Main Births etc
Lewiston, Maine
—  City  —
Skyline of Lewiston
Official seal of Lewiston, Maine
Motto: "The Sky's the Limit"[1]
Location of Lewiston, Maine
Coordinates: 44°5′51″N 70°11′33″W / 44.0975, -70.1925Coordinates: 44°5′51″N 70°11′33″W / 44.0975, -70.1925
Country United States
State Maine
County Androscoggin
Incorporated 1795 (town), 1863 (city)
 • Mayor Robert E. Macdonald
 • City 35.54 sq mi (92.05 km2)
 • Land 34.15 sq mi (88.45 km2)
 • Water 1.39 sq mi (3.60 km2)
Elevation 217 ft (66 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • City 36,592
 • Estimate (2012[4]) 41,592
 • Density 1,071.5/sq mi (413.7/km2)
 • Metro 107,702
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
Website Town of Lewiston, Maine

Lewiston is a city in Androscoggin County in Maine, and the second-largest city in the state. The population was 36,592 at the 2010 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 as of 2006 census estimates has a combined population of 107,702. It is also part of the extended Portland-Lewiston-South Portland, Maine combined statistical area, which has a combined population 621,219 as of 2006 estimates.

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 considered a single entity and referred to as Lewiston–Auburn, colloquially abbreviated as L-A or L/A. They have a combined population of 59,647 people.[5] Together, Lewiston-Auburn is somewhat smaller than Maine's largest city, Portland (excluding its own suburbs). 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 (or Arosaguntacook) tribe. The Androscoggins were a tribe of the Abenaki nation. Facing annihilation from English attacks and epidemics of new infectious diseases, the Androscoggins started to emigrate to Quebec around 1669. They were driven out of the area in 1680 sometime after King Philip's War (1675-1676). The governor of New France allocated two seigneuries on the Saint Francis River which is now known as the Odanak Indian Reservation; and the second was founded near Bécancour and is called the Wolinak Indian Reservation.

A grant comprising 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.[6] At least four houses that have survived from this period are currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

King Avenue and Ralph Avenue were named after Ralph Luthor King, who owned the land located near the fairgrounds. Elliott Avenue was named after his wife, Grace O. Elliott, whose son eventually built the family home at 40 Wellman Street.

Industrial development period[]

Benjamin E. Bates from 1877-78 The Bates Student

Child going to work at 5:30 a.m. in Lewiston, 1909. Photo by Lewis Hine.

Saints' Peter and Paul Basilica, one of only a few basilicas in New England, and the only in Maine, located on Ash Street

Lewiston was a slow but steadily growing farm town throughout its early history. By the early-to-mid-19th century, 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.[6]

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 & 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." [7]

Later reorganized as the Lewiston Water Power Company, the 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 the transformation from a small farming town into a textile manufacturing center on the model of Lowell, Massachusetts.[6] The Bates Mill remained the largest employer in Lewiston from the 1850s to the mid-late 20th century.

In 1853, the Grand Trunk Railway was built, connecting Maine to the St. Lawrence River, Montreal, and the Canadian Maritimes, and making Portland the winter port for Canadian trade. Subsequently, trains connected Quebec with Lewiston on a daily schedule. During the Civil War, the high demand for textiles helped Lewiston develop a strong industrial base. In 1860, a flood of French-Canadian immigration into Maine began, spawned by industrial work opportunities in Maine cities with water power from waterfalls.[8] This brought a significant influx of Québécois millworkers that replaced the former Yankee millgirls. Lewiston's population boomed between 1840 to 1890 from 1,801 to 21,701. Canadiens settled in an area downtown that became known as Little Canada, and Lewiston's character has remained largely Franco-American ever since.

In 1855, The Maine State Seminary in Lewiston, now Bates College, was incorporated. During this time, in 1863, Lewiston was incorporated as a city. In 1872, St. Peter's church was built in Lewiston. This was the first French-Canadian national church in Maine. In 1880, Le Messager, a French language newspaper, began printing in Lewiston to serve its predominant ethnic population.

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 nevertheless became a basilica in 2004. It is one of the few American basilicas located outside of a major metropolitan area.

