Canal Workers, Lewiston, ca. 1850
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The bridge behind the two workers pictured here is the bridge for the Maine Central Railroad (MCRR) over the Androscoggin River. It is now a pedestrian bridge from the Simard-Payne Park in Lewiston to the Auburn Riverwalk. The MCRR connected Lewiston to Waterville from 1948 to 1949.
The Lewiston Water Power Company was formed in 1848 with the purpose of harnessing the power of the Great Falls of the Androscoggin River by constructing a Canal in Lewiston. 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, generated the energy need to transform Lewiston into an industrial center.