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Auburn, Maine
Auburn (and Lewiston), Maine.jpg
Official seal of Auburn, Maine
Vestigia Nulla Retrorsum  (Latin)
"No Steps Backward"
Location of Auburn, Maine (in dark blue)
Location of Auburn, Maine (in dark blue)
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Country  United States
State  Maine
County Androscoggin
Incorporated (town) February 24, 1842
Incorporated (city) February 22, 1869
East Auburn
Littlefield Corner
Marston Corner
New Auburn
North Auburn
Stevens Mill
 • Total 65.74 sq mi (170.27 km2)
 • Land 59.34 sq mi (153.69 km2)
 • Water 6.40 sq mi (16.58 km2)
190 ft (58 m)
 • Total 24,061
 • Density 405.48/sq mi (156.56/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 207
FIPS code 23-02060
GNIS feature ID 0561347

Auburn is a city in south-central Maine within the United States. The city serves as the county seat of Androscoggin County. The population was 24,061 at the 2020 census. Auburn and its sister city Lewiston are known locally as the Twin Cities or Lewiston–Auburn (L–A).


The area was originally part of the Pejepscot Purchase, land bought in 1714 by a consortium from Boston and Portsmouth following the Treaty of Portsmouth, which brought peace between the Abenaki Indians and English settlements. In 1736, however, the Massachusetts General Court granted a large section of the land to veterans of the 1690 Battle of Quebec. Conflicting claims led to prolonged litigation; consequently, settlement was delayed until after the French and Indian Wars.

Auburn was first settled in 1786 as part of Bakerstown, renamed Poland when it was incorporated by the Massachusetts General Court in 1795. It was then part of Minot, set off from Poland and incorporated in 1802. Auburn would itself be set off and incorporated on February 24, 1842. The name was apparently inspired by "Auburn", a village (real or fictitious) featured in the 1770 poem "The Deserted Village" by Oliver Goldsmith. Originally part of Cumberland County, the town became county seat of Androscoggin County at its creation in 1854. By annexing land from towns around it, including part of Poland in 1852, Minot in 1873, and all of Danville (first called Pejepscot) in 1867, Auburn grew geographically into one of Maine's largest municipalities. Incorporated a city in 1868, Auburn in 1917 would be the first city in the state to adopt a council-manager form of government.

Farms supplied grain and produce, but with construction of the bridge to Lewiston in 1823, and especially after arrival of the Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad from Portland in January 1848, the community developed into a mill town. Mills were built to operate by water power from falls on the Androscoggin River and Little Androscoggin River. In 1835, the factory system of shoe manufacture originated at Auburn. Other firms manufactured cotton and woolen textiles, carriages, iron goods, bricks and furniture. The population in 1860 was only about 4,000 but by 1890 it was about 12,000, when its shoe factories attracted many French Canadian immigrants, many of whom arrived by train from Quebec. Steady population growth continued to about 1960 when the population was about 24,500.

In Auburn, shoe manufacturing became the dominant industry by the late 19th century. The City Seal, depicting a spindle with different types of shoes at each outside point, was designed when Auburn was positioning itself as the shoe manufacturing center of Maine in the mid-19th century. In 1917 one factory in Auburn was producing 75 percent of the world's supply of white canvas shoes; however, after World War II the shoe industry began to decline, and between 1957 and 1961 the largest manufacturers closed their factories.

The area became noted in 1983 due to the plane crash that took the life of Samantha Smith

Lewiston-Auburn Shoe Strike

In 1937, one of the largest labor disputes in Maine history occurred in Lewiston and Auburn. The Lewiston-Auburn Shoe Strike lasted from March to June and at its peak involved 4,000 to 5,000 workers on strike. After workers attempted to march across the Androscoggin River from Lewiston to Auburn, Governor Lewis Barrows sent in the Maine Army National Guard. Some labor leaders, CIO Secretary Powers Hapgood, were imprisoned for months after a Maine Supreme Judicial Court judge issued an injunction seeking to end the strike.


Auburn is located at 44°5′N 70°14′W / 44.083°N 70.233°W / 44.083; -70.233 (44.089, −70.241). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 65.74 square miles (170.27 km2), of which 59.33 square miles (153.66 km2) is land and 6.41 square miles (16.60 km2) is water. Auburn is drained by the Little Androscoggin River and Androscoggin River.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 2,840
1860 4,022 41.6%
1870 6,169 53.4%
1880 9,555 54.9%
1890 11,250 17.7%
1900 12,951 15.1%
1910 15,064 16.3%
1920 16,985 12.8%
1930 18,571 9.3%
1940 19,817 6.7%
1950 23,134 16.7%
1960 24,449 5.7%
1970 24,151 −1.2%
1980 23,128 −4.2%
1990 24,039 3.9%
2000 23,203 −3.5%
2010 23,055 −0.6%
2020 24,061 4.4%

Auburn is one of two principal cities of and included in the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan New England city and town area and the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area (which is part of the Portland-Lewiston-South Portland, Maine combined statistical area).

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 23,055 people, 9,974 households, and 5,818 families living in the city. The population density was 388.6 inhabitants per square mile (150.0/km2). There were 11,016 housing units at an average density of 185.7 per square mile (71.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.7% White, 2.5% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.5% of the population.

There were 9,974 households, of which 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.9% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.7% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.84.

The median age in the city was 39.9 years. 22.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.1% were from 25 to 44; 27.9% were from 45 to 64; and 15.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.3% male and 51.7% female.



  • Interstate 95
  • US Route 202
  • State Route 11
  • State Route 4
  • State Route 121
  • State Route 136
  • State Route 122

By air

Auburn is the home of the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport, located off Hotel Road.


Two freight railroads pass through the city. Pan Am Railways (formerly Springfield Terminal Railway and Maine Central Railroad) is the primary rail connection for the city. Pan Am's main line from Rotterdam Junction, New York to Northern Maine Junction, Maine closely parallels US Route 202 through much of Auburn. The St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad's main line from Portland to Montreal also runs through the southwestern section of the city, passing near the Auburn/Lewiston Municipal Airport; at Lewiston Junction, a branch leased from the Lewiston and Auburn Railroad runs northwest through Auburn. The branch formerly crossed the Androscoggin River into Lewiston.

Sites of interest

Lake Grove from Lake, Auburn, ME
Lake Auburn in 1911
  • Auburn Fire Department Museum—a collection of antique fire equipment from the city
  • Festival Plaza, completed in 2002—public park and performance space along the Androscoggin River. Two public water sculptures designed by artist Ross Miller operate seasonally – the Falls Fountain, that references the Androscoggin River and Native American legends of being able to hide behind the falls; and the Shoe Fountain, a series of cