Poland Water pamphlet, circa 1880
Ask a lot of people in the Northeast and they might think that Poland Spring Water is available all over the country. Although it is primarily distributed in the region, it once was marketed globally with offices in Cairo, Manila, London, Paris, Chicago, Boston and elsewhere. But - it all started with distribution in Poland, Auburn-Lewiston and Portland Maine.
Patriarch Hiram Ricker
Hiram Ricker had suffered from dyspepsia for much of his adult life. In 1844 while in the fields below the Mansion House, he began to drink freely form the spring on the hillside. After a few days, his ailments subsided and he believed that the mineral spring had curative powers. He then began sharing his spring water with neighbors and friends and the next year in 1845, he began selling it in the community. In 1859, as doctors began prescribing the water, Hiram made his first commercial sales of his water.
Original springhouse, circa 1890
By the turn of the 20th century there were over 80 commercially sold spring waters in the state of Maine alone. In 1906-1907, an advanced and modern facility was constructed over the original spring and adjacent, to replace the wooden structure that housed the waterworks for decades. Designed by Harry C. Wilkinson, the building used modern materials like Carrera glass to ensure a clean and efficient bottling facility.
Construction of former bottling plant, 1906
Interior of bottling plant
450 cases of water could be bottled in a 10 hour shift
Used for seven decades, the buildings were replaced by a modern facility at the edge of the property and were left to their own devices. After years of neglect, the water company proceeded to invest over a million dollars in restoring the facility to their previous grandeur. Today, the buildings are open as a museum and as a conference and special events space.
Original springhouse and bottling plant during restoration process