Lewiston is Maine's second largest city. It is located on the eastern bank of the Androscoggin River, opposite Auburn, about 35 miles (55 km) north of Portland. Lewiston was settled in 1770, chartered as town 1795 and as a city in 1861. Hydraulic power from the Androscoggin Falls led to its development as a major textile center after 1819. Large numbers of French Canadian immigrants gave the city a bilingual character for many years.
Despite econonomic downturns in the 20th century, Lewiston remains a manufacturing center producing textiles, footwear, and other products. It is the home of Bates College and two large medical centers. Recent redevelopment has found new uses for the city's extensive industrial infrastructure.