LEWISTON (English pronunciation: /ˈluːɪstən/ , French
pronunciation: /ˈluːɪstə/ ; officially the CITY OF LEWISTON,
MAINE) is the second largest city in
With a total of 2,441 business establishments , the city has a service-based tertiary economy worth approximately $4.1 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) output, primarily in the natural resources , mining, finance, insurance, real estate, rental/leasing, transportation, and utilities sectors . The influx of Somali and Bantu immigrants has created a secondary goods-manufacturing economy that supplements economic growth. The spread of globalization and capital/labor flight has made the economy of Lewiston small-scale, underdeveloped, and growing. Although 63.3% of the population composes the labour force , 23.2% of the permanent population (excluding college students and those visiting) live in poverty with an average income of $37,500.
The Lewiston area traces its roots to 1669 with the early presence of
the Androscoggin tribe (the namesake of the county the city resides in
). In the late 18th century, the area slowly became populated by New
French families and was incorporated as "LEWISTOWN" in 1795. The
presence of the
The city is home to the only basilica in Maine,
* 1 History
* 1.1 Conception
* 1.2 Colonial beginnings
* 1.3 Industrial development and Benjamin Bates
Lewiston-Auburn Shoe Strike
* 2 Geography
* 2.1 Neighborhoods
* 2.1.1 Downtown * 2.1.2 Webster Street neighborhood * 2.1.3 Pond Road neighborhood
* 2.2 Climate
* 3 Demographics
* 3.1 2010 census * 3.2 2000 census * 3.3 Language * 3.4 Voter registration
* 4 Economy
* 4.1 Large businesses * 4.2 Lisbon Street * 4.3 Main Street * 4.4 Top employers
* 5 Arts and culture
* 5.1 Library * 5.2 Museums * 5.3 The Franco Center * 5.4 The Public Theatre
* 5.5 Events
* 6 Sports and recreation
* 7 Education
* 7.1 Colleges and universities * 7.2 Public schools * 7.3 Private schools
* 8 Media
* 8.1 Newspapers * 8.2 Television * 8.3 Radio
* 9 Infrastructure
* 9.1 Transportation
* 9.1.1 Public transportation * 9.1.2 Roadways and major routes * 9.1.3 Bridges * 9.1.4 Airports and bus station
* 10 Notable people * 11 In popular culture * 12 References * 13 Further reading * 14 External links
The Lewiston area was formerly inhabited by peoples of the
Androscoggin (or Arosaguntacook) tribe. The Androscoggins were a tribe
Abenaki nation. Facing annihilation from English attacks and
epidemics of new infectious diseases, the Androscoggins started to
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. 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 AND BENJAMIN BATES
Rail and textile tycoon, Benjamin Bates .
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. 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
This began the transformation from a small farming town into a textile manufacturing center on the model of Lowell, Massachusetts . The creation of the Bates manufuacturing trusts saw rapid economic growth, positioning the city as the weathiest city in Maine, and created budding affluent district such as the Main Street–Frye Street Historic District . Although the odd-majority of the population was working class , a distinctive upper class was emerged at this time. The Bates Mill remained the largest employer in Lewiston from the 1850s to the mid-late 20th century. Saints Peter and Paul Basilica, one of only a few basilicas in New England, and the only in Maine, located on Ash Street
Railroad construction was key to the development of both Lewiston and
its neighbor, Auburn. In 1849 the Androscoggin & Kennebec railroad,
running through Lewiston and Auburn, connected these towns to
Waterville and the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railway line between
LEWISTON-AUBURN SHOE STRIKE
Main article: Lewiston-Auburn Shoe Strike
In 1937, one of the largest labor disputes in
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Lewiston earned a 2007 All-America
SOMALI AND BANTU MIGRATION
In 1999, 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. Empire Theatre in 1907
Word soon spread that Lewiston had a low crime rate, good schools and cheap housing. Somalis subsequently began a secondary migration from other states to the former mill town, and after 2005, many Bantus followed suit.
In October 2002, then-
In January 2003, about 32 members of a white supremacist group from
Illinois demonstrated in Lewiston to denounce Somali immigrants. This
prompted a simultaneous counter-demonstration on the campus of Bates
College to demonstrate support of the Somali community. The rally
repudiating the white supremacists attracted 4,000 attendees,
John Baldacci , Senators
Olympia Snowe and Susan
Collins and other officials.
