The William Fogg Library was established in 1907 for the residents of Eliot by a trust from Dr. John S. H. Fogg in memory of his father, William Fogg. At that time few public libraries existed in southern Maine. The Kittery Social Library was a privately funded institution used only by its members. William Fogg belonged to the Kittery Social Library, and believing in the importance of education for the citizens of Eliot, he sponsored a Social Library in Eliot. This was located at his home on Old Road (now the Fogg Homestead near the William Fogg Library). To honor his father’s love of education, learning, and the people of Eliot, Dr. John Fogg left a trust including land, the family homestead, and funds to provide a library for the residents of Eliot.
Dedicated on May 21, 1907, the library was designed by Boston architect C. Howard Walker and constructed using fieldstone from the stone walls that bordered William Fogg’s property. Also included in the bequest was the family homestead, the William & John Fogg antiquarian book collection, and the beautiful grounds upon which the buildings stand.
In May, 1999, a new addition housing the children’s collection was completed. The Kent Children’s Room is approximately 1400 square feet, with windows on three sides that echo the windows in the original building. The original fieldstone exterior was left intact and is easily viewed in the Kent Room. The addition also includes a handicapped-accessible ramp and a small kitchen.
The Fogg homestead was seriously damaged by a fire in the fall of 2000. Restoration was completed in 2005.
In early 1989, during an Eliot Historical Society meeting it was suggested to Edward H. Vetter, President of the society, that we investigate some older buildings or areas that would be eligible to qualify for “The National Register of Historical Places.”
A committee of four members and Pres. Edward Vetter were appointed to investigate the procedures and paperwork necessary to start the program moving.
Later in the year, the committee took a motor trip through the Old Road, River Road, the Sturgeon Creek and other areas. A few historical houses and buildings were noted as well as some historical areas that were of great interest to the committee. It was finally resolved that the first building that we should inquire about should be the Wm. Fogg Library, as it is such a beautiful building and was dedicated on May 21, 1907. It’s structure and building materials were of the time and very impressive to all. Member and historian, Joseph Frost, headed up the paperwork and wrote to the Maine Historic Preservation Committee for information to enter this building on the “Register of Historic Places in Maine”.
The paperwork was submitted and carefully attended to by the society and on Dec. 21, 1991, the Eliot Historical Society was notified that the Wm Fogg Library was entered on the “National Register of Historic Places” by the National Park Service, Dept. of the Interior, Washington, D.C., signed by Earle G. Shuttleworth, Jr, Director. The Wm Fogg Library was also registered on the “National Register of Historic Places in the State of Maine” and should be preserved as a living part of our community life and development in order to give a sense of orientation to the American people.
On January 7, 1998, Edward H. and Helen R. Vetter donated a bronze plaque to the trustees of the Wm Fogg Library to honor the historical event.
Ted Place, a native of Eliot and a long time mason contractor was requested to drill the holes and install the plaque which he accomplished on January 17, 1998. The plaque was installed in the granite foundation section, on the right hand side, at the front of the library.