Wooden signs erected this spring in front of two Lewiston venues where a shooter killed 18 people in October 2023 proclaim “Love Always Wins.” They are likely to be taken down soon, preserved and perhaps put on display again in a way that protects them. Steve Collins/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — As winter gave way, two new signs appeared in front of the venues where the Oct. 25, 2023, mass shooting occurred, each boldly proclaiming “LOVE ALWAYS WINS.”

It’s an amended version of the “Love Wins” slogan that Nelba Márquez-Greene popularized after her 6-year-old daughter Ana was gunned down with her classmates in Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

Who erected the wooden signs in Lewiston is a mystery. Their fate is uncertain.

Rachel Ferrante, executive director of the Maine Museum of Innovation, Learning and Labor in Lewiston, said her museum is trying to figure out how to take care of them.

Maine MILL has collected many items left outside the bowling alley at Just-In-Time Recreation on Mollison Way and Schemengees Bar & Grille restaurant on Lincoln Street by a grieving community.

Some are on display at Maine MILL’s Canal Street location while others are being conserved for a possible future exhibit.


The “LOVE ALWAYS WINS” signs are made of wood, with letters nearly 3 feet tall and mounted on a wooden stand that might survive during Maine’s all-too-brief summer but wouldn’t stand a chance once winter arrives again.

As it is, they’re also in the way of landscaping crews that will be looking to cut grass efficiently in the days and weeks ahead.

Ferrante said Maine MILL is “figuring out how to get them moved to the museum and … going to figure out how to winterize them,” if that’s possible.

She said the museum will likely offer them back to the bowling alley and to Schemengees’ owner for a possible future bar location. The owners of both places are interested, Ferrante said.

The mass shooting left 18 dead and at least 13 physically injured, some seriously. Scores of other people at the scenes were scarred by what they witnessed.

Ever since, people have left keepsakes and other memorabilia at the shooting sites, which Maine MILL has periodically collected and taken steps to preserve.

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