Keywords: French American
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Title: French Row, Springvale
Contributed by: Sanford Historical Committee
Date: circa 1905
Media: Print from Glass Negative
Contributed by: Old Orchard Beach Historical Society
Location: Old Orchard Beach
French Canadians who emigrated to the Lewiston-Auburn area faced discrimination as children and adults -- such as living in "Little Canada" tenements and being ridiculed for speaking French -- but also adapted to their new lives and sustained many cultural traditions.
In the early 1600s, French explorers and colonizers in the New World quickly adopted a Native American mode of transportation to get around during the harsh winter months: the snowshoe. Most Northern societies had some form of snowshoe, but the Native Americans turned it into a highly functional item. French settlers named snowshoes "raquettes" because they resembled the tennis racket then in use.
Like many cities in France, Lewiston and Auburn's skylines are dominated by a cathedral-like structure, St. Peter and Paul Church. Now designated a basilica by the Vatican, it stands as a symbol of French Catholic contributions to the State of Maine.
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Highlights of Biddeford history presented by McArthur Public Library, Biddeford Historical Society, and Biddeford High School’s Project ASPIRE class. The site explores shipbuilding, the Civil War homefront, women’s clubs, influential residents, and some of the city’s famous artists and inventors.