George and Nannie Conarroe summered in the Ogunquit-York, Maine area for many years. The Conarroes were from Philadelphia, PA where Mr. Conarroe practiced law. Wishing to commemorate her husband and make a lasting gift to the town they both loved, Mrs. Conarroe commissioned the Ogunquit Memorial Library. In addition to a gift of 1500 of her own books, she endowed the library with a generous trust fund.
The Ogunquit Memorial Library was built in 1897 by York contractor Edward B. Blaisdell and opened to the public in June 1898. The Fieldstone building was designed by Charles M. Burns in the H.H. Richardson Romanesque style. The building was enlarged in 1914, with original trustee Luther Weare acting as contractor.
New England’s weather extremes and the Library’s proximity to the salt water exact a high toll on the building’s structure. In 2007 the majestic entrance doors needed to be replaced. The doors were hand-crafted by Matthew Browne and The Rovnack Group. This project was generously funded by Arlene and Michael Lanes. In recent years the building has been re-roofed, the windows and exterior trim have been repaired and painted, and the chimney re-pointed.
A majestic grandfather clock chimes on the hour. Built by Luther Weare in 1941 from a black walnut piano case, the clock has inlaid ivory Masonic emblems cut from the piano keys.
Facing the clock sits a striking 2-foot replica of the library, made of tiny stones and complete with fancy copper roof work. The miniature was crafted by local resident Winaloe Stonehill in the 1930s.
The Ogunquit Memorial Library is in the National Register of Historic Places and The Ogunquit Historic Preservation Commission.