Night shot of the Poland Spring House, circa 1915
It was the crown jewel of the property and had a lasting legacy even after its unfortunate demise in 1975. The Poland Spring House, constructed to meet the needs and demands of the increased interest in Poland Spring, was built in 1876 as a small summer hotel. Within a little over a decade, the 100 person hotel would be added onto and expanded and by 1903 would play host to several hundred guests each day throughout the summer months.
The Poland Spring House in 1876
E.P. Ricker, after taking over the operations of the resort from his father, Hiram, saw the need for an additional hotel on the property. Growing popularity of the spring water meant more visitors and the Mansion House was unable to continue to support the increased demand. The Rickers took on a partner from Auburn to help construct the large hotel and bought him out a few years later.
After the extension of one of the wings, circa 1890
The other extended wing, circa 1890
It seemed that annually the Rickers were building onto their grand hotel. Visitors throughout the east coast as well as around the globe continued to flock to Ricker Hill. Music and writing rooms, sitting areas, a water counter, the pro shop, a photography studio, bowling alley, locker rooms, additional dining space and much more were added to the hotel.
Conventions and conferences, weddings, reunions and other special events continued to be held at the hotel throughout the first half of the 20th century. When the Job Corps leased the property from 1966-1969, the hotel became the dormitory for the women in training.
The Poland Spring House, mid 1960s
After the closure of the Job Corps, the building was closed down and used only for the Yogi's TM Conference, held in the summer of 1970. Mel and Cyndi Robbins hoped to bring the building back to its former glory but on July 3, 1975, a disastrous fire ripped through the grand lady and destroyed it within a few short hours.
July 3, 1975
After the disastrous fire in 1975, Jim Aikman, the news director of Channel 8 WMTW, established the Poland Spring Preservation Society which is still in operation today. His vision was to preserve and restore the Maine State Building and All Souls Chapel which were being used for other purposes than their original intent. The Society was formed in 1976 and took over ownership of the two buildings in 1977 after a deed gift from Saul Feldman and Mel Robbins.