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Lewiston, Maine
—  City  —

Motto: Industria
Location of Lewiston, Maine
Coordinates: 44°5′51″N 70°11′33″W / 44.0975°N 70.1925°W / 44.0975; -70.1925Coordinates: 44°5′51″N 70°11′33″W / 44.0975°N 70.1925°W / 44.0975; -70.1925
Country United States
State Maine
County Androscoggin
 - Mayor Laurent F. Gilbert, Sr.
 - City 35.2 sq mi (91.1 km2)
 - Land 34.1 sq mi (88.3 km2)
 - Water 1.1 sq mi (2.8 km2)
Elevation 217 ft (66 m)
Population (2000)
 - City 35,690
 Density 1,047.0/sq mi (404.2/km2)
 Metro 107,552
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 04240, 04241, 04243
Area code(s) 207
FIPS code 23-38740
GNIS feature ID 0569502

Lewiston is a city in Androscoggin County in the U.S. state of Maine and the second-largest city in the state. The population was 38,000 at the 2007 census. It is one of two principal cities of and included within the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine Metropolitan New England City and Town Area and the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area (which is part of the Portland-Lewiston-South Portland, Maine Combined Statistical Area).

A former industrial center, it is located in south-central Maine, at the falls of the Androscoggin River, across from Auburn. Lewiston and Auburn are often thought of as a single entity and referred to as Lewiston-Auburn, which is colloquially abbreviated as L-A or L/A, and have and a combined population of roughly 65,000 people. Lewiston is home to Bates College, the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, the University of Southern Maine's Lewiston-Auburn College, and two significant regional general hospitals: Central Maine Medical Center and Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center.




Early period

The Lewiston area was formerly inhabited by peoples of the Androscoggin Tribe, also known as Arosaguntacook. The Androscoggins were a tribe in the Abenaki Nation. They were driven out of the area in 1690 during King Phillips war. They were relocated at St. Francis, Canada, which was destroyed by Rogers' Rangers in 1759, and is now Odanak.

A grant composing the area of Lewiston was given to Moses Little and Jonathan Bagley, members of the Pejepscot Proprieters, on January 28, 1768 on the condition that fifty families lived in the area before June 1, 1774. Bagley and Little named the new town "Lewistown". Paul Hildreth was the first man to settle in Lewiston in the fall of 1770. By 1795, Lewiston was officially incorporated as a town. At least four houses that have survived from this period are currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Industrial development period

Lewiston was a slow but steadily growing farm town throughout its early history. By the early to mid 1800s, however, as water power was being honed, Lewiston's location on the Androscoggin River would prove to make it a perfect location for emerging industry.

In 1809, Michael Little built a large wooden sawmill next to the falls. Burned in 1814 by an arsonist, it was later rebuilt. In 1836, local entrepreneurs — predominantly the Little family and friends — formed the Androscoggin Falls Dam, Lock and Canal Company:

"...for the purpose of erecting and constructing dams, locks, canals, mills, works, machines, and buildings on their own lands and also manufacturing cotton, wool, iron, steel, and paper in the towns of Lewiston, Minot, and Danville." [1]

Later reorganized as the Lewiston Water Power Company the new sales of stock attracted Boston investors — including Thomas J. Hill, Lyman Nichols, George L. Ward, Alexander De Witt, and Benjamin E. Bates (namesake of the Bates Mill and Bates College) – who financed a canal system and several textile mills on the Androscoggin River. This began Lewiston's transformation from a small farming town into a textile city on the model provided by Lowell, Massachusetts. The Bates Mill remained the largest employer in Lewiston from the 1850s to the 21st century.

Lewiston's population boomed in the 19th century. In 1849 the railroad came to Lewiston. With it came a significant amount of Irish workers moving into the city to help build the canals and mills. During the Civil War, high demand for textiles provided Lewiston with a strong industrial base. Starting in the 1870s, railroad connections to Canada brought an even more significant influx of French-Canadian millworkers, replacing the former "yankee millgirls", and the city's population has been largely Franco-American since. The Franco-Americans settled in an area downtown that became known as "Little Canada". From 1840 to 1890, Lewiston's population exploded from 1,801 to 21,701. During this time, in 1863, Lewiston was incorporated as a city.

