Keywords: State Theater
Lewiston, Maine's second largest city, was long looked upon by many as a mill town with grimy smoke stacks, crowded tenements, low-paying jobs, sleazy clubs and little by way of refinement, except for Bates College. Yet, a noted Québec historian, Robert Rumilly, described it as "the French Athens of New England."
Farmington's Normal School -- a teacher-training facility -- opened in 1863 and, over the decades, offered academic programs that included such unique features as domestic and child-care training, and extra-curricular activities from athletics to music and theater.
Before the era of recorded music and radio, nearly every community had a band that played at parades and other civic events. Fire departments had bands, military units had bands, theaters had bands. Band music was everywhere.
The Bridgham brothers owned the theater. The first movie that played was “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers” starring Barbara Stanwyck and Van Heflin.