Believe It or Not, This Maine Building Was Constructed in Chicago
Located a few minutes down the road from Lewiston and Auburn, Poland Spring Resort is a quintessential early 20th century resort.
Built between 1890 and 1915, it was the kind of place that the wealthy families of Boston and New York would escape to during the summer months. In an attempt to get them away from the heat of the cities, these businessmen would ship their families off to these rural resorts for the whole summer.
These days, the resort still attracts thousands of visitors each year. As of 2023, Poland Spring Resort features a golf course, hotel, restaurants, event spaces, and even has a chapel that can be used for wedding ceremonies.
The resort complex is also home to a building that has the distinction of being constructed over 1,100 miles away from where it sits today.
The Maine State Building
For millions of Americans and visitors from around the world, the highlight of 1893 was the Chicago World's Fair. The fair, which covered about 690 acres, was comprised of about 200 buildings, pavilions, and other structures.
After the October 30 conclusion of the fair, most of these buildings were torn down. There were, however, a few that were saved.
One of those was the Maine State Building.
According to Atlas Obscura, the building had been designed by Chicago architect Charles Sumner Frost. Frost, who was originally from Lewiston, chose to highlight his home state with a Victorian-style building constructed from Maine granite, Maine blue slate, and Maine oak. Even the fabric used in the building's interior came from Maine.
As the fair closed, the Ricker family, who were running the Poland Spring Resort, felt the addition of the building would be a good way to expand their resort.
They paid $30,000 for the building. That's the equivalent of just over one million dollars in 2023. It cost them a few extra thousand dollars for the pieces of the building to be loaded onto sixteen railroad cars and shipped to Maine.
Over the years, the building has served many purposes. Initially, it was used for additional guest rooms. These days, it serves as the resort's gift shop, an art gallery, and as a golf museum.
When so many historic buildings have been lost to time, it is great that the Ricker family had the forethought to purchase and preserve the Maine State Building.
You can learn more about the resort and plan your visit by checking out their website.
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Gallery Credit: Matt Singer