The local Kora Shrine was organized in 1891 and held its first meetings in a Masonic temple on Lisbon street. This group would from 1908 to 1910 build the Kora Temple on Sabattus street, the largest home of a fraternal organization in the state. Architect George M. Coombs designed this Moorish style structure.

City leaders decided to build a cathedral in which the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland could relocate. Construction of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul began in 1905 and ended in 1938, mostly funded through thousands of small donations from Lewiston residents. It is the largest Roman Catholic Church in Maine, and Lewiston's most prominent landmark. While the Diocese of Portland did not relocate to Lewiston, the church became a basilica in 2004. It is one of the few American basilicas located outside of a major metropolitan area.

Lewiston factories circa 1910

Industrial decline period

After World War I, profits from the textile industry in New England mill towns such as Lewiston, Manchester, New Hampshire, Waterbury, Connecticut, and Fall River, Haverhill, Lawrence, and Lowell, Massachusetts began to decline. Businesses began moving to the South due to lower costs of power from more modern technologies (Lewiston's water wheel technology gave way to hydroelectricity, cheaper transportation (as most cotton and materials came from the South), and cheaper labor.

Starting in the late 1950s, many of Lewiston's textile mills began closing. This gradually led to a run-down and abandoned downtown area. Chain stores previously located downtown—Woolworth's, W. T. Grant, S. S. Kresge, JC Penney and Sears Roebuck—shut their doors or moved to malls on the outskirts of Lewiston or Auburn. The city's flagship department store, the four-story B. Peck & Co., closed after more than a century in business in 1982. As businesses and jobs began to leave the city, people followed. The population stopped increasing at its previous rate and began to slowly decline after 1970, then at a greater rate in the 1990s.

Economic diversification and renaissance

Following a difficult economic period in the 1980s that saw high unemployment and downtown stagnation, several key events have led to a period of economic and cultural renaissance, including the transformation of the historic Bates Mill Complex. Because the city took over the complex in 1992 after back taxes went unpaid, years of taxpayer frustration in the city's need to maintain the 1,100,000-square-foot (102,000 m2) behemoth led to two referenda (one non-binding vote, the other binding). Voters soundly supported the need to pursue redevelopment by maintaining the property and selling it to private developers. In 2001, the city sold three mill buildings to local developers. Platz Associates, then in 2003, sold the Bates Mill Complex, with the exception of Mill 5 and a small support building. For the next four years, a number of business enterprises flourished after Platz redeveloped the mill building.

In May 2004, the city of Lewiston announced a plan for urban renewal near its downtown area. The plan is to demolish several blocks of nineteenth-century millworker housing, lay new streets with updated infrastructure, construct more owner-occupied, lower-density housing, and build a boulevard through one neighborhood using federal Community Development Block Grant funds provided over a period of ten years. Many residents of the affected neighborhoods felt that the plan was initially announced with very little input from them. They formed a neighborhood group called "The Visible Community", which has since been actively involved in the planning process, which has resulted has been cooperation between neighbors and city officials to redesign Kennedy Park, including input on the location of new basketball courts, and feedback regarding creation of the largest all-concrete skate park in Maine.

Downtown is now home to a new headquarters for Oxford Networks, along with a $20 million upgrade in local fiber-optics, a new auto parts store, a campus for Andover College, the headquarters for Northeast Bank, a parking garage, and the newly renovated Maine Supply Co. building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. That facility is now called the Business Service Center at Key Bank Plaza, and is home to the local Chamber of Commerce, the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, and an innovative arrangement with a number of business service providers. The area's renaissance has gained local, regional, and national recognition. In 2002 and again in 2006, the L-A area led the state in economic development activity, according to the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development's list of business investments and expansions. In a 2006 KPMG International study measuring the cost of locating and maintaining a business, Lewiston ranked first among the New England communities analyzed, and finished 24th out of 49 U.S. communities analyzed.

