The Early History of

Native Americans partaking of the
Poland Spring waters
(Illustrated History of Poland Spring, 1914)

"There is positive evidence of the fact that the Poland Spring was well known to the aborigines of the country, and that they must also have known something of its curative properties is alike presumable, for on this vicinity indian relics have been exhumed that comprise arrow heads, tomahawks and stone tools for various uses."

"The first settler built a dwelling in this vicinity in 1779, being followed by others in 1782, which dates the discovery of the spring by the white man. During the year 1783 a preacher from Lebanon, NY, came into the neighborhood preaching the Shaker doctrines of Ann Lee. All in this vicinity were converted except one family, and so the Shaker settlement was formed on the Poland Spring property." 
(Illustrated History of Poland Spring, 1914)

View of Range Pond and the
White Mountains from Ricker Hill
(Pamphlet, Mansion House, ca. 1913)

On the Road to Danville, ME
(Detroit Photo Collection # 010454)

"In 1775, Jabez Ricker...moved from Great Falls to Alfred, Maine, where he purchased a large farm and erected a sawmill and grist mill."

"In 1793 he had occasion to visit the property on which the [Poland Spring Resort] now stands, at that time an outlying hillside farm belonging to the Shakers, and he was so impressed with its possibilities that, the next year, he secured it in exchange for his property at Alfred...and with his family took possession."

"The first morning following his arrival two strangers appeared at his door seeking refreshment, which was given them. There seemed something prophetic in this, for immediately it became a stopping-place for travelers going either to or from Portland, twenty-five miles distant, a fair day's travel in those days."

"Recognizing at once the geographical advantage this location possessed, Wenthworth, son of Jabez Ricker, set about vigorously and soon succeeded in having a country highroad put through [now Rte 26], which passed over his father's land. Having secured this, he began at once to erect a tavern beside this highway."
(Pamphlet, Mansion House, ca. 1913)

When completed, this tavern was known as the Wentworth Ricker Inn. It was around this modest, isolated inn that the Poland Spring resort grew to international fame. Over the years the inn was expanded and remodeled and eventually became known as the Mansion House.

Brian Harris