Poland Spring cited for being a great neighbor

Poland Spring Maine State BuildingI was reading Dad’s Lewiston Sun Journal the other day, in his room at the Togus VA Hospice Unit, when a full page ad grabbed my attention.

Sponsored by individual board members of the Poland Spring Preservation Society, the ad was a very big thank you to Poland Spring Bottling Company for “being a great neighbor.”

“The Poland Spring Preservation Society was formed in 1976,” noted the ad, “to maintain the Maine State Building and All Soul Chapel. Without the support of Poland Spring Bottling and other generous sponsors, these buildings would not be here today.

“We are very proud of our neighbor for their continued support of us and many other nonprofit organizations, food pantries, environmental organizations, fire departments across the state and so many more have been touched by their community awareness.”

During my tenure at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Poland Spring was a major supporter of the organization, and the company continues to sponsor my website. One year I attended the company’s annual celebration of the groups and initiatives it supported that year, and the turnout was impressive in both the number of groups represented and the broad interests supported by Poland Spring.

Even more impressive was the celebration of the opening of Poland Spring’s bottling plant in Kingfield, where I met all three Selectmen from the neighboring town of New Portland, all of whom worked at the new plant. I visited with the owner of a local restaurant, Longfellows, a place where Linda and I have enjoyed many meals. He was very pleased by the amount of new business generated by Poland Spring’s presence in his community.

While water bottling companies have generated a bit of opposition in Maine, Poland Spring, and the smaller independent bottlers, have been good for our economy, as well as our nonprofit community.

If you haven’t visited the Bottling Museum, Maine State Building, and All Souls Chapel, put that trip on your bucket list. Poland Spring Bottling’s building is just beyond the museum.
Poland Spring Bottling MuseumIn the ad, I learned that Hiram Ricker began selling bottled water in 1845. By 1907 a state of the art bottling facility and springhouse were constructed using Spanish architecture. Poland Spring Water won the “Best Water Award” at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Linda and I really enjoyed seeing the museum, which also has recreational trails throughout the property.

All three buildings are stunning. Ten Maine quarries donated granite for the Maine State Building, and the slate shingles came from Monson. As the Preservation Society noted in the ad, the building, “is our symbol of Maine Pride.”

If you are a golfer, you will particularly enjoy the Maine Golf Hall of Fame in this building which also houses the Nettie Ricker art gallery, a museum, and a gift shop.

Poland Springs All Souls ChapelThe All Souls Chapel was opened in 1912 as a place of worship. Today it’s used mostly for weddings and musical concerts, but it is also a very spiritual place. The Chapel’s nine stain glass windows are beautiful, and the great pipes of the 1926 Skinner Pipe Organ still makes wonderful music. My Mom, a church organist, would have loved this organ.

The Bottling Museum is open mid-May until mid-October, Thursday – Saturday, 9 am to 4 pm. The Maine State Building is also open mid-May until mid-October, Tuesday – Saturday 9 am to 4 pm and Sundays 9 am – 11 am. For more information call 207-998-4142 or check out their website at www.polandspringsps.org.

While you are in the area, don’t miss the nearby Shaker Village in New Gloucester.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. George also hosts, with Harry Vanderweide, a TV talk show called Wildfire, now in its 13th year and focused on hunting, fishing, environmental, and conservation issues. The show is owned and produced by Maine Audubon and seen on its website as well as on the Time Warner cable TV station throughout the state.