Lewiston also earned a 2007 All-America City Award designation by the National Civic League. The national competition "recognizes communities whose residents work together to identify and tackle community-wide challenges and achieve measurable, uncommon results." Only 10 cities are selected as All-America Cities each year. Lewiston was the first Maine city to earn the distinction since Auburn in 1967.[citation needed]

Somali and Bantu migration

In 1999 and at the urging of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the United States government began preparations to resettle an estimated 12,000 refugees from the Bantu minority ethnic group in Somalia to select cities throughout the United States. Most of the early arrivals in the United States settled in Clarkston, Georgia, a city adjacent to Atlanta, but the latter contend that they encountered problems there with local criminals.[2]

Word soon spread that a small town in Maine by the name of Lewiston had a low crime rate, good schools and cheap housing, and even reached as far as the refugee camps in Kenya.[3] Somalis subsequently began trickling in to the former mill town, soon followed en masse by hundreds of Bantus over a period of just a few months.[2]

In 2006, it was estimated that well over 50% of Somali immigrant adults were still unemployed, even after five years from their arrival in Lewiston as reported by William Finnegan of New Yorker Magazine[4]. A 2008 report by the State of Maine's Department of Labor confirmed the anecdote showing unemployment at 51%.[5]

In October 2002, then-Mayor Laurier T. Raymond wrote an open letter addressed to leaders of the Somali community, predicting a negative impact on the city's social services and requesting that they discourage further relocation to Lewiston. The letter angered some people and prompted some community leaders and residents to speak out against the mayor, drawing national attention. Demonstrations were held in Lewiston, both by those who supported the Bantus' presence and those who opposed it.[2]

Phone calls and mail from Lewiston residents to the Mayor ran 20 to 1 in support of the Mayor's letter.[citation needed]

In January 2003, a small white supremacist group demonstrated in Lewiston in support of what they believed the mayor meant, prompting a simultaneous counter-demonstration of about 4,000 people at Bates College and the organization of the "Many and One Coalition". Only 32 attended the rally by the white supremacist group. The Mayor was out of state on the day of the rallies, while the governor and other dignitaries attended.

In 2006, a frozen severed pig's head was thrown into a Lewiston mosque while the faithful were praying. This was considered very offensive by the town's Muslim community, as swine is viewed as unclean in Islam and eating pork is prohibited.[6] The culprit admitted to the act and claimed it to be a joke. He later committed suicide.[7]

Lewiston Today

Large Businesses

Central Maine Medical Center view from High Street.
  • Central Maine Medical Center: Founded by Edward H. Hill in the mid-1860s CMMC (Central Maine Medical Center) is located in downtown Lewiston at High St. The Campus includes several large parking facilities, a LifeFlight of Maine helipad. In recent years the hospital has created the Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute, and the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope. The hospital has approximately 250 beds, and approximately 300 physicians. It is a Level II trauma center. Central Maine Medical Center is the flagship hospital of Central Maine Medical Family. The organization runs two other hospitals, one in Bridgeton, Maine and another in Rumford, Maine. It also operates CMMC College of Nursing and Health Professions; and many affiliated long-term care facilities, clinics and practices throughout central and western Maine. The current president of the hospital chain is Peter E. Chalk. The Central Maine Medical Family is located a block away from the hospital on Bates Street in the Lovell Square Building, a refurbished textile factory. CMMC is currently undergoing major renovations to their emergency entrance.
  • Country Kitchen Bakery: Country Kitchen is located in downtown Lewiston between Lisbon and Park streets. Country Kitchen currently services all of the United States. It operates a warehouse a few hundred feet away between Canal and Lincoln streets.
  • Wal Mart Distribution Center: Wal Mart currently operates a 485,000 square foot warehousing facility in Lewiston. It is currently the states largest facility. It is one mile from exit 80 on I-95 on Alfred M. Plourde Parkway. This facility currently services all New England Wal Marts.
The Lewiston Sun Journal's Main Office, located Downtown on Park Street.
  • Sun Journal: The Sun Jounral is a daily newspaper that is headquartered in Lewiston on Park Street. It operates several different offices throughout Central and Western Maine. In Androscoggin County it prints the City Edition, news about the Lewiston-Auburn area. They also print the Oxford County, Franklin County, and State Editions. They are the third largest newspaper in the State of Maine.
  • Diamond Pheonix: A large engineering company who's headquarters is located at 90 Alfred A. Plourde Parkway in Lewiston. Diamond Pheonix also known as System Logistics is an engineering company who specializes in the setup of technology for the warehouse and storing systems.

