Enjoy a few hours away from the beach and soak up some local history with this Wells historic drive. This tour, the only one for Wells, is a driving excursion which takes you all the way back to the 1600s. There are historic sites where only markers note its significance, a couple buildings that have stood the test of time, and one historic farm that is still operating over 300 years after its founding.
Historic Wells Drive
Webhannet Falls Park
Webhannet Falls Park is a quick stop. There is a plaque here that tells of it being the site of Edmund Littlefield’s grist and saw mills. This was the first permanent European settlement in Wells. The falls, about 15 feet in height, are partly obscured by growth, but visible and worth the stop, if just for a moment’s appreciation of the small beginnings of Wells.
Historical Society of Wells and Ogunquit
The Historical Society of Wells and Ogunquit occupies the former home of the First Congregational Church, a well-preserved 1862 Romanesque and Gothic building. It houses a museum with an ever growing collection of local artifacts with eight galleries of exhibits and interactive displays, and also the Esselyn Perkins Library for genealogical and historical research.
The Society was formed in 1954 and took possession of the church in 1967 and is very active, offering tours of the building from spring to fall, various programs, lectures and events, and guided tours of local historical places like Ocean View Cemetery and Millenium Quarry.
Storer Garrison Historic Site
Wells was the stalwart northeastern frontier for European colonialism, with more northern attempts at settlements repelled by Native Americans aided by France in its attempt to secure its New France territory. In the Raid on Wells in 1692,15 soldier militia and the townsfolk of Wells were able to repel an attack by the French and about 400 Abenaki, perhaps saving New England from becoming New France.
At the Storer Garrison Historic Site, a modest granite memorial at the site is inlaid with a plaque telling the story of the battle. It’s easy to miss this small park, but it’s well worth a stop. The only place to park here is at the Garrison Motel, and you enter the small park through a small covered bridge.
The Storer-Garrison federal style house that once stood here now sits behind the parking lot of Mike’s Clam Shack, thanks to Mike’s efforts to save it. The house was constructed from the timber of the original garrison by John Pope in 1816. The house is not (at least not yet as of 2023) open for tours, but is a notable landmark along Route 1.
Founders Park is a 350th anniversary project that commemorates the founding families of Wells. There is a plaque set in a boulder that lists the signers of Wells’ incorporation in 1653. The site also includes the settlement home of John Wells, built in 1710. A light walking trail and picnic tables makes for a nice historic park.
Chase Farms has been owned and operated by the Littlefield/Chase family since the 1600s. For that reason alone you should visit. But more than that, come for the freshest produce, their beef and pork, fresh baked goods, and locally sourced goodies, even a sandwich for lunch. Fall is an especially fun time to come for pumpkins, cider and more. And of course a visit to their pick-your-own apple orchards.
The Littlefield Cemetery beside the farm store is a peek into history.
Division No. 9 School
The Division 9 School is a beautifully preserved one-room schoolhouse that was built in 1900 and remained in use through 1948. It is now a museum owned by the town. If you’d like to get inside, you can contact the town manager for an appointment – contact the town hall. Otherwise, it’s good for a walk around the exterior and a photo opp.