Ah, Lewiston.

The amazing fly fishing and panning for gold. The gorgeous Snake River walking path. The memorial that commemorates locals who ferried thousands of escaped slaves into Canada 200 years ago.

We’re not talking Lewiston, Maine, of course. Turns out that across the U.S., there are many other Lewistons to discover.

So let’s do it!

To string together an all-Lewistons road trip, we decided to virtually visit those Lewistons with an official U.S. Census count from either 2018 or 2010 that also had a web presence.

Sorry Lewiston, Alabama, and Lewiston, Georgia, surely delightful places both! But we did a lot of web searching and couldn’t actually find you, despite random mentions here and there.

In 64-person Lewiston, Nebraska? Your village website was last updated in 1996. So cutting edge at the time! And yet so many disconnected numbers now, alas.

And in unincorporated Lewiston, Michigan — 480 households in 2010 — someone at the local chamber hung up after I introduced myself and described the story; when I called back, she said she thought I had been a telemarketer. When I assured her I wasn’t, she was still too busy to talk. Moving right along . . .

So buckle up — we’ve got about 6,400 miles to go before we’re back home and there’s no stopping for bathroom breaks.

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Lewiston, New York’s Freedom Crossing Monument. Photo courtesy Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce

Location: Lewiston, New York, half-hour north of Buffalo (a village AND a town)

Population: 2,573 (village), 16,262 (town)

Known for: Lewiston the village is one-square mile and was, 12,000 years ago, geologically speaking, the birthplace of Niagra Falls, according to Jennifer Pauly, president of the Niagra River Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s a great place for history, for culture, for commerce,” she said. “We are known as one of the festival centers of Western New York — there’s a festival pretty much every couple weeks from May until the end of September.”

Lewiston the town, which has Lewiston the village at its center, is very agricultural, with lots of farmland, Pauly said.

A festival on Center Street in the heart of the village of Lewiston, New York. The village hosts many festivals throughout the year. Courtesy of Jennifer Pauly

Must-see spot while you’re there: For Lewiston the village, she said it’s Center Street, a busy street of shops, restaurants, historic buildings and gardens that leads to the waterfront overlooking the Niagra River, where you’ll find the Freedom Crossing Monument.

The village was a last stop on the Underground Railroad, with a pretty amazing history involving secret double basements.

For Lewiston the town, Pauly recommends hitting the hamlet of Sanborn, which has five antique stores within a quarter-mile.

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Beautiful, and quite rural, Lewiston, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy Thomas E. Klappstein

Location: Lewiston, Wisconsin, two-and-a-half hours southwest of Green Bay (a township)

Population: 1,225

Known for: Rural with lots of agriculture, it’s a spot to farm or a good place to live if you work in neighboring Portage or nearby Madison and Wisconsin Dells, according to Tom Summers, one of the supervisors of Lewiston’s town board.

“The (slogan) for Portage is ‘Where the north begins,'” said Summers. “Back in the day, there was a lot of fur trading going on and transporting between the Wisconsin River and the Fox River, and they had the canal going between them, so it was a busy hub.”

Must-see spot while you’re there: “It’s not actually in Lewiston, but to the west of Lewiston there’s actually a wayside that has a bunch of Indian mounds on it. You can park and walk around a little bit,” he said.

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An aerial view of The Crossings Center, a popular community spot on one gentleman’s farm, in Lewiston, Minnesota. Photo courtesy Bryan Rodriguez

Location: Lewiston, Minnesota, two hours southeast of Minneapolis

Population: 1,564

Known for: Think rural and tight-knit with lots of community spirit, said Donna Mack, Lewiston Economic Development Authority director.

“We have a great loyalty with people who have lived there generation after generation,” she said.

When the longtime, family-run golf course in town was recently in danger of closing, Mack helped organize a community meeting, and within 48 hours townspeople pledged $190,000 in loans to help new owners make the down payment and open the course in time for this season. She also secured financing for the project.

