The Executive House at Poland Spring, ca. 1990
(The Inns at Poland Spring)

Recent History

" The decade of the 1970's began with the resort in limbo: The Women's Job Corps left the buildings in various states of disrepair; only two of which were still operable, The Executive House, and the Poland Spring Motor Lodge, which had continued to be open to the public during the training program. The grand Poland Spring Hotel was vacant, and The Mansion House, the oldest of the hotels, had been vacant for many years."

PS_Inn_1976_thumb.jpg (8293 bytes)
The Executive House
at Poland Spring, ca. 1976

"Operating the hotels at this time was Saul Feldman, a well-known hotel manager from the Boston area. In 1971, he leased all of the buildings except the Motor Lodge to the Yogi Mahareshi Mahesh, the same man the Beatles had sought for inspiration in the late 1960's. He brought nearly 1000 of his followers to the resort for lessons in transcendentalism and meditation."

"Melvin Robbins of Great Northern Land was sent to Ricker Hill in the fall of 1971 to survey the grounds and buildings. He reported back of a resort in poor repair, but the golf course was of exceptional quality. Great Northern land then planned for the destruction of most of the buildings including the Poland Spring House and the Executive House to make way for luxury condominium units which were to be placed around the golf course. However, geological surveys...revealed that the thin layer of loam over quartzite bedrock would not make new construction feasible. The resort was saved by its geology"
(Poland Bicentennial, 1795-1995)

But while there, Mel Robbins fell under the same spell that entranced Jabez Ricker so many years before. Despite having no experience managing a hotel, he leased the Executive House and opened it for the summer season.

The Executive House, ca. 1990
(The Inns at Poland Spring)

"Melvin Robbins returned to Poland Spring in the spring of 1973 with a plan for getting the resort back on its feet. By trimming the overhead costs involved and offering an extremely low price for the room and four meals, a new style resort was born. He turned a small profit in 1973."

"1974 brought some adjustments to the new resort for low budgets. Advertisement and word of mouth kept the Executive House full with overflow guests staying at the Motor Lodge which was still being operated by Feldman. Profits were higher, and Robbins set his sights on the rest of the resort, including the Poland Spring House for rejuvenation. Robbins began getting financial backing to renovate the Poland Spring House. Work was to begin after Labor Day in the fall."
(Poland Bicentennial, 1795-1995)

The dramatic fire on July 3, 1975 brought an end to any thought of resurrecting the old hotel. Another fire in 1978 destroyed the older Mansion House. 

Golf Course and Gazebo
at Poland Spring, ca. 1990

(The Inns at Poland Spring)

Poland Spring Golf Ball
ca. 2000

"1976 saw many changes at Poland Spring. Feldman leased the Motor Lodge to Robbins as well as the operation of the golf course and country club which was operating on the north side of the building. Robbins offered a club membership for 99 dollars a year, prompting many new members to switch from higher priced competitors."

"In 1980, the pro-shop of the golf course and country club was moved from the Motor Lodge, now called the Motor Inn, to the summit of the hill once more. There, a turn of the century building which had overlooked the eastern slope of the hill was moved to the site of the historic pro-shop which was located in the Poland Spring House."

"The latter half of the 1980's brought many improvements to the complex. More guest accommodations were constructed in pre-existing buildings and outbuildings. Seeing that the golf course could be a major selling point for many guests, the Robbins' hired Dick Fahey to revive the links and grounds. Greens were reconstructed and fairways overhauled."

"The 1990's have given slow but steady growth to the resort. Buildings were continually upgraded as well as the grounds. Particular attention was given to the tennis courts and swimming pool. Heading into the third century of operation, the Poland Spring Inn is much today as it was in 1797. A place where travelers rest to take in the beauties of nature, eat a home cooked meal, and taste the purest water around."
(Poland Bicentennial, 1795-1995)

Brian Harris