Historic Poland Spring


The story of the chapel begins in the 1880s, almost three decades before the first trowel of dirt was turned by toddler Garret A. Hobart III.

The head waiter, Julius Gassauser, was a priest in training and he and members of the staff were desirous of a proper place to hold religious services. Although they had use of the music hall in the Poland Spring House or other places, they wanted something was dedicated to holding religious services for both Protestants and Catholics. The Ricker family agreed to the request and the staff began to fundraise.

In 1896, Sadie Ricker, the fifth child of Hiram and Janette Bolster Ricker, began to ask area community members if they would like their children enrolled in  Sunday School program at the resort. Initially meeting in the Ricker-built schoolhouse on the edge of the property, next to the Ricker cemetery, the Sunday School also took an interest in the movement undertaken by the staff.

Aunt Sadie Ricker's Sunday School

The resort guests many times took upon themselves a project or program to support, whether for the Spanish American War or maintaining a free bed at the local hospital in Lewiston. In the early 20th century, they decided to commit themselves to supporting the efforts being made by the staff in constructing a pace of worship on the grounds. Led by several notable guests including the widow of Garret A. Hobart I, the former vice-president under William McKinley, as well as E.P Ricker's wife, children's carnivals and other events were held to raise the sum of money necessary for the edifice.

By 1909, the fundraising had risen to total of $15,000 and with a matching contribution by the family, the groundbreaking ceremony was held in September. The golf course, which had since 1896 been using parts of the property adjacent to the Maine State Building where the All Souls Chapel now sits, was redesigned and the hole relocated.


Ceremonial groundbreaking by Garret A. Hobart III, September 1909


The granite chapel with slate roof and copper accents was designed by Boston area architect G. Henri Desmond. The Ricker family also worked the Desmond on alterations to the Mt. Kineo House on Moosehead Lake during the same time period. There are no records accounting to payment to Desmond for the chapel rendering.


The chapel under construction, 1911-1912

When the chapel was opened in 1912, it was opened as an interdenominational place of worship for use by Catholics and Protestants. Guests contributed much of the interior furnishings and all of the memorial hand-painted windows placed in the chapel were sponsored by guests or relatives of longtime guests. The 1926 E. M. Skinner pipe organ (Opus #564) replaced an earlier pump organ installed shortly after the chapel was constructed.