Lisbon St.

  • Downtown Lisbon Street:Lisbon street is the commercial and government center of Lewiston. In its downtown section, it features many law offices, the city library, the district court, two high-end restaurants FUEL and Mother India, several pawn shops, Senator Susan Collin's Office, Representative Mike Michaud's Office, a large strip of stores aimed at the large Somalian community, and many more stores. Downtown Lisbon street faced hard economic times in the 1980s and 90s. Due to that fact many of the one time high-end stores remain vacant. In recent years, the economy has recovered and the stores have been refurbished or torn down to make room for parking.
  • Upper Lisbon Street:Past downtown features several malls, The Lewiston Promenade Mall, and The Lewiston Mall. Then there are also many chain restaurants, some car dealerships, and many other private businesses.

Main St.

Main St. in Lewiston is US-Route 202, ME-Route 11, and ME-Route 100.

  • Downtown Main Street: Main St. in Downtown starts at the Governor James B. Longley Memorial Bridge which crosses into Auburn. When you first cross into Lewiston there is the Veterans Memorial Park. A large park directly on the waterfront that commemorates veterans from Lewiston and Auburn. Then there is a small hydro-plant that was used to power the textile mills located on Canal Street. After the canal bridge there is the downtown section. In the downtown section of Main street there is L.L. Bean Call Center located in the Peck Building, a T.D. Banknorth branch, St. Josephs Church, a vacant church owned by the Diocese of Portland, Central Maine Medical Center, and many other businesses.
  • Upper Main Street: Past downtown there are several businesses, and several chain stores and restaurants, but it is mostly residential. The street is lined with large 19th Century Victorian mansions, some still houses and some turned into doctors offices.


Saint's Peter and Paul Basilica, one of only a few basilica's in New England, and the only in Maine is located downtown on Ash Street in Lewiston.
Kennedy Park is the centerpiece to the downtown area of Lewiston. Around it are the City Hall, Police Department, Lewiston Sun Journal, Library, and St. Patrick's Church.
  • Downtown: This is the most dense area of the city, containing about half of the city's entire population. It contains mostly housing, but on the part of this neighborhood that contains Lisbon Street, and Main Street, it is entirely businesses. This neighborhood was formerly the place where everything was happening in the whole county. Now due to economic decline, store downtown have closed, and the old mill housing has become run-down and land values have fallen. Streets like Knox street for example were ten years ago very run down, but in recent year have been livened up with community projects as well as a great effort, and input of culture into business by the recent influx of Somalian refugees. This has happened through all downtown. This neighborhood runs from Oxford Street up to Jefferson Street, and from Adams Ave. to Main Street.

In this neighborhood is:

  • Lisbon Street Business District
  • Country Kitchen Bread Factory
  • Lewiston City Hall
  • Bates Mill Complex
  • Lewiston Police Department
  • Kennedy Park
  • The Public Theatre
  • S.S. Peter and Paul Basilica
  • St. Patrick's Church
  • St. Joseph's Church
  • Central Maine Medical Family/Center
  • Railroad Park
  • Androscoggin Bank Coliseé
  • Bourque's Central Market
  • Farmers Market


Public transportation

  • City Bus: The city of Lewiston uses the Citylink or Purple Bus system. They use Citylink in collaboration with Auburn and
    City Link Bus in Auburn near Wal Mart
    Lisbon. The buses run from 6am to 5:30 PM Monday through Saturday. They operate on nine different bus lines.
  • Bus Number 1- Main Street
  • Bus Number 2- Sabattus Street
  • Bus Number 3- Lisbon Street
  • Bus Number 4- New Auburn
  • Bus Number 5- Minot Avenue
  • Bus Number 6- College Street
  • Bus Number 7- Auburn Malls
  • Bus Number 8- Downtown Shuttle
  • Bus Number 9- Central Maine Community College


