Canal Workers, Lewiston, ca. 1845
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This image shows the canal workers, around 1845, on Oxford Street in Lewiston. A canal had been envisaged in Lewiston as early as 1809, though construction did not begin until 1845 under the auspices of the Lewiston Water Power Company. The canal was financed mainly by investors from Massachusetts, seeking to emulate the success of cities like Lowell. The canal, which was constructed mostly by Irish immigrants, increased Lewiston's industrial potential by diverting water away from the Androscoggin river and creating additional waterfalls. The energy generated by the canal would ultimately be responsible for Lewiston's growth as a textile city, as it provided the energy needed to run the mills.