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About NYHS

Annual holiday party in the Old Town House.

In the 1970s, several town residents realized the importance of North Yarmouth’s history and took steps to preserve and protect the town’s historical resources. In October, 1974 North Yarmouth Historical Society held its first official meeting. The first officers were Nellie Leighton, President; Linda Wentworth, Vice-President; Shirley Fountain, Secretary; and Edith Atkins, Treasurer.

On March 3, 1973 the organization was incorporated. Proactive efforts at preservation were led by “old timers” and newcomers alike. Volunteers became skilled in deed research, conducted an old house survey, and rescued and preserved ancient town records, photos, and other ephemera. The organization today rests on the solid foundation laid by these preservationists.

The location of North Yarmouth Historical’s Archives is in transition. For years, the collections have been located in a small workroom and vault at the town’s fire station at 463 Walnut Hill Road. Early town records, maps, papers, objects, journals, diaries, photos, and records of several local civic organizations are part of the collection. Also included are records of North Yarmouth Congregational Church dating from the late 18th century. These Archives, are in the process of being moved to the lower level of NYHS’s Old Town House.

Old Town House dates from 1853. It was the town’s first town hall and was located at 490 Memorial Highway (Route 9) just south of the Royal River. In 1976 it was saved from imminent destruction when NYHS purchased it from the town for $1.00. Volunteers helped to restore it in the 1980s, and it was used for NYHS events and private functions for years. In 2009 it was closed due to structural issues.

North Yarmouth Historical Society launched a capital campaign to raise $850,000 to move Old Town House to the developing center of the town. In December, 2021 the building was carefully loaded on flatbed trucks and moved onto a new foundation at 475 Walnut Hill Road—the former location of Wescustogo Hall. Over the next two years Old Town House was carefully restored and updated and a new open air porch was added for easy access to the adjacent Village Green. Now, in 2024, the building has been reopened for programs and the NYHS Archives is being transferred to its new home in the lower level of Old Town House. The building’s restoration is 90%, with most of the interior completed. More fundraising will ensure that the facility will finally serve as the open and welcoming community building that the NYHS Board has long envisioned.