The Maine State Building served originally as the state pavilion for the Colombian Exposition at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The exposition celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America.

Charles Sumner Frost, a native of Lewiston, Maine, who became a successful Chicago architect, designed the grand octagonal structure to fit an irregularly shaped lot that was provided to the state of Maine by organizers of the Chicago World’s Fair.

In 1893, Hiram Ricker & Sons purchased the Maine State Building and moved it by a special 16-car freight train from Chicago to Danville Junction, near Auburn, Maine. From there, horse drawn wagons hauled the pieces over country roads to Ricker’s renowned resort at Poland Spring.

The following year, the Maine Sate Building was reopened as a library and art museum as part of the Ricker Family’s centennial celebration of their settlement at Poland Spring.

In 1974, the Maine State Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places, the official list of historic buildings and cultural resources deemed worthy of preservation. The Poland Spring Preservation Society has spent years repairing and restoring the building, and now operates a museum, a research library, the Nettie Ricker Art Gallery, and offers tours and other educational programs at the Maine State Building.


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