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Maine History Online

Maine History Online
MHS (Maine Historical Society)
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Poland Spring: Summering in Fashion

Text by David Richards

Images from Poland Spring Preservation Society and Maine Historical Society

Tourism took off in Maine after the Civil War as industrial and commercial development created increasing wealth and leisure.

Beneficiaries of abundance among the rising urban middle class were pushed out of cities during sweltering summers by fears of disease, social unrest, and physical dissipation. They were simultaneously pulled toward the coast, lakes, woods, and mountains by the prospects of reconnection with nature, access to fresh air, wholesome food, and pure water; and participation in a revitalizing relaxed pace of life.

A host of hotels dotted the Maine shoreline from York to Bar Harbor. Vacationland eventually spread inland to locations like the Belgrade and Rangeley Lakes.

Poland Spring offered a uniquely isolated landscape situated between the clustered resorts of the Atlantic coast and the White Mountains.