“We really do need it in the community,” she said. “A golf course is a big thing when you only have a population of 1,400.”

Must-see spot while you’re there: Mack said to swing by The Crossings Center, a community resource developed by Joel Hennessey on his property, with live gospel music, a playground, basketball court, community gardens, pool tables and a barn-turned-hangout space, all free to the public.

“Upstairs is a big-screen TV with donated sofas and comfy chairs, and kids go there after the football games, after basketball games and they hang out, watch movies and drink pop and eat munchies,” she said.

Driving through in April? Hit the 41-year-strong Annual Fool’s Five Road Race, held the first Sunday of the month. It draws thousands, according to Mack, and has raised more than $2 million in donations for the Gunderson Medical Foundation, Mayo Clinic, The Hormel Institute for Cancer Research and Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota.

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Scenic Lewiston, Utah. Photo courtesy Kelly Field

Location: Lewiston, Utah, two hours north of Salt Lake City

Population: 1,811

Known for: It’s a rural community in a high mountain valley along the Utah-Idaho border with about 30 active dairy farms and an egg production facility, according to Mayor Kelly Field.

“Lewiston has a small-town feel,” he said. “At one time, Lewiston was the terminal of the local railroad and as a result had significant commercial activities such as stores, hotels, cafes. When the passenger rail service ended after World War II, the commercial business faded away and all that remains is a grocery store, bank and several gas stations. Lewiston City also owns and operates a community movie theater and a library.”

Must-see spot while you’re there: Field recommended a visit planned around the Fourth of July.

“Every year on July 4th the population grows to as many as 5,000 as people from all around the county return to their home roots to participate in a parade, rodeo, horse pulls, carnival, patriotic speaker, local entertainment and fireworks,” he said.

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An art installation depicting Nez Perce tribal members meeting with the U.S. Calvary welcomes visitors to Lewiston, Idaho at the Highway 12/US 95 Interchange. Photo courtesy Brad Stinson/Visit Lewis Clark Valley

Location: Lewiston, Idaho, five hours north of Boise

Population: 32,817

Known for: It’s an urban center and was briefly the first capital of Idaho, according to Jill Charpentier, membership assistant at the Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“Lewiston is like the big city for all of the other tiny cities, but then Lewiston is really not that big, population-wise,” Charpentier said. “We have the Walmart, we don’t have a Target, so a lot of people come in from all over the area.”

Must-see spot while you’re there: “The confluence — where the Snake River and Clearwater River meet. They have a walking trail that goes down the Clearwater and up the Snake if you wanted to, it’s nice. It’s very scenic, very pretty.”

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Enjoy the fishing in the Trinity River in Lewiston, California. Photo courtesy Trinity County Visitors Bureau

Location: Lewiston, California, three hours north of Sacramento

Population: 1,368

Known for: It’s a storied old mining town — the largest mine there, Brown Bear Mine, active until 1950, produced up to $10 million in gold — and these days it’s a hot spot for soaking up history and enjoying the outdoors, particularly the salmon fishing in the Trinity River and Lewiston Lake, according to the Trinity County Chamber of Commerce. There’s even a stretch of river reserved only for fly fishing.

Must-see spot while you’re there: Chamber President Kelli Gant recommended the fishing, of course, and a visit to the Trinity River Fish Hatchery, as well as the One Maple Winery.

And if you’re there the Friday after Thanksgiving, there’s a cool local tradition: The Old Lewiston Bridge is strung up with Christmas lights and fireworks go off at night.

Editor’s note: A quick shout-out goes to former Sun Journal staff writer Scott Taylor who floated this idea and actually started to map the route before he left the Sun Journal in 2016. It took us a minute, but we’re glad we finally made the trip! 

Lewiston, California, has a long annual tradition of lighting up the Old Lewiston Bridge and setting off fireworks the Friday after Thanksgiving. Photo courtesy Trinity County Visitors Bureau


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