Lewiston factories c. 1910
Lewiston factories c. 1910

Lewiston-Auburn Shoe Strike[]

In 1937, one of the largest labor disputes in Maine history occurred in Lewiston and Auburn. The Lewiston-Auburn Shoe Strike lasted from March to June and at its peak involved 4,000 to 5,000 workers on strike. After workers attempted to march across the Androscoggin River from Lewiston to Auburn, Governor Lewis Barrows sent in the Maine Army National Guard. Some labor leaders, CIO Secretary Powers Hapgood, were imprisoned for months after a Maine Supreme Judicial Court judge issued an injunction seeking to end the strike.

Industrial decline period[]

Bates Mill and canal c. 1915

After World War I, profits from the textile industry in New England mill towns such as Lewiston, Biddeford, 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 in 1982 after more than a century in business. 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.[9]

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 growth, 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 (100,000 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. In 2003, Platz Associates 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 expanded after Platz redeveloped the mill building.[9] The Bates Mill complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in December, 2010.

File:Oxford Networks 10 05.jpg

Oxford Networks headquarters

In May 2004, the city officials announced a plan for urban renewal near the downtown area. The plan was to demolish several blocks of 19th-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. Some residents of the affected neighborhoods felt that the plan was initially announced with little input from them. They formed a neighborhood group called "The Visible Community", which has since been actively involved in the planning process, and resulted in 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.[10]

Downtown is 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 of the for-profit Kaplan University, 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 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." 10 cities are selected as All-America Cities each year.[11]

Somali and Bantu migration[]

In 1999, 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. However, they were mostly assigned to low rent, poverty-stricken inner city areas, so many began to look to resettle elsewhere in the U.S.[12]

Word soon spread that Lewiston had a low crime rate, good schools and cheap housing.[13] Somalis subsequently began a secondary migration from other states to the former mill town, and after 2005, many Bantus followed suit.[12]

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.[13] The letter angered some persons 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 immigrants' presence and those who opposed it.[14]

In January 2003, a small white supremacist group from Illinois demonstrated in Lewiston in support of what they believed the mayor meant, prompting a simultaneous counter-demonstration at Bates College and the organization of the "Many and One Coalition". The mayor was out of state on the day of the rallies, while governor John Baldacci and other officials attended.

In August 2010, the Lewiston Sun Journal reported that Somali entrepreneurs had helped reinvigorate downtown Lewiston by opening shops in previously closed storefronts. Amicable relations were also reported by the local Franco-American merchants and the Somali storekeepers.[15]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.54 square miles (92.05 km2), of which, 34.15 square miles (88.45 km2) is land and 1.39 square miles (3.60 km2) is water.[2] Lewiston is drained by the Androscoggin River, which is located on its western border. The city is bordered by Auburn beyond the river, as well as 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.


Lower Lisbon Street in Downtown.

  • Downtown: It runs from Oxford Street up to Jefferson Street, and from Adams Avenue to Main Street. This is the most densely settled area of the city, home to about half the population. It contains mostly housing, although on Lisbon Street and Main Street, it is entirely businesses. This neighborhood was once the commercial hub of the whole county. But with the city's economic decline, many downtown stores closed, and the former mill housing became run-down, resulting in fallen land values. But like many post-industrial centers, there followed a period of renovation. Knox Street was very run-down. The building on these streets including Pine, Howard and many others that form this densely populated areas continue the urban blight of a city crowded with tenement-like housing. This neighborhood includes:
  • Lisbon Street Business District

    Lewiston City Hall.

  • Country Kitchen Bread Factory
  • Kaplan University
  • 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 Center
  • Railroad Park
  • Androscoggin Bank Coliseé
  • Bourque's Central Market
  • Farmers Market

Webster Street neighborhood Consisting mostly of suburban mid-income housing, this neighborhood runs between Lisbon and Webster Streets, East Avenue, and Alfred Plourde Parkway. Schools that serve this neighborhood are Farwell Elementary, Martel Elementary, Lewiston Middle School, and Lewiston High School.

Pond Road neighborhood This neighborhood is bounded by the triangle formed by Pond Road, Randall Road, and Sabattus Street (Route 126). This neighborhood is mostly mid-income suburban residential. This area is served by McMahon Elementary, Lewiston Middle School, and Lewiston High School.


