In 1913, Ogunquit was established as a village corporation within the Town of Wells. The corporation was established as a quasi-municipal government after a dispute between Ogunquit and Wells citizens over whether or not to install streetlights in Ogunquit.
After 1913, Ogunquit assumed most of the characteristics and provided most of the services of a municipality. The Town-Village relationship between Wells and Ogunquit, coupled with disputes over tax assessing, cost sharing and local control, generated a long-standing, irreconcilable conflict between the citizens and officials of the two communities.
In January 1979, the Ogunquit Board of Overseers unanimously endorsed a plan to separate Ogunquit from Wells. The headline in the January 10, 1979 York County Coast Star read, "Ogunquit asks divorce from Wells government". At the annual elections in March 1979, Ogunquit residents voted 412 to 76 in favor of separating from the Town of Wells.