Category Archives: Lewiston-Auburn

Poetry from the Lewiston Mills of 1909

In the early twentieth century, thousands of children worked in Maine’s manufacturing industries – in textile mills, shoe shops, granite quarries, and sardine canneries. These children faced dangerous working conditions, worked long hours, and missed out on the opportunity for an education. Although the state did pass a series of laws to regulate child labor, these […]

Confronting the Klan in 1920s Maine

The history of Maine’s brief, but intense, association with the Ku Klux Klan is becoming increasingly well-known. Along with a large portion of the country in the early 1920’s, Maine was home to a Klan chapter with a significant membership, which held significant sway over local politics. While the Klan had its beginnings with former […]

“The Hour is Critical” – Franco-Americans in the Great War

Our element, like all others, maybe even more than all others – bound by tradition and character – must get involved, and cooperate. Such was the firm pronouncement of La Justice of Biddeford, Maine, on its front page for April 12, 1917, just a few days after the US Congress had declared war on Germany. The prominent column, entitled […]

A New England Mardi Gras – The International Snowshoe Convention of 1925

“Fun for all, and all for fun,” was the verdict of one local newspaper; “a Mardi Gras” reminiscent of the pre-prohibition era, according to another. On the weekend of 7-8 February, 1925, eight hundred French Canadian snowshoers descended on the city of Lewiston, Maine (population 30,000), for two days of revelry and winter sports. The festivities, […]

“The World’s Greatest College Athlete” – and Maine Olympian – Robert Legendre

When the United States Olympic athletes appear in the opening ceremonies of the 2016 games in Rio, they’ll be wearing shoes made in Auburn by Rancourt & Co., a Franco-American family company with deep roots in the city’s shoemaking history.  But they won’t be the first Franco-American contribution of Maine’s Twin Cities to the Games.  […]