Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ogunquit turns 30 Today, July 1st 2010

The axis of the earth sticks out visibly through the centre of each and every town or city.
                                                              ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

When you come into the town,  the signs states,  "Welcome to Ogunquit, Beautiful Place by the Sea" Established 1980. Its a bit of a curiosity, why 1980?

Ogunquit was settled by English colonists in 1641. ( the official town website states that Ogunquit had English settlers in the late 1620's).  The village was part of Wells, Maine. In 1913, village residents petitioned the state of Maine, to make Ogunquit an "Incorporated Village" where as, taxes would be collected by Wells, but the money would be spent in Ogunquit. The citizens of Ogunquit wanted street lights and the town fathers of Wells said "no", thus started the rift, which led to separation!

In 1967 Ogunquit resident,  Kevin O'Neil a Certified Public Accountant, presented a proposal to the Ogunquit "overseers"  that Ogunquit would be better off independent. A committee was formed , and a bill was presented to the Maine Legislature. In 1979, the Legislature proclaimed that upon approval from its citizens that "Ogunquit is a town Unto its Self", effective July 1st 1980.

A lot has happened since 1980, Ogunquit has grown, yet still retains the small town New England Village life of yesteryear. The beach and Marginal Way are well maintained and are free to the public. One could only imagine what would Ogunquit look like if it not for wise men like Kevin O'Neil, Richard Littlefield and other overseers.

The town of Wells has a much different character than Ogunquit. The beaches in Wells are stacked with houses, and public access is limited.  The zoning in Wells is different:  neon signs including the Golden Arches; "putt-putt" golf,  and campgrounds galore.  As one Ogunquit Selectman, gently stated years ago, "Our culture in Ogunquit is different than Wells".

So, this weekend, we celebrate not only the USA's & Canada's  birthday, but also, Ogunquit's!

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