Maine State Building
(Postcard, 1906)

Maine State Building

Maine State Building at the 1893
Colombian Exposition
in Chicago

(Maine Historic Preservation Commission)

Charles Sumner Frost (1856-1931)

Stained Glass Window
Maine State Building

"On Monday, May 1, 1893, the World's Colombian Exposition opened in Chicago. It was one year late, as it was supposed to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America, but the grounds and the buildings were not ready in 1892. In spite of these delays, the Colombian Exposition became the 'great American fair', one of the 19th century's outstanding world's fair [sic]. It was known as the White City, because of its many large, splendid exhibition buildings that looked to be made of white marble."

"Because of a huge fire in Jackson Park, site of the exposition, in July of 1894, a year after the fair, as far as known, only three of the 200 buildings on the grounds remain standing today. One is still in Jackson Park, the Palace of Fine Arts, extensively remodeled for the 1933 Chicago's World Fair and now Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. The country of Norway's building is in Wisconsin, having been purchased by the Wrigley Family...And the third building, still in its original form, is our Maine State Building at Poland Spring."[See Below]
(Maine State Building Centennial, 1895-1995)
"The United States Congress on April 25, 1890 passed an act inviting the States of the Union and the Nations of the World to participate in celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, in the city of Chicago. The following year, the Maine Legislature, holding it 'of great importance that the material resources, industrial development...of the state should be fully and credibly displayed to the world,' voted to set up a Board of World Fair Managers of Maine and appropriated money to erect a building."

"Maine wanted one made of Maine materials, and after the plans of several architects were considered, those of Charles Sumner Frost of Chicago were accepted. Frost was born in Lewiston in 1856 and graduated from Lewiston High School. Almost all the materials in the building, which was valued at $30,000, were donated by Maine firms."
(Poland Bicentennial, 1795-1995)

First Floor Plan
Maine State Building

Second Floor Plan
Maine State Building

The Report of the Board of World's Fair Managers of Maine carries this description of the building: 

"The design presents a regular octagonal formed building two stories high; the roof surmounted by a central tower and corner turrets. From the tower and turrets floated daily the stars and stripes. It was eighty-six feet to the highest point of the central tower. This tower furnished a fine vantage outlook in viewing the World's Fair buildings and grounds.  

"The first story was built of granite extended in courses around the building, commencing at the base and with darker stones, each succeeding course shading gradually to a lighter gray, all in harmony of shade and color. 

"The second story exterior contained four balconies divided by round bay-windows projecting over the granite with panel finish, topped by a large expanse of deep slanting roof. 

"The entrance to the building was arched over with granite and admitted through three arcades between polished columns of red and black granite. Beyond the entrance, an octagonal rotunda opened up to the roof line where the ceiling tapered to a heavy ornamental skylight. 

"The rotunda formed a large general reception room and from it opened the ladies' parlor, gentlemen's reception and smoking room, the library, commissioner's office and toilet rooms." 
(Maine State Building Centennial, 1895-1995)

Train Delivering Maine State Building
from Chicago to Danville Junction

(Poland Bicentennial, 1795-1995)

Dedication of the Maine State
Buildings, July 6, 1895
(Pamphlet, Poland Spring - America's
Leading Spa, 1901)

When the fair closed, the Maine State Building was purchased by Hiram Ricker & Sons for $30,000 with plans to relocate it to the Poland Spring resort.  

