The Ricker Family
In 1794, the Ricker family moved to Poland, Maine from Alfred, Maine, after a land swap with the Shaker community. Shortly after their arrival, travelers knocked on their door looking for a place to stay overnight. This was the beginning of a tradition of inn-keeping that still exists today.
The Rickers built the Wentworth Ricker Inn - later known as the Mansion House - in 1797 and during the next half century established the inn as a hospitable stagecoach stop and lodging house.
In 1844, Hiram Ricker, the grandson of the first Ricker settler, was drinking from the spring on the property while overseeing farm workers. Hiram had been afflicted by dyspepsia as a young man and after drinking regularly from the spring for a week he felt that he had been cured of his stomach ailments. Soon, he began to share the water with neighbors and friends and sell the clean, refreshing spring water in clay demi-johns for 5 cents per gallon.
The Rickers began selling the water commercially throughout New England in 1859. Most of the water was originally sold in barrels .By 1876, they began to bottle the spring water in a type of glass bottle known as a Moses bottle.
Over the next 25 years, Poland Spring Water received recognition at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago and earned a grand prize at the St. Louis Fair of 1904. This recognition propelled Poland Spring Water to international fame. The company established offices in Boston, New York, London, Paris, Cairo and Manila, and the famous water was served on Pullman cars throughout the United States, on transatlantic ships and even on zeppelins.
The Rickers were also instrumental in early efforts to promote tourism in Maine. Hiram Ricker’s youngest son, Hiram Weston Ricker, became a founder of what later became the Maine Tourism Association. He also went on to establish the Maine Automobile Association.
New Life for Poland Spring Water
After tumultuous economic times, including two world wars and the Great Depression, Perrier, and then eventually Nestle Waters North America took ownership of Poland Spring in 1980, and through an influx of new ideas and capital, reestablished Poland Spring Brand Water as the leading spring water brand in the United States.
Today, Poland Spring employs more than 800 Maine people in full-time and seasonal jobs. Poland Spring operates three bottling plants in Poland Spring, Hollis and Kingfield, Maine with additional spring sources in Fryeburg, Poland, Denmark, Dallas Plantation, Pierce Pond Township.
Poland Spring Preservation Park
Beginning in 1845, Maine settlers and dignitaries flocked to Poland Spring for its picturesque setting and for, as legend held, its restorative spring waters. In the early 1900s a state of the art bottling facility and spring house were constructed using Spanish architectural elements.
The original bottling facility and spring house is now the Poland Spring Museum, housing a dedication to the growth of Poland Spring Brand natural spring water. After a three-year restoration project, the facilities, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, were faithfully transformed into an informative museum open to the public. Through scientific displays and vintage memorabilia, the museum offers a close-up look at one of Maine’s oldest industries. Additionally, the park includes over 4 miles of groomed recreational trails available for use year round dawn to dusk.
Hours: Memorial Day to Columbus Day • Thursday- Saturday, 9a.m. – 4p.m. • Sunday 9a.m. – 1p.m. • Monday 9a.m. – 4p.m. • FMI: Please call (207) 998-7143 or firstname.lastname@example.org
115 Preservation Way
Poland Spring, Maine
From the South
Take Exit 63 off the Maine Turnpike (I-95). Turn left at the traffic light onto Route 115, then right onto Route 26A, which becomes Route 26. Proceed on Route 26 through Gray and New Gloucester, past the Shaker Village. Approximately 1/2 mile after the intersection with Route 122, look on the right for the sign for Poland Spring Inn and Resort. Turn into the complex, and turn right at the top of the hill. Follow the signs (straight) for Poland Spring Preservation Park. After passing through a set of white gates, the Poland Spring Museum is at the bottom of the hill on the left; parking is on the right.
From the North
Take Exit 75 off the Maine Turnpike (I-95) and turn right at the traffic light onto Route 202. At the traffic light just after the Irving station, turn right onto Kittyhawk Ave. At the stop sign, turn left onto Hotel Road, which becomes Route 122. Turn right onto Route 26. After approximately 1/2 mile, look on the right for the sign for Poland Spring Inn and Resort. Follow directions as above.