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
NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES LISTINGS
Androscoggin Mill Block
* Bradford House
Captain Holland House
College Block-Lisbon Block
Continental Mill Housing
Dr. Louis J. Martel House
Dr. Milton Wedgewood House
First Callahan Building
First McGillicuddy Block
* First National Bank
* Grand Trunk Railroad Station
Kennedy Park in 2017
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.
Lewiston is drained by the
Downtown Lewiston 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
has followed a period of renovation and revitalization that continues
This neighborhood includes:
* Lisbon Street
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.
CLIMATE DATA FOR LEWISTON, MAINE
MONTH JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC YEAR
AVERAGE HIGH °F (°C) 29 (−2) 32 (0) 41 (5) 53 (12) 66 (19) 75 (24) 81 (27) 79 (26) 70 (21) 59 (15) 46 (8) 33 (1) 55.3 (13)
AVERAGE LOW °F (°C) 11 (−12) 13 (−11) 24 (−4) 34 (1) 45 (7) 55 (13) 61 (16) 60 (16) 51 (11) 41 (5) 31 (−1) 18 (−8) 37 (2.8)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION INCHES (MM) 3.5 (89) 3.4 (86) 4.0 (102) 4.1 (104) 3.7 (94) 3.7 (94) 3.4 (86) 3.2 (81) 3.0 (76) 3.9 (99) 5.0 (127) 4.5 (114) 45.3 (1,151)
EST. 2016 36,140
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.
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.
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.
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 AND PARTY ENROLLMENT AS OF JANUARY 2015
PARTY TOTAL VOTERS PERCENTAGE
Democratic 10,400 42.11%
Unenrolled 8,636 34.97%
Republican 4,307 17.44%
Green Independent 1,351 5.47%
TOTAL 24,694 100%
* 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, several stores created by and for the Somali community, and a variety of restaurants and shops including Forage Market, The Vault, Gallery 5, Marche, Niky's, FUEL, Orchid, Mother India, and Bear Bones Brewery. Downtown Lisbon Street is also home to the Emerge Film Festival as well as Art Walks on the last Friday of each month during summer. * 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.
A home in Lewiston, off 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
James B. Longley
According to Lewiston's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
# EMPLOYER # OF EMPLOYEES
2 St. Mary\'s Health System 1,798
3 TD Bank 1,026
5 Walmart 650
7 McKesson 440
8 Geiger 322
9 Liberty Mutual 307
10 Lepage Bakeries 303
ARTS AND CULTURE
* 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.
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
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.
THE FRANCO CENTER
The Franco Center opened in 2000 in what was formerly St. Mary's
Parish. The performing arts center programs events for both
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.
Formerly known as Festival de Joie, Festival FrancoFun is held
annually at the
Androscoggin Bank Colisée and is a celebration of the
Held on July 4 of each year, the festival is the name given to the
fireworks event over the Great Falls of the
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
SPORTS AND RECREATION
THE ANDROSCOGGIN BANK COLISéE
The center of sports in Lewiston is the Androscoggin Bank Colisée
(formerly known as the Central
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
Main article: Lewiston Maineiacs
Lewiston Maineiacs were a major junior hockey team that played in
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
The city is also home to, and often associated with liberal arts,
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Lewiston Public Schools operates public schools.
* Lewiston High School (9-12) 1,446 students * Lewiston Regional Technical Center (9-12) * Lewiston Middle School (7-8) * Farwell Elementary School (K-6) * Raymond A Geiger Elementary School (K-6) * Governor James B Longley Elementary School (K-6) * Martel School (K-6) * Montello School (K-6) * Thomas J McMahon Elementary School (K-6)
* The Discovery School (PK-12) * Saint-Dominic Academy * Vineyard Christian School (PK-12)
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
Lewiston is part of the Portland television market , and receives all major channels in that market. WGME-TV and WCSH both have local bureau 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
The city of Lewiston uses the Citylink or Purple Bus system. Passengers use Citylink in collaboration with Auburn and Lisbon.
The downtown shuttle is the only line that requires no fare at all. It runs through the downtown of both Lewiston and Auburn. It 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.
* 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
James B. Longley
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
* Oak Street Bus Station:
* Franco-Americans portal
Main article: List of people from Lewiston,
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
* ^ A B "American FactFinder".
United States Census Bureau .
Retrieved November 23, 2012.
* ^ A B "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9,
* ^ Brault, Gerard J. (1986). The
French-Canadian Heritage in New
England. UPNE. ISBN 9780874513592 .
* ^ "Lewiston,
* Elder, Janus G., A History of Lewiston,
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for LEWISTON (MAINE) .