Template:Lewiston, Maine weatherbox


Large businesses[]

Central Maine Medical Center, seen from High Street

  • Central Maine Medical Center: Founded by Edward H. Hill in the mid-1860s CMMC (Central Maine Medical Center) is located downtown at High Street. 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 & Healing. 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 Bridgton and another in Rumford. 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. Chalke. The Central Maine Medical Family is located a block away from the hospital on Bates Street in the Lowell Square Building, a refurbished textile factory. CMMC recently underwent major renovations to their emergency department.
  • Country Kitchen Bakery: Country Kitchen is located in downtown between Lisbon and Park streets. Country Kitchen currently services all of the United States. It operates a second factory a few hundred feet away between Canal and Lincoln streets.

The Lewiston Sun Journal on Park Street

  • Walmart Distribution Center: Walmart currently operates a 485,000-square-foot (45,100 m2) warehousing facility in Lewiston. It is the state's largest facility, and is one mile (1.6 km) from exit 80 on I-95 on Alfred M. Plourde Parkway. This facility currently services all New England Walmarts.
  • Sun Journal: The Sun Journal is a daily newspaper that is headquartered 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. It is the third largest newspaper in the state.
  • Diamond Phoenix: A large engineering company with headquarters at 90 Alfred A. Plourde Parkway. Diamond Phoenix (also known as System Logistics) is an engineering company specializing in the setup of technology for the warehouse and storing systems.

Lisbon Street[]

The District Court on Lisbon Street

  • 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, several pawn shops, Senator Susan Collins' office, Representative Mike Michaud's office, a few stores aimed at the Somali community, and many empty stores. Downtown Lisbon Street faced hard economic times in the 1980s and 90s, leaving many formerly high-end stores vacant. In recent years, the economy has recovered, although a handful of store fronts remain vacant. Downtown Lisbon Street offers Forage Market, The Vault, Gallery 5, Marche, Niky's, FUEL and Mother India, and is home to both the Emerge Film Festival and the last Friday of the month Art Walks.
  • Upper Lisbon Street: Past downtown features several malls, including the Lewiston Promenade Mall and the Lewiston Mall. There are also many chain restaurants, some car dealerships, and many other private businesses.

Main Street[]

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

  • Downtown Main Street: Main Street starts near the downtown area at the Governor James B. Longley Memorial Bridge, which crosses from Auburn. Crossing into Lewiston, one passes Veterans Memorial Park, a large park on the waterfront that commemorates all veterans. Next 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 of Main Street. It features the L.L. Bean Call Center located in the Peck Building, a TD Bank branch, St. Joseph's Church, a vacant church owned by the Diocese of Portland, Central Maine Medical Center, in addition to 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 of which remain houses and some which have been converted into doctors' offices.

Top employers[]

According to Lewiston's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[16] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Central Maine Medical Center 2,381
2 St. Mary's Health System 1,798
3 TD Bank 1,026
4 Bates College 788
5 Walmart 650
6 Affiliated Computer Services 500
7 McKesson 440
8 Geiger 322
9 Liberty Mutual 307
10 Lepage Bakeries 303


Public transportation[]

  • City Bus: The city of Lewiston uses the Citylink or Purple Bus system. Passengers use Citylink in collaboration with Auburn and Lisbon. The buses run from 6 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Saturday. They operate on nine different bus lines.

City Link Bus near Walmart

  • 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

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.

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 Topsham, and Brunswick. This route ends on U.S. Route 1 in the City of Brunswick, Maine. It connects to Interstate 295 in Topsham.
  • 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.


  • 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 Lewiston resident 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 Broad 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 general aviation facilities. 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 Lines operates 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, shoe, 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 city's art life.
  • The Atrium Gallery: Located at the University of Southern Maine campus in Lewiston. This Museum features a wide variety of art.
  • Captive Elements Art House: Located at 223 Lisbon Street, displaying a collection of local artists' work.

The Franco Center[]

The Franco Center, formerly 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.


Emerge Film Festival[]

The Emerge Film Festival was first held in June 2014 in downtown Lewiston and Auburn.

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 city's biggest annual event.

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 native French-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 and Great Falls Plaza in Auburn.

Patrick Dempsey Challenge[]

Lewiston hosts the annual Dempsey Challenge, which began in 2009. The event, hosted by Lewiston-native Patrick Dempsey, in a run/walk and cycling fundraiser for cancer research. In its opening year the event raised over one million dollars. The event has attracted famous athletes from all around including participants in the Tour de France. All the proceeds go to the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope at the Central Maine Medical Center.