  • Regular fares:
  • Single Ride: $1.25
  • Multiple Ride(6): $6.25
  • Monthly Pass: $30.00
  • High School student fare:
  • Single Ride: $1.25
  • Monthly Pass: $15.00
  • Seniors/Disabled (with Medicare card or picture ID):
  • Single Ride: $0.60
  • Multiple Ride(11): $6.00
  • Monthly Pass: $15.00

The downtown shuttle is the only line that requires no fare at all. It runs through the downtown of both Lewiston and Auburn. The Citylink's station is located in Auburn. Its maintains only one line that goes into Lisbon. The Citylink services on average approximately 235,000 people a year.

Private transportation companies

Taxi Cab companies:

  • Celebrity Cab
  • City Cab Company: The biggest cab company in the Lewiston/Auburn area.[citation needed]
  • Five Star Taxi
  • Jamies Cab
  • Tri-Town Taxi

Other Transportation companies

  • Western Maine Transportation System: Operate throughout all Western Maine.
  • Community Concepts: Charitable organization.

Roadways and major routes

  • Interstate 95: Formerly Interstate 495, runs through Lewiston. It is Exit 80 in Lewiston. Exit 80 exits out onto Alfred Plourde Parkway in the Industrial Park. Provides fast connection to Portland being 45 minutes away, Bangor which is two hours away, and Boston which is two hours away.
  • U.S. Route 202: Main Street in Lewiston is 202 as well as ME-Route 11, and ME-Route 100. It runs straight through the center of downtown to the business parks outwards of town, and the northern Lewiston suburbs. Connects Lewiston to Auburn and Greene. Provides fast transportation to Augusta and Kennebec Valley.
  • Maine State Route 196: Starts in Lewiston at U.S. Route 202, Main Street. In Lewiston it is Canal Street, which turns into Lisbon Street. This route connects Lewiston to Lisbon, and makes easy access to the towns of Topsam, and Brunswick. This route ends on U.S. Route 1 in the City of Brunswick, Maine. It connects to Interstate 295 in Topsam.
  • Maine State Route 126: Starts in Lewiston at US Route 202, Maine Street. In Lewiston it is Sabbatus Street. It connects Lewiston to the town of Sabbatus.


The Longley Bridge going into Lewiston at 5 o-clock rush-hour.
The Bernard Lown Peace Bridge from the Lewiston side in Little Canada.
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge: Built in 1973 to commemorate the veterans of the Vietnam War. It connects Lewiston to Auburn. It provides fast transportation from Russell Street, and Main Street to Auburn's Mt. Auburn Ave, and shopping centers on Center Street and the Mall Area.
  • Governor James B. Longley Memorial Bridge: Connects Main Street in downtown Lewiston to Court Street in Downtown Auburn. Named after former Lewiston Mayor, and Governor of Maine James B. Longley.
  • Bernard Lown Peace Bridge: Connects Little Canada and New Auburn. Starts in Lewiston as Cedar Street and starts in Auburn as Main Street. Commemorates former Lewiston resident and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Bernard Lown.

Airports and bus station

  • Auburn/Lewiston Municipal Airport: The official airport of the two cities. It currently provides private flights in and out of the city. Only small regional commercial flight companies operate there. There are plans to get airlines that would fly to cities such as Newark in the airport by 2012.

Although the city is serviced by an airport most people use the Portland International Jetport for commercial flights in and out of the state.

  • Oak Street Bus Station: Greyhound and Vermont Transit operate a bus line out of Lewiston. The bus lines go as far as Bangor and Boston. From those two destinations more travel opportunities are available.



  • The Lewiston Public Library has played a major role in the emerging culture of Lewiston. It was renovated and expanded in 1996. The library is located downtown on the corner of Lisbon Street and Pine Street and has over 100,000 books in its collection. Recently, it has opened the Marsden Hartley Cultural Center, holding various events such as concerts and film festivals.


