A Provider's Progress Through Time

The 1950s, Our Early Beginnings

1954: While serving on the Lewiston Board of Finance, our namesake, John F. Murphy, offers a motion that allows the Lewiston-Auburn Association for the Mentally Retarded use of Garcelon School as an educational facility.

1956: In February the school opens with Florence Hodgkins as its first teacher. In 1959, Betty Keene joins the faculty. And in 1960, Mr. Murphy becomes the school’s administrator upon his retirement.

The 1960s

1969: The L/A Association for the Mentally Retarded acquired the Dr. Clark Miller home on Madison Street in Auburn to replace the deteriorating Garcelon School. Mr. Murphy was the administrator of the Murphy Street School until he retired in 1973.

The 1970s, A Champion is Lost, A Legacy Lives On

1975: The Madison Street School had grown to serve 45 young people with a staff of 12 full and 8 part time employees. The school merged with Pathways, an organization that began when the L/A Association for the Mentally Retarded dissolved.

1976: Mr. John F. Murphy passed away on February 23. Advocates for the developmentally disabled began meeting to advance a vision of services that included a need for housing for people with intellectual disabilities. Pineland Center, an institutional setting for serving adults with developmental disabilities, had begun closing down. Jim Collins, the president of the Madison Street School PTA met with Margaret Murphy and suggested the establishment of a foundation to honor John F. Murphy’s work on behalf of the developmentally disabled in the community. The John F. Murphy Foundation for the Mentally Retarded was formed to provide assistance with everyday living skills and a safe home for adults with developmental disabilities.

1977: In October, Jim Collins and other board members secured $30,000 from the City of Lewiston to finance the Murphy Foundation. 1977, the Lewiston Board of Finance recommended that $30,000 be made available to finance the Murphy Foundation. The first home was established in December of 1977 at 23 Pleasant St. in Lewiston. In the face of opposition from some of the neighbors, the Zoning Board of appeals granted the permits needed to buy the home by Unanimous vote on December 22, 1977.

1978: The Pleasant Street Home opened in March, providing housing to six residents and sparking a community discussion about the need for group care facilities in the Lewiston – Auburn region.

1980s John F. Murphy Homes Begins

1980: In April the foundation obtained and opened its second home.

1986: The organization changed its name to John F. Murphy Homes Inc. to better reflect what the organization does. Many still refer to JFM as the Murphy Foundation.

1989: The Turner Street Home opens, the fourth community-based group home to welcome residents over the course of the decade.

1990s: Leading the Transition to the Community-Based Model

1990: The Shop opens providing day programs and activities

1991: The State of Maine makes the decision to close Pineland Center, the institution located in New Gloucester that first opened its doors in the early 1900s. At its peak, Pineland institutionalized approximately 1,600 people.

1996: Pineland Center closes

1999: The Sargent Avenue Group Home opens, the 19th facility opened by the agency over the course of the decade in response to the need to provide community-based housing and services.

2000s: A School and Continued Leadership

2000: The Margaret Murphy Children’s Center opens on Charles Street providing services to children with autism spectrum disorder. Today the center has five schools serving children from pre-school age to high school.

2008: John F. Murphy Homes opens its first apartment-based residential facility.

2012: John F. Murphy Homes celebrates its 35th Anniversary of serving area communities and people with intellectual disabilities.