One of Maine’s most charming libraries is right in the coastal village of Ogunquit, and like many of the greatest, it was built as a memorial to someone. George Mecum Conarroe was born Nov. 9, 1831. His father, George Washington Conarroe, was an accomplished Philadelphia portrait artist who provided his family with every advantage mostly from an inherited family fortune. The Conarroes and their cousins, the Trotters, who summered at Cape Arundel, had been associated in a very successful steel venture for several previous generations. George M. Conarroe apprenticed in a Philadelphia law firm and was admitted to the Bar in 1853. He ran a successful probate law practice and his prudent real estate development investments enhanced his formidable fortune. Nannie Dunlap, daughter of another leading Philadelphia lawyer married George M. Conarroe in 1868, they were inseparable. He built a summer estate in York Cliffs, a burgeoning Summer colony just south of Ogunquit (then a part of Wells). George died in 1896, and Nannie fought to keep her late husband’s legacy living in the coastal area he loved so much. She hired Philadelphia architect Charles M. Burns to design a new summer chapel in York and this beautiful village library in Ogunquit. The library was constructed of fieldstone taken from the site and is a lovely example of the Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne architectural styles in Maine.
The Perkins Cove wooden footbridge in Ogunquit, overlooks one of the loveliest little harbors in the Maine coast and spans the narrow entrance to the port. The iconic bridge is perhaps the only double-leaf draw-footbridge in the United States and luckily for us, is right here in Maine! The small channel was once very shallow, but in about 1940, the cove was dredged to make room for larger fishing vessels. A new drawbridge was soon added to allow access to the small peninsula while also permitting fishing vessels to pass underneath. The bridge has been modified a couple times since it was constructed in the early 1940s. The new bridge spurred development of some of the area which was already a mix of fishing shacks and artist studios. Since then, many of the original fish shacks have been converted to restaurants or shops due to the high value of the land now. It was also announced this year that the bridge would soon be demolished and replicated with Federal funds with a new harbormaster building. Hopefully the replacement will closely match the existing, which is a huge draw (pun intended) for the tourists who flock to the area.
One of the oldest extant houses in the village of Ogunquit Maine is this charming Cape house thought to have been built in the 1780s. The house was later purchased by James Winn (1783-1861) and his wife Philadelphia Maxwell Winn (1785-1855), probably about the same time as the birth of their first child, James Winn Jr. in 1808. Both James Sr. and his son in 1846, launched a 161–ton brig out of Kennebunkport with Captain James at the helm. After several trips James Jr. succumbed to an illness that was aboard the vessel and died at the New York Marine Hospital. Over 150 years later, the house, largely untouched, was seemingly threatened by development pressure on the busy highway. In 1980, the home was donated to the town by then-owner, Phyllis Perkins, and moved nearby to a park on Obed’s Lane. It now houses the Ogunquit Heritage Museum.