  • Museum L-A: Museum L-A is a museum in a former textile factory building. It honors the people who worked and lived in this community. At Museum L-A visitors can walk through a simulated production line, then view exhibits covering the textile, show, and brick industries that once thrived in Lewiston and Auburn. The museum is currently located in Bates Mill Number 4 in the Bates Mill Complex. In June 2009 the museum acquired Camden Mill and plans on moving to those facilities once it is refurbished.
  • Bates College Museum of Art: Located on the Bates College Campus, the Bates College Museum of Art features a wide variety of art. The art students at this school create much of this cities art life.

Franco-American Heritage Center

The Franco-American Heritage Center opened in 2000 in what was formerly St. Mary's Parish. The performing arts center programs events for both Franco-American related performances as well as other cultural displays, such as the Center's Piano and Celtic Series. The diverse programming of the venue hosts both local and international performers. The Center also hosts events and serves as a museum of the city's Franco-American past with historical artifacts and documentation on display as well as a small library.

The Public Theatre

Lewiston also features The Public Theatre, which puts on different plays throughout the year with about six to eight productions per season. It is located downtown on Maple St. It was formerly located on Park street. It features all types of plays, with actors from all over the world. Its offices are located in Auburn at the Great Falls Plaza.


The Great Falls Balloon Festival

The Great Falls Balloon Festival is an event that is held one weekend in August every year. The Festival includes launching of balloons, games, and carnival rides. The launch sites take place at several open parks on the Lewiston-Auburn Androscoggin Riverfront. People come from all around the country and Canada to see the festivities. It is said to be the cities biggest annual event.[citation needed]

Festival FrancoFun

Formerly known as Festival de Joie, Festival FrancoFun is held annually at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee and is a celebration of the city's Franco-American heritage. The festival features performances from French-Canadian musicians as well as nativeFrench-Canadian food.

Liberty Festival

Held on July 4 of each year, the festival is the name given to the fireworks event over the Great Falls of the Androscoggin River in between the twin cities. The fireworks are launched in West Pitch Park in Auburn. Major viewpoints of the fireworks are Veterans Park, railroad Park, Mardens parking lot in Lewiston, Country Kitchen parking lot on Locust Street, and Great Falls Plaza in Auburn.

Patrick Dempsey Challenge

Lewiston is where the Patrick Dempsey challenge is held every year as of 2009. In its opening year the event raised over one million dollars for cancer research. This event attracts famous athletes from all around including some who participate in the Tour de France. All the proceeds go to the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope at the Central Maine Medical Center.



  • Sun Journal: Lewiston Sun Journal was established as the Lewiston Daily Sun, and Lewiston Evening Journal in the mid 19th century. It is located downtown in Lewiston on the corner of Pine and Park Streets adjacent to City Hall, Kennedy Park, the public library, and the United States Post Office for Lewiston. The Sun Journal prints a daily newspaper in four different editions statewide. The Sun Journal was the recipient of the 2008 New England Daily Newspaper of the Year and the 2009 Maine Press Association Newspaper of the Year.
  • Twin City Times: The Twin City Times is printed in Auburn. It is found in almost every establishment in Lewiston for free. It features local news, and short articles from people in the Twin-Cities.


  • WCSH-TV/DT: WCSH is an NBC affiliate based in Portland, Maine and has a correspondence office on Main Street in downtown Lewiston. They are owned by Gannett Co., Inc. It is local channel 6.


  • WRBC: Bates College's Radio Station, WRBC is a very popular and widely participated college radio station. Citizens from the Lewiston area are allowed to participate in broadcasting and sign up for their own radio shows throughout the year.

Sports and recreation

Androscoggin Bank Colisee

The Androscoggin Bank Colisée

The center of sports in Lewiston is the Androscoggin Bank Colisée (formerly known as the Central Maine Civic Center). The Lewiston Maineiacs, the only American team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League play here. The Colisée is also the home to the state Class A and Class B high school hockey championships each year. The city as a whole is known for its strong passion for the game of hockey, likely related to its French-Canadian heritage. Two Lewiston schools, Lewiston High School and St. Dominic Regional High School (now located in Auburn), combine for over half of the state class A high school hockey championships in the state's history.

