Table Of Contents
Ogunquit, Then and Now
The picturesque little village of Ogunquit lies in the very southern section of York County - the southernmost county in the State of Maine. In earlier times, the land was rough and rocky. It's fields and forests were further from markets and shipping points as compared to the York River to the south, and the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers to the north.
Fishing was the chief source of income for Ogunquit residents. Even then, Ogunquit residents showed a disposition to help themselves. The fishermen kept their dories in the outer part of Perkins Cove. This anchorage is open to the ocean and when high seas were running, the fishermen had to pull their boats up on the small beach above the reach of the waves. This caused great inconvenience, especially when the high seas came at night.
Josias River then emptied into the ocean through a shallow, rocky channel between the ledges called Crow Island and the point of land called Adams Island, which was really a peninsula connected to the mainland by a small piece of field land at the end of what is now called Woodbury Lane. Seeing that if a channel were cut through this land so that the Josias River emptied into Perkins Cove it would eventually save them much labor, the fishermen formed the Fish Cove Harbor Association and bought the land between Oarweed Cove and Josias River for commercial use. They dug a ditch almost across the piece of field land and at a very high tide, when conditions were favorable, cut through to the Josias River. The water rushed through "with a roar that could be heard up to Pine Hill", and in a short time, had cut a channel up through which they could bring their boats.
In the 1880's a bridge was built across the Ogunquit River (on Beach Street), providing access for the summer visitors to the beach.
The first actual post office was established in Ogunquit in 1879 and was in a part of a grocery store (formerly Maxwell's Store) where Maxwell's Pub is now situated.
The Ogunquit Memorial Library was given to the Village by Mrs. George Conarroe in 1897.
Around the turn of the century, the first “street car” or trolley came to the Village of Ogunquit, and electricity became available. Ogunquit wanted street lights and an article was put in the warrant of a Wells town meeting. When the street light article came before the voters it was opposed by "hollering and foot stomping enough to shake the foundation of Wells Town Hall". Needless to say, the "Wells folks" soundly defeated the article. The Ogunquit voters were "madder than wet hens" and entered a bill in the State Legislature and in 1913 got a Charter for the Ogunquit Village Corporation.
In the spring of 1914, the first regular meeting of the Ogunquit Village corporation was held. There were twelve articles voted on at the meeting, of which $350.00 was voted for street lights. The total amount appropriated was $2,867.00.
For many years no one claimed title to or paid taxes on Ogunquit Beach. Noting this, a shrewd lawyer for $100.00 got a quit claim deed to the property from the State of Maine and offered to pay taxes, but was overruled. After a long wait the lawyer began selling lots and houses were built on the Wells end of Ogunquit Beach. Ogunquit residents, realizing that soon the beach, long regarded as a public park, would probably be built up with houses and the public denied free use of the land, got the Ogunquit Beach District established by an act of the Legislature in 1923. It was given the right of eminent domain to acquire the beach between the Ogunquit River and the ocean and the power to tax property within it. This right was then offered to the Ogunquit Village Corporation who agreed to pay for the same at a cost of more than $45,000.00 raised by taxation of only Ogunquit property. The beach was acquired and has been maintained ever since as a public park.
As of 1938, Ogunquit Beach was one of only two municipally owned beaches in the State of Maine.
At the annual meeting of 1923, a vote of thanks was given to Josiah Chase for the gift he had given to the village of Ogunquit. This gift of the "Marginal Way", a walk along the rocky shore in front of his property on Frazier Pasture Road, is probably the finest gift this village could receive. Subsequently, other land owners along the waterfront deeded a portion of their land to continue the “Marginal Way”. Mable Stearns Stonehill, the owner of Rockmere at the time, deeded fifty feet of frontage in 1927.
OPEN YEAR ROUND
The only Bed & Breakfast in Ogunquit overlooking the Marginal Way with panoramic ocean views!
Built in 1899 as the summer home of the Stearns Family (of the Stearns and Foster Mattress Company), Rockmere Lodge sits on a slight knoll with a commanding view of the Atlantic, midway along the Marginal Way, an ocean-side footpath from Ogunquit Village to Perkins Cove. You can hear the surf crashing against the rocks from almost every room in Rockmere Lodge.
The spacious grounds boast flower gardens with fountains and statuary that reflect the way your hosts imagine Rockmere Lodge would have looked at the turn of the century. You are invited to stroll the grounds, bask in the sun, enjoy the cool sea breeze in our screen enclosed Gazebo overlooking the water or just sit in the shade on an Adirondack chair or relax on our Pagoda swing.
The sweeping veranda that wraps around the entire front of the house is graciously appointed with comfortable wicker furniture, making it an inviting place to sit and enjoy the ocean view, nap, read or meet new friends.
Breakfast is served on the front porch in season and in the formal dining room in front of the fireplace during the off season. We serve a full breakfast consisting of perhaps waffles, blueberry pancakes, French toast, omelets, accented with fruit, yogurt, English muffins, toast, homemade muffins, etc. Along with coffee we also offer a large variety of teas from basic to exotic blends. Some great conversation and new friends have been made during breakfast on this porch.
The interior of Rockmere Lodge is constantly changing to give our guests a relaxing stay with us. Built in the grand old style of the Maine Shingled Cottage, the accommodations at Rockmere Lodge consist of eight rooms, all with private baths, cable TV and paddle fans.
Rockmere Lodge offers unique Ogunquit Lodging Services such as our spacious living room open for your comfort and enjoyment. You are invited to relax here and, during the cooler months, bask in the heat of a crackling fire in front of our beautiful Italian tile fireplace. Also the Lookout on the third floor features some of the best views of the Atlantic around.
The gazebo is situated at the edge of the Rockmere Lodge property. Enjoy this screened-in wicker filled get-a-way and its ever changing views of the ocean. The gazebo is also lighted at night so you can enjoy the cool evening breezes. Cards and games are also available here.
Our goal is to constantly make Rockmere Lodge better each year. We welcome you to join our large family of repeat guests. We look forward to greeting you and making your visit to Rockmere Lodge a vacation with wonderful memories spent at “A Beautiful Place by the Sea”.
Amenities in Each Room or Available
- Soap, Shampoo and Conditioner
- Beach Towels, Beach Umbrellas, Beach Chairs
- Small refrigerators
- Paddle Fans in every room
- Lemonade or Iced Tea for the beach (if requested at Breakfast time)
- Cable TV and CD/Clock Radio
- Iron and Ironing Board
- VCR and DVD player in every room
- Over 1000 VHS and DVD movies for guest viewing
- Library of current and past best selling books for guest reading
We look forward to greeting you and making your visit a vacation with wonderful memories spent at A Beautiful Place by the Sea.