Welcome to the 'Wells Harbor, Maine' Facebook page! This page was developed to promote and celebrate our spectacular harbor, as well as the businesses and events associated with it! Our intent is to post photos and text from anyone that would like to contribute. We look forward to all of your feedback.
But first, here's a brief history of Wells Harbor taken from the 2013 Wells Harbor Management Plan, much of which was taken from the extensive historical writings of Hope Shelley. I'd also like to thank Julia Einstein of the Historical Society of Wells & Ogunquit for her guidance and direction:
"The historic and current Town of Wells remains
centered around its marine resources and
Harbor. Prior to the founding of the Town
around the Harbor in 1641, temporary residences
were built on the beaches by traders and
fishermen. During the 1600’s Wells’ residents
harvested salt hay, fish, eels, and clams and
coastal traders supplied nearby areas with
boards, shingle, and hoops. Clusters of farms
were concentrated near rivers and brooks that
provided water power for grist and sawmills. Often found in these areas were a blacksmith shop,
store, post office, one-room school, and church. The core of these early settlements can still be
found in the Coles Corner, Wells Corner, Eldridge Corner, Moody, Tatnic, Merriland Ridge,
Highpine (formerly Wells Deport), and Wells Branch areas.
From the late 1600’s to 1905, shipbuilding, lumber mills, and fishing were the primary occupations
in the Harbor. The area was set back briefly by the War of 1812, but the Age of Sail soon followed
shipbuilding and commerce by coastal schooners flourished.
By 1825, Congress, in recognition of Wells’ dependence on its maritime heritage and economy,
constructed a 1,980 foot long pier so trading vessels could on/off load their cargos beyond the
shoals at the mouth of the Harbor, confirming that the sedimentation problem in Wells Harbor has
a long history.
The railroads arrived in 1842, 1872, and 1907 and eventually replaced schooners as the preferred
mode to transport freight.
Wells’ beaches were discovered by wealthy industrialists by the late 1840’s although tourism
didn’t flourish until the 20th century. Large lodging and entertainment centers like the Atlantic
House at Fishermen’s Cove and the Island Ledge House at Wells Beach were constructed, though
they were not replaced when they burned in later years. Instead numerous smaller hotels and
boarding homes, and subdivisions for individual houses were built in the late 1800’s and early
1900’s, and local shipwrights became home carpenters. In the years following World War II, with
the increased use of personal automobiles, Wells became known as a family vacation spot."
This Facebook page is dedicated to the promotion of Wells Harbor.