In 1965, Lewiston was the site of a Muhammad Ali--Sonny Liston heavyweight title fight. Only 2,434 fans were present at The Lewiston Colisee, which set the all-time record for the lowest attendance for a boxing heavyweight championship fight.

Lewiston Maineiacs

The Lewiston Maineiacs are a professional hockey team located at The Colisée on Birch Street in Lewiston. They are in the TELUS Central Division of the LHJMQ(Ligue de hockey junior majeur de Québec), otherwise known as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. They are the only team in the league of 18 teams to be located in the United States or any other country other than Canada. The franchise was relocated from Sherbrooke, QC in 2003 to Lewiston. They are currently in their sixth season in Lewiston. In 2006-2007 The Maineiacs had come in first place in the east, and won the 2007 Presidents Cup. They had taken part in the 2007 Memorial Cup. Their current owners are Mark Just and Joel Bouchard. Several Maineiacs have been drafted into the NHL.


Lewiston's public education system has recently seen a number of new buildings constructed for Farwell Elementary School and Pettingill School, now replaced with the 600 Student capacity Geiger Elementary School. Plans to redo the cities Thomas J. McMahon School are under way.

The city is also home to Bates College, one of the most prestigious small colleges in the country.

Colleges and universities

Public schools

Private schools


Lewiston is located at 44°5′51″N 70°11′33″W / 44.0975°N 70.1925°W / 44.0975; -70.1925 (44.097473, -70.192416)[8].According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.2 square miles (91.1 km²), of which, 34.1 square miles (88.3 km²) of it is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km²) of it (3.13%) is water. Lewiston is drained by the Androscoggin River, which is located on its western border. Lewiston is bordered by the city of Auburn beyond the river, and the towns of Greene, Sabattus, and Lisbon. It is located between Portland, the state's biggest city and cultural center, and the state capital of Augusta.


Climate data for Lewiston, Maine
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 29
Average low °F (°C) 11
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.5
Source: Weatherbase


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1790 532
1800 948 78.2%
1810 1,038 9.5%
1820 1,312 26.4%
1830 1,549 18.1%
1840 1,801 16.3%
1850 3,584 99.0%
1860 7,424 107.1%
1870 13,600 83.2%
1880 19,083 40.3%
1890 21,701 13.7%
1900 23,761 9.5%
1910 26,247 10.5%
1920 31,791 21.1%
1930 34,948 9.9%
1940 38,598 10.4%
1950 40,974 6.2%
1960 40,804 −0.4%
1970 41,779 2.4%
1980 40,481 −3.1%
1990 39,757 −1.8%
2000 35,690 −10.2%
Est. 2007 35,131 −1.6%

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 35,690 people, 15,290 households, and 8,654 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,047.0 people per square mile (404.2/km²). There were 16,470 housing units at an average density of 483.2/sq mi (186.5/km²). The racial makeup was 95.75% White, 1.07% African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.84% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.36% from other races, and 1.66% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.26% of the population.

People of French descent are by far the most represented ethnic group in Lewiston, with 29.4% being of French-Canadian descent and 18.3% French. Following French are Irish at 10.2% and English at 9.9%. These numbers are from the 2000 Census, so do not include the recent migration of Bantus to the city.

There were 15,290 households out of which 25.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.9% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.4% were non-families. 35.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.81.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,191, and the median income for a family was $40,061. Males had a median income of $30,095 versus $21,810 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,905. About 10% of families and 15.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.8% of those under age 18 and 12.5% of those age 65 or over.

