2014 - Katie Murphy

It is with great pleasure that we name Katie Murphy our 2014 Distinguished Citizen.

If you’ve attended any events in North Yarmouth over the past few decades, you’ve seen Katie and the results of her hard work.
Katie’s volunteerism is defined by her commitment tompreserving community and history. This focus spans all aspects of her life, including her professional career! As a personal historian she uses her background in graphic design, writing, and editing to help people preserve family history by creating printed and audio memoirs.

Katie moved to Maine in 1979 after graduating from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She worked as a librarian at Maine Historical Society in Portland and rented an 1820s farmhouse in North Yarmouth with three other people. At Maine Historical Society, she got to know Professor Thomas Hubka, who was doing research for his book Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England. Katie invited him to see the 1820s farmhouse she was renting. This led to Hubka documenting some old farmhouses in North Yarmouth.

She soon discovered The North Yarmouth Historical Society one fall day when she happened upon perhaps one of the first Cider Days at the Old Town Hall. There she met Ursula Baier and others who knew about the town’s deep history. One of last year’s Distinguished Citizens, Ursula Baier has been an important influence on Katie. As a specialist in architectural history, Ursula shared her knowledge of old farmhouses. “She helped me see how important these historical structures were — that they should be a source of great pride because many of them in our town were still intact. And houses are built by people, and people create a community, and their stories make up the history of a town...”

Katie married Peter Lindsay in 1982 at the North Yarmouth Congregational Church. They built a home on Mountfort Road. They camped out in the unfinished house through the first winter and heated the place with an old cookstove. As a result, she says, “Despite my love of history, I am all for modern conveniences!” Katie joined North Yarmouth Historical Society in 1990, becoming board president in 1995. Her main areas of focus were outreach and building community through knowledge of our town’s history. She remains involved in the organization’s annual Cider Pressing and Holiday Party at the Old Town House. She is proud of the NYHS Gazette, a well-researched publication written by creative professionals from North Yarmouth. She says, “NYHS doesn’t have a museum, and the Gazette is our way of bringing local history to the public.”

Katie has volunteered countless hours to the town of North Yarmouth. She organized the first band concert after the Fire Department built the band stand. “Happily, the concerts have continued under the leadership of North Yarmouth Events Committee!”  she said. When the Events Committee was formed a decade ago, she joined and remained a devoted member for many years, playing instrumental roles in Fun Day and the Tree Lighting Ceremony. She served on North Yarmouth’s Comprehensive Plan Committee, and currently serves on the Economic Development and Sustainability Committee and the Board of Selectmen’s Communications Subcommittee. 

Katie volunteers because “I love North Yarmouth. This community has welcomed me from the start, and I have found good friends here.” She feels learning the town’s history
has connected her to the past and all the people who have made this town a beautiful hidden jewel. She continues to help preserve the wonderful town of North Yarmouth. Katie says, “I wish I had been born in North Yarmouth — but I got here as fast as I could!” And we, are so glad and grateful that you found North Yarmouth, Katie!