"The Rickers sent a crew to Chicago, led by Forest Walker of Poland, the resort's head carpenter, to take the building down, carefully marking each section. The building was taken apart under the personal supervision of Hiram W. Ricker, loaded on a special train of sixteen cars and transported to Maine, at a cost of over three thousand become the crowning feature of the opening of the season of 1895. The corner stone was laid on August 14, 1894, and the Maine State Building was dedicated on July 1, 1895, as part of the celebration marking the Rickers' settling in Poland."
(Maine State Building Centennial, 1895-1995)

"This undertaking was conducted with so much skill and care that not even the immense polished columns were scratched in the operation.  In its new construction it has an added story, and many adornments that greatly enhance its original beauty."
(Pamphlet, Poland Spring - America's Leading Spa, 1901)

Art Exhibit
Maine State Building

(Postcard, postmarked South Poland, ME,
Aug 26, 1911)

"In the years that followed, in which the resort prospered, the Maine State Building was a very popular attraction on the grounds. It was open not only to hotel guests, but to surrounding residents. All were welcomed to visit the building, to see the arts exhibits, to use the library."

"The summer art exhibitions at the building were held under the direction of Janette Ricker, the youngest of Hiram's children. 'Miss Nettie', as she was know, had studied at the Cowles Art School in Boston, and she ran the gallery with great success. Each year, Hiram Ricker & Sons, with an annual art budget of one thousand dollars, bought one or two pieces from the gallery to add to the hotel's permanent collection."
(Maine State Building Centennial, 1895-1995)

Maine State Building
(Pamphlet, Poland Spring - America's
Leading Spa, 1901)

Reading Room and Art Gallery
Maine State Building

((Maine Historic Preservation Commission)

Rotunda and Reading Room
Maine State Building
(Pamphlet, Poland Spring - America's
Leading Spa, 1901)

Maine State Building,
ca. 1909

"The last to own the resort, including the Maine State Building, was Boston hotelman, Saul Feldman, who leased the complex to the Women's Job Corps. The resort's art and library books were placed in storage until 1968 when a four-day auction was held to dispose of them."
(Poland Bicentennial, 1795-1995)

The Maine State Building is now under the supervision of the Poland Spring Preservation Society, an organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the two remaining historic buildings on Ricker Hill, the Maine State Building and the All Souls Chapel. Saul Feldman turned over these two buildings to the society in 1977.

"The Maine State Building, placed on the Register of Historic Places in 1974, brings this past alive with its displays, pictures, and artifacts of Poland Spring, the Ricker family of innkeepers, and the Colombian Exposition."
(Poland Bicentennial, 1795-1995)


The Norway Building
at the 1893 Colombia Exposition

The Norway Building Today

Other Survivors of the 1893 Colombian Exposition:

In addition to the Maine State Building, two other buildings excaped demolition and were removed from the fair grounds:

The Norway Building - This building was sent by the country of Norway, and stood in the northeast corner of the park not far from the Maine State Building.  It was built in Norway by M. Thams & Co. in the winter of 1892-93 and transported to Chicago in 1893.  The building is a rare example of twelfth-century Norse stave church (Stavkirke) architecture.  At the close of the fair, the building was moved first to Lake Geneva, WI, to the Estate of C.K.G. Billings (later the property of William Wrigley).  In 1935, the building was dissassembled and move one more time, arriving at it's current home at Isak Dahle's Little Norway in Blue Mounds, WI.  



The Van Houten & Zoon
Pavillion at the
1893 Colombian Exposition

"The Dutch House"
in Brookline, MA

The Dutch House - This building was originally the pavillion where Dutch cocoa manufacturers Van Houten & Zoon exhibited their wares at the 1893 Colombian Exposition. Designed by G. Weyman, the building was prefabricated in Belgium and then dissassembled, transported, and reassembled at the fair.  The design was a copy of the 1591 Franeker town hall in the Netherlands.  The building was located at the northeastern end of the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, overlooking Lake Michigan.  A series of such pavillions ranged along the side of the larger building, including a Rolling Chair Company, a Russian Kiosk, a Band Stand, and, at the opposite end, one of Van Houten's competitors in the chocolate trade, The W. Baker Company.  At the close of the fair, the building was purchased by Captain Charles Brook Appleton, who had it shipped to Brookline, MA, where it stands today.  This building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Trade Card for Van Houten's Cocoa
at the Worlds Colombian Exposition 1893

Brian Harris