From Modern Language Association Data Center

Language Population Percentage (%)
English 24,250 72.51%
French 8,620 25.77%
Spanish 280 0.83%
Other languages 293 0.88%

Voter Registration

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of November, 2006[12]
Party Total Voters Percentage
  Republican 4,146 17.7%
  Democratic 10,678 45.6%
  Unaffiliated 7,680 32.8%
  Green Party 869 3.8%
  Minor Parties 27 0.1%
Total 23,400 100%

Notable residents

City Hall in 1908

Many others have ties to Lewiston from attending Bates College:

In popular culture

  • The Farmers' Almanac is printed in Lewiston.
  • Lewiston is the setting for the fictitious Kingdom Hospital, featured in the thirteen-episode miniseries developed by horror writer Stephen King. In 1999 when King was struck by a car while walking in Lovell, Maine, he was flown by helicopter and treated at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. In the mini-series, the hospital is built on the site of a textile mill which made military uniforms during the American Civil War, which the Bates Mill and other Lewiston textile factories actually did. King attended elementary school in the nearby town of Durham, Maine and high school in the neighboring town of Lisbon Falls, Maine
  • Twins Francis Edgar Stanley and Freelan O. Stanley invented the photographic dry plate process, that they used in their studio on Lisbon Street in the late 19th century. They later sold the patent to a company that became Eastman Kodak. They eventually went on to invent the Stanley Steamer.

Places of interest

  • Railroad Park, a large park in downtown Lewiston. Also one of the launching points of the largest balloon festival in New England, the Great Falls Balloon Festival.
  • Grand Trunk Rail Station, a historical look at the railroad running through downtown Lewiston.
  • Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary, just off of Highland Spring Road, it is the largest bird sanctuary in New England.
  • The Public Theatre, a nationally recognized theatre for their artistic excellence, The Public Theatre is a professional Equity theatre located in the heart of downtown Lewiston.
  • The Lewiston Skate Park, on Park Street. It includes a nine foot pool coaping-bowl, snake-run, pole-jam, stair-set, hand-rail, and ledges. The entire park is surfaced with concrete. It is one of the largest skate parks north of Boston.
  • Mount David, often referred to as "Mount Davis" or "Davis Mountain" due to its being named after a man named David Davis. A small, 389-foot mountain with several trails, located on the campus of Bates College.
  • Lewiston Falls on the Androscoggin River separates downtown Lewiston and Auburn. The falls, also known as the "Great Falls", were once a fishing destination for Native Americans. The river has since become polluted and is no longer a popular fishing place.
  • Museum L-A: The Story of Work and Community in Lewiston-Auburn. Documents and celebrates the economic, social and technological legacy of Lewiston-Auburn and its people. It is located in the Bates Mill Complex at the corner of Canal and Chestnut streets.

National Historic Sites in Lewiston

Empire Theatre in 1907
Hospital Square in c. 1910
Kennedy Park in c. 1915
Kora Temple Shrine in c. 1915
Bates Mills and canal in c. 1915


  1. ^ Elder, Janus G. A History of Lewiston, Maine with a Genealogical Register of Early Families page 52.
  2. ^ a b c The Great Somali Welfare Hunt
  3. ^ The New Yankees, Mother Jones, March/April 2004
  4. ^ Finnegan, William, "Letter from Maine: New in Town, the Somalis of Lewiston." The New Yorker, December 11, 2006
  5. ^ Employment Patterns of Somali Immigrants
  6. ^ Cofie D. Malbouisson, Focus on Islamic Issues, (Nova Science Publishers: 2006), p.8
  7. ^ - Another side of Brent Matthews
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ [1], accessed December, 2007.
  10. ^ Lewiston city, Maine - Population Finder - American FactFinder
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  12. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of November, 2006". Maine Bureau of Corporations. 

Further reading

  • History of Lewiston, Maine
  • History of Lewiston, Maine (municipal site)
  • Elder, Janus G., "A History of Lewiston, Maine with a Genealogical Register of Early Families." Heritage Books, Inc., 1989
  • Hodgkin, Douglas I., "Lewiston Memories: A Bicentennial Pictorial." Jostens Printing & Publishing, 1994
  • Finnegan, William, "Letter from Maine: New in Town, the Somalis of Lewiston." The New Yorker, December 11, 2006
  • Hodgkin, Douglas I., Frontier to Industrial City:Lewiston Town Politics 1768–1863. Just Write Books, Topsham, ME, 2008

External links

Somali immigration related


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