|Map of Marblehead, MA, insipration for Lovecraft's Kingsport|
Previously, in "How Zenopus Met His Doom", I discussed similarities between Holmes' Sample Dungeon & Lovecraft's short story, The Festival, set in the fictional New England town of Kingsport. The geography of the Sample Dungeon also fits well with Marblehead, the real-world town on which Kingsport is based. Holmes describes his wizard's tower as "on the low hills overlooking Portown" and "close to the sea cliff west of the town, and appropriately, next door to the graveyard". Marblehead has several cemeteries in the hills overlooking the town, including near the sea to the west of the town (Marblehead is on a peninsula so the sea is to both the east and west of the town). I have no idea whether Holmes himself was aware of this, but he was familiar with books about the Cthulhu Mythos, as mentioned in his letter in The Dragon #16. Regardless, the similarities make Kingsport/Marblehead a useful model for a map of Portown.
In addition to The Festival, Lovecraft's fictional Kingsport is also the setting for two other Lovecraft stories: The Terrible Old Man (1921) and The Strange High House in the Mist (1931). Lovecraft scholar Joshi notes that this later tale is also inspired by two other New England locations (Magnolia; Mother Ann) having high sea cliffs, as well as "a passage in Dunsany's Chronicles of Rodriguez (1922) about the home of a wizard on the top of a crag" (Note by S. T. Joshi in The Dreams in the Witch House, pg 431). An excellent graphic adaptation of Strange High House can be read here.
Update - An 1872 map of Marblehead, showing the Waterside Cemetery to the west:
|Marblehead, 1872 map, click for larger view|