The Lewiston Historical Commission was created in 1969 by Mayor John B. Beliveau as permanent civic body that would be engaged in the ongoing research and preservation of the city.
The first meeting of the commission was held at the Lewiston public library in September of 1969. The Mayor opened the meeting and stated that the commission’s “... main function would be to locate historical buildings that are worthy of preservation, and to study events of local history that their sites might be identified with suitable plaques that are available under federal programs.”
The first chairperson, Bates College Professor James S Leamon, opened the second meeting by assigning research projects to each member of the commission. Those projects included the river waterfalls, the canal, the oldest cemetery, the first school, the first church, the site of the first settler’s dwelling, and the oldest existing residence. The commission conducted an extensive inventory of history builds in Lewiston and helped produced historic plaques for homes as part the 1976 Bicentennial.
The commission has continued the research focus of its founding members by writing and producing a number of publications over the years. These include a history of the government of Lewiston, the Lewiston Schools, the Franco-American community, the city’s architectural heritage, the fire department, the Bates Mill and the Lewiston Grange.