NORWAY – Local history will be the topic for the first of three “Fireside Chats” to be held at the Norway Memorial Library.

On Friday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m., David Richards will present the history of Poland Spring, including memories of the resort, as well as the curative powers of the water, the business of the water and the Ricker family who created it all.

Richards is the author of the book, “Poland Spring: A Tale of the Gilded Age, 1860-1900,” published in 2005. The book blends the history of the bygone era of resorts, tourists and Victorian summer hotel culture with the beginnings of the mineral water marketplace and the “spring” phenomenon.

It tells of the Ricker family’s rustic frontier farm that became the world-renowned summer community, and of the purchase of the Maine State Building from the World’s Colombian Expo in Chicago in 1893. The building was disassembled after the Expo and all its parts were put onto 16 railroad cars, brought to Maine, and reassembled in Poland Spring, where it remains as a museum, library and art gallery.

Richards is the assistant director of the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan. After graduating from Bates College with a BA in history in 1984, he spent time living in Poland Spring and became fascinated with its history.

The material for the book was researched while working on his PhD in history from the University of New Hampshire.

The public is welcome to attend the “Fireside Chat” with Richards. The library’s fireplace will be aglow with candles, and hot cider and doughnuts will be provided. For more information, contact the library at 743-5309 or visit

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