Notable people[]

Portal.svg Franco-Americans



  • Lewiston 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.
  • Lewiston Evening Journal ran from 1866 to 1987.
  • The Twin City Times is a free weekly newspaper printed in Auburn. It is publicly available in Lewiston as well. It features local news, and short articles.


Lewiston is part of the Portland television market, and receives all major channels in that market. WGME-TV and WCSH both have local bureaux in the city, and are located across the street from each other on Main Street.


Lewiston is part of the Portland radio market, and receives most major stations in that market.

  • WFNK 107.5 FM (Frank FM) is licensed to the City of Lewiston; however they broadcast from the Time and Temperature Building in Portland.
  • WRBC 91.5 FM is Bates College's radio station.

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 played their first season in 2003-2004 and dissolved the team after the 2010-2011 season. 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 American 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. During the 2013-14 American Hockey League season, the Portland Pirates will play their first 12 home games at the Colisée while the Cumberland County Civic Center is being renovated.

Ali vs Liston rematch[]

In May 1965, Lewiston became the venue for a World Boxing Association heavyweight title rematch between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston; Ali had defeated Liston in a controversial fight in Miami Beach, Florida in February 1964, and the World Boxing Council was demanding an immediate rematch, which was against WBA rules. The rematch was originally planned to be held in Boston, but was halted by Massachusetts boxing authorities due to licensing issues. Promoters were eventually able to frame a lucrative deal moving the fight to the Colisée in Lewiston. As the venue held less than 3,700 spectators, only 2,434 fans were present, setting an all-time record for the lowest attendance for a heavyweight championship match. The fight was the scene of the famous photograph of Ali standing over Liston taunting him with his glove.[17]

Lewiston Maineiacs[]

The Lewiston Maineiacs were a major junior hockey team that played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)/la Ligue de hockey junior majeur du Québec (LHJMQ). The Maineiacs moved to Lewiston in 2003 from Sherbrooke, Quebec and were the only team in the QMJHL located in the United States. They played their home games at the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston. In 2006-2007, the Maineiacs won the Jean Rougeau Trophy for having the best record in the QMJHL, won the President's Cup as QMJHL playoff champion, and represented the league at the 2007 Memorial Cup. Several Maineiacs alumni have played in the National Hockey League, including Jaroslav Halák, Jonathan Bernier, David Perron, and Alexandre Picard.

Maine Nordiques[]

The Maine Nordiques were a professional hockey team that operated within the North American Hockey League from 1973–1977. They were based at the Central Maine Youth Center in Lewiston. The Nordiques served as a farm club for the Quebec Nordiques of the World Hockey Association.[18]


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[]

  • Bates College
  • University of Southern Maine - Lewiston/Auburn Campus
  • Central Maine Community College - Auburn
  • Kaplan University

Public schools[]

Jordan School in 1908

Private schools[]


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%
2010 36,592 2.5%

2010 census[]

As of the 2010 census, there were 36,592 people, 15,267 households, and 8,622 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,071.5 inhabitants per square mile (413.7 /km2). There were 16,731 housing units at an average density of 489.9 per square mile (189.2 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.6% White, 8.7% Black or African American, 0.4% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.0% Asian, 2.0% Hispanic or Latino (of any race), 0.6% from some other race, and 2.6% from two or more races.[3]

In 2010, there were 15,267 households of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.5% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.5% were non-families. Of all households, 34.4% were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.90.

The median age in the city was 37.4 years. 22.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 12.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.1% were from 25 to 44; 25.3% were from 45 to 64; and 15.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.1% male and 51.9% female.

2000 census[]

As of the 2000 census, there were 35,690 people, 15,290 households, and 8,658 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 per square mile (186.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.7% White, 1.1% Black or African American, 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.8% Asian, 1.3% Hispanic or Latino (of any race), 0.4% from some other race, and 1.7% from two or more races.[21]

People of French-American descent were by far the most represented ethnic group in Lewiston, with 29.4% being of French-Canadian descent and 18.3% French (the two were listed as separate categories in the census although the vast majority were of French-Canadian descent). Following French were Irish at 10.2% and English at 9.9%.

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. Of all households, 35.9% 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 $36,743, and the median income for a family was $46,289. Males had a median income of $38,881 versus $30,465 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,014. About 16% of families and 21.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.8% of those under age 18 and 17.7% of those age 65 or over.



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 2012[23]
Party Total Voters Percentage
  Democratic 10,402 42.79%
  Unenrolled 8,434 34.59%
  Republican 4,209 17.31%
  Green Independent 1,259 5.17%
Total 24,306 100%

In popular culture[]

Old Post Office, in use from 1895 until 1934, as it appeared in 1915

  • 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 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.
  • The town is referenced in the song "Show Me What You Got" by American rock band Limp Bizkit.

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 (119 m) 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.
  • The Franco-American Heritage Center located in downtown Lewiston hosts festivals and balls for people of French descent.
  • 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.
  • St. Peter's Cemetery

National Register of Historic Places listings[]

Empire Theatre in 1907

Hospital Square in c. 1910

Kennedy Park in c. 1915

Kora Temple Shrine in c. 1915

  • Androscoggin Mill Block
  • Atkinson Building
  • Bergin Block
  • Bradford House
  • Captain Holland House
  • College Block-Lisbon Block
  • Continental Mill Housing
  • Cowan Mill
  • Dominican Block
  • Dr. Louis J. Martel House
  • Dr. Milton Wedgewood House
  • First Callahan Building
  • First McGillicuddy Block
  • First National Bank
  • Grand Trunk Railroad Station
  • Hathorn Hall, Bates College
  • Healey Asylum
  • Holland-Drew House
  • James C. Lord House
  • John D. Clifford House
  • Jordan School
  • Kora Temple
  • Lewiston City Hall
  • Lewiston Public Library
  • Lewiston Trust and Safe Deposit Company
  • Lord Block
  • Lower Lisbon Street Historic District
  • Lyceum Hall
  • Maine Supply Company Building
  • Manufacturer's National Bank
  • Marcotte Nursing Home
  • Oak Street School
  • Odd Fellows Block
  • Osgood Building
  • Pilsbury Block
  • Saint Mary's General Hospital
  • Savings Bank Block
  • Second Callahan Block
  • Sen. William P. Frye House
  • St. Joseph's Catholic Church
  • Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
  • Trinity Episcopal Church
  • US Post Office-Lewiston Maine
  • Union Block


  1. ^ "Town of Lewiston, Maine". Town of Lewiston, Maine. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  4. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-07-05. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c Coolidge, Austin J.; John B. Mansfield (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston, Massachusetts. pp. 188–191. 
  7. ^ Elder, Janus G. A History of Lewiston, Maine with a Genealogical Register of Early Families page 52.
  8. ^ Varney, George J. (1886), Gazetteer of the state of Maine. Lewiston, Boston: Russell, 
  9. ^ a b History of Lewiston, Maine (municipal site)
  10. ^ Voyer, Andrea M. (2013-10-21). Strangers and Neighbors: Multiculturalism, Conflict, and Community in America. Cambridge University Press. pp. 155–. ISBN 9781107657748. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "LEWISTON NAMED ALL-AMERICA CITY". Lewiston Auburn Maine It’s Happening Here!. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Perceived Barriers to Somali Immigrant Employment in Lewiston - A Supplement to Maine’s Department of Labor Report
  13. ^ a b "The New Yankees", Mother Jones, March/April 2004
  14. ^ The Great Somali Welfare Hunt
  15. ^ Somali stores bring people back to Lisbon Street Lewiston Sun-Journal, August 30, 2010
  16. ^ City of Lewiston CAFR
  17. ^ "Most Popular". CNN. 
  18. ^ "Maine Nordiques Statistics and History". Retrieved December 2014. 
  19. ^ [1], accessed December, 2007.
  20. ^ Lewiston city, Maine - Population Finder - American FactFinder
  21. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-08-04. 
  22. ^ Modern Language Association Data Center
  23. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of November 6, 2012". Maine Bureau of Corporations. 

Further reading[]

  • 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
  • Richard, Mark Paul. Loyal but French: The Negotiation of Identity by French-Canadian Descendants in the United States (2008) on acculturation in Lewiston since 1860

External links[]

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Official website

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