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Maine History Online
MHS (Maine Historical Society)
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La St-Jean in Lewiston-Auburn

Text by Donat Boisvert

Images from Franco-American Collection

During the early 19th Century, St. John the Baptist Day, June 24th, become the rallying point for the affirmation of French-Canadian identity in Qu├ębec.

Decades later, hundreds of thousands of French-Canadians immigrated to industrial centers in New England for economic reasons, but they faithfully maintained their ethnic identity.

Lewiston was one of the centers transformed by this dramatic demographic shift. By 1900, French-Canadians made up half of the population of the mill town on the Androscoggin River.

By the 1870s, yearly St. John the Baptist parades were held to celebrate the newcomers' pride in their heritage.