History of Poland Spring
Poland Spring’s Heritage
Since 1845, Poland Spring has strived to be a good neighbor, a good employer, and a valued member of the Maine communities where we live and work.
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 began knocking on their door looking for lodging. This was the beginning of a tradition of inn-keeping that still exists today.
The family began operating an inn on the property and by 1797 opened a brand-new building, the Wentworth Ricker Inn (later known as the Mansion House). During the next half century the family established the inn as a hospitable stagecoach stop and lodging house, now known as the Poland Spring Resort.
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 an iconic 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 popular 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.
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.
In 2001, after a three-year restoration project, the original bottling facility and spring house were transformed into the Poland Spring Museum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 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. • FMI: Please call (207) 998-7143 or email [email protected].
New Life for Poland Spring Water
After tumultuous economic times, including two world wars and the Great Depression, Perrier, and then eventually Nestlé Waters North America took ownership of Poland Spring in the 1970’s, and through an influx of new ideas and capital, reestablished Poland Spring® Brand Water as the leading spring water brand in the United States.