Vienna Historical Society
Preserving the History of Vienna and Mount Vernon, Maine

Elizabeth Arden


                                                                                           Elizabeth Arden
                                                                 1878 - 1966

Elizabeth Arden rose from poverty in rural Canada to play a central role in the beauty business in the early 20th century. Born Florence Nightingale Graham, she reinvented herself as Elizabeth Arden and built a $20 million empire that defined success in the beauty industry.

Arden made  her appearance in Maine in 1929, when she purchased The Gables in Mount Vernon overlooking Belgrade Lakes.  She had become enamored of the area while visiting her friend, Elisabeth Marbury, who lived nearby.  By the early 1930s, the property now renamed the Maine Chance Farm, opened its doors to business women as a spot to relax and recuperate.  

Over the years, Maine Chance catered to illustrious and wealthy women from all over the world, who were pampered with beauty treatments, special diets, and exercises.  Maine Chance offered its clients treatment rooms, steam rooms, exercise rooms, recreation rooms, and a riding stable.  There were also several guest houses, and a bathhouse which overlooked Long Pond.  (In 1950 it cost $500 to get a six-week treatment at Maine Chance Farm – in today’s money that would be a little over $4,000.)

At one time, the resort and its operating farm produced much of the food for the spa and was a significant employer in the Mount Vernon area.  Arden achieved her goal "to be the richest little woman in the world," and continued at the helm of her multi-million dollar empire as Chairman of the Board and President until the day she died at age 84.

                                                        Maine Chance Farm

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