultimately gave the go-ahead. It opened in December of 1984. The restaurant retained its style, which the Freeport Historical Society describes as “a mix of Greek Revival and Italianate architecture.” One could walk in and think that this was just a local posh tavern, like the one across the street. However, this restaurant doesn’t serve fine steak and craft beer; it serves Big Macs and Coca-Cola.
While it is not the only literal McMansion in the United States (there’s another in New Hyde Park, New York), it is nonetheless unusual.
Know Before You Go
The McDonald's is located north of the main shopping area of Freeport, on the corner of Main Street (U.S. Route 1) and Mallett Drive (Maine Routes 125 and 136, connection to I-295). Take Exit 22 off I-295. Turn right, and the restaurant should be not far down the road on the right.