100 Years Ago: 1918

Wednesday morning’s hearing on the petition of the Lewiston GasLight company to increase its rates from $1.30 to $1.60 per one thousand cubic feet, which opened before the Public Utilities at ten o’clock, was brief and technical. The most important feature was that all opportunities for opposition were lacking. A few days ago, Mayor Lemaire announced that the city promised to fight the proposed increase and it would be represented by Judge Brann. Only officials of the company and members of the commission were present at the appointed hour. “After careful investigation, we decided that opposition would be useless,” was the explanation given by Mayor Lemaire.

50 Years Ago: 1968

Several Lewiston-Auburn residents were elected to office at the annual meeting of the Maine Iris Society held Tuesday evening at the VFW Hall, Minot Avenue, Auburn. Sherman Hysler of York, was elected president; Russell Moors of Auburn, vice president; Mrs. Chester Merrill of Norway, recording secretary; Mrs. Russell Moors of Auburn, corresponding secretary; Everett Greaton of Auburn, treasurer. Named to the executive committee were Brooks Quimby of Lewiston, Mertie Churchill of Yarmouth and Raymond Coy of Mechanic Falls. During the business session, plans were made for the coming year. This was the group’s first meeting of the new season. The program featured the showing of slides of some of the originations of Iris.

25 Years Ago: 1993

Retailers from here to Japan are ordering Native American blankets and throws woven by Bates Fabrics Inc., and cable television’s QVC shopping network, which reaches 60 million viewers, will feature them in a special January broadcast. Boucher Boys & The Indian Inc., a Southwestern company that developed the woolen goods, has met with phenomenal success since it came to Lewiston “with nothing but an idea” a few months ago — and local officials and business people have played a vital part in that success. That’s the story one of the Boucher Boys shared Thursday with members of the Woman’s Literary Union. Displaying product samples, mail order catalogs and a two-page spreadsheet of back orders, company President Jerry Boucher credited Lewiston Mayor James Howaniec, City Administrator Robert Mulready and Bates Chief Executive Officer Fred Lebel with doing “more for us to promote a business than anyone I’ve ever met … There’s a direct connection between the city and this project. There’s no reason not to believe there’s going to be a lot of people who end up working at Bates Mill.” About 80 women filled a meeting room at the WLU’s Elm Street mansion to hear Boucher trace the history of the blanket project and speculate about its future. “I’m from outside — from Arizona, not from Maine — and I was in many other states (looking for a highly-qualified textile manufacturer), but I got not half the reception I got here,” Boucher said. After scouting the country, the blanket developers linked up with Bates Fabrics. Discussions with Lewiston city officials then paved the way for support from Fleet Bank and U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, D-Maine.

The material in Looking Back is reproduced exactly as it originally appeared, although misspellings and errors may be corrected.

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