history

In the 1800’s Summit Spring water was sold as a healing tonic with claims that it relieved a host of common maladies, from arthritis, kidney disease, to nervous disorders. It was put up in 35 gallon spruce barrels and glass bottles and shipped by horse-drawn carriage, steamer, train, and ocean liner to major cities around the US and even to Europe. Summit Spring remains one of the oldest and most revered natural spring sources in North America. Included in the Myers, Suter & Co., Book of Cures, 1881. Summit Spring water sold in NYC in 1881, for .40 cents per gallon! That price today with inflationary adjustments, would be over $100 per gallon.

In 1888 a 55-room hotel was built near the spring, and for decades tourists from New York and Boston traveled to the spring to “take the waters” in the age old healing modality of balneology. Guests were brought to the hotel by horse-drawn carriage to spend the entire summer bathing and drinking the magical healing waters and to eat all the wonderful foods grown in the gardens right on site. Today we bring you the same pure and natural spring water that’s been bubbling from the ground for as long as anyone remembers, at a constant rate of 38 gallons per minute and a steady year-round temperature of 46 degrees. To this day, Summit Spring remains a Maine-family-owned and operated business.

Over 220 years of recorded history, dating back to 1792, when still Massachusetts, sheds light on this remarkable spring, its water and the people that traveled (some even from foreign lands) to come and partake of what they believed to be restorative, revitalizing and healing water. The 1905 Centennial Historic record, documents the following about the spring, “…to drink of God’s only beverage for man or beast at Summit Spring, that fountain of life, the drinking from which will renew the youth of the old, if any such a place was ever created.” Harrison, Maine Centennial Celebrations 1905

“THIS MARVELOUS SPRING is one of the wonders of Maine. It flows into its basin at the edge of the forest nearly 1,000 feet above sea level, at the uniform rate of 38 gallons a minute with an unvarying temperature of 48 degrees winter and summer. Summit Spring water is of the utmost value in the treatment of kidney and of kindred troubles such as neuritis, rheumatism and that run-down condition. For fifty years it has held a high repute as a safe remedial agent for gravel, gall stones and Bright’s disease.” Summit Spring Hotel brochure. Early 1900’s.

HOT MINERAL BATHS: “There is no need to double up in pain, to sit by while others enjoy the best of health. Life is worth living. What makes this treatment especially attractive is that you do not load yourself with drugs and other harmful preparations that cause untold grief and harm to your system.” Summit Spring Hotel brochure. Early 1900’s (maybe we could learn something today from that old advice!)

“It is on a summit (from which the water derives its name) nearly 1,000 feet above the sea, overlooking 2,000 square miles of mountain, forest, field and lake. The spring is a natural wonder, and will well repay a visit, but the water will do its work wherever drank. From farm to farm its reputation spread, then to neighboring villages, and soon to leading cities. The value of this water as a remedial agent has abundantly been proved by those who have had the occasion to use it, hence it does not require any comments from me.” F. L. Bartlett, State Assayer, Maine April 1881

Thus, we take great pride in preserving and caring for this rare natural resource and its amazing history as evidenced by Our Mission:

Water Stewards: To Fiercely Protect and Preserve the Sanctity of Nature’s Most Extraordinary Gift of Life-A Natural Spring-For All of Time-A Sacrifice Honored in Perpetuity…To be Laudable and Worthy Stewards-In Mother Nature’s Eyes…To Provide the Gift Most Necessary For Human Existence on Planet Earth…In its Purest and Most Natural Form…Without Which, All Life Would Cease-The Primary Element in the “Blood” of Every Living Thing…To Prove that Business and the Environment Can Exist Together, in Harmony-Responsibly, Sustainably and with Minimum Influence.

Thank you for your interest in Summit Spring and helping us preserve this natural treasure, …”That fountain of life”…

The Summit Spring Eagle

The eagle in our logo pays homage to Summit Hill’s historical reputation as a breeding ground for eagles. The highest point in Cumberland County, Summit Hill rises to nearly 1,000′ above the sea. It’s no wonder Summit Hill was chosen by these majestic raptors.

L. Franklin VanZelm, the famous Christian Science Monitor Illustrator/Cartoonist bought the Summit Spring Hotel (55 rooms) as his private residence in the 1930’s. He was so impressed with the mating rituals of this Crowned or Crested Eagle taking place overhead that he created a change to the Summit Spring logo (which from the 1800’s originally depicted just a mountain) to include the Eagle perched on the mountain top. He not only started bottling again in 1936, he restored the bottling building and also for the first time, built the beautiful stone Spring House which still stands today over the previously exposed spring source. This iconic spring house has been imitated by many others in the years since. The Spring House masonry and field stones exist today untouched as they were in 1936, signed in mortar by the original masons. Because of the constant flow of 46 degree water, year-round, normal freeze-thaw cycles are avoided, the building has stayed at a nearly constant temperature for nearly 80 years and remains in remarkable condition.

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