Two libraries get old photos to display

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AUBURN/LEWISTON — Because the entryway walls at the Androscoggin Historical Society needed painting, the Auburn and Lewiston public libraries are now displaying groups of old photographs.

Twenty old photos of Auburn scenes have been installed at the Androscoggin Room of the Auburn Public Library. Twelve photos of Lewiston are in the new book area of the Lewiston Public Library.

The two libraries will display them until about June 15, and then will return them to the Historical Society headquarters on the third floor of the County Courthouse in Auburn.

Among the Auburn photos on display:

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* The Jordan House at 68 Academy St., which contractor Charles A. Jordan built  in 1880 for his mother and himself to advertise his workmanship. It is on the National Register of Historic Places as an “elegant example of a wooden Second Empire mansion.”

* Edward Little High School, destroyed by fire on Dec. 3, 1884. It was founded as Lewiston Falls Academy in 1834 by Edward Little, renamed Edward Little Institute in 1866, and became ELHS as a public school in 1874. A new high school was built on the same property on Academy Street.

* The 180-year-old house at 235 Minot Ave. once owned by Ara Cushman, founder of the Cushman-Hollis shoe factory. Cushman has been called “the patriarch of the Auburn shoe industry.”

* The Lake Auburn Spring House. This hotel, built in 1889 on the western shores of Lake Auburn, was popular for its spring waters as well as soft drinks. Many guests came by the steamer “Lewiston” over Lake Auburn from Lake Grove Park. Fire destroyed the structure in 1893.

* The Ara Cushman shoe shop buildings on Court Street opposite Minot Avenue. It became known as “the largest shoe factory under one roof in the United States, hence in the world.”

Photos of Lewiston include:

* The Col. John Frye House, built in 1812 on lower Main Street. This was the birthplace of William P. Frye, who became president of the United States Senate.

* The Lewiston City Building after a fire. Built in 1871, the structure burned in January, 1890. The walls were left standing as the city fathers decided whether to use them to rebuild. Ultimately they tore them down and built the current more modest structure.

* A plow that removed snow from the tracks of the Lewiston, Brunswick and Bath Street Railway. This electric railroad was part of a mass transit system that linked Lewiston with a large part of Maine.

* An ice palace in City Park, part of a snowshoe convention in the 1920s held in conjunction with Canadian and New England clubs. In other years, the ice palace was on Main Street.

The Historical Society has thousands of photos on a large variety of topics in the 19th and 20th centuries. They are available for use in news media, magazine and journal articles, books and other purposes. Individuals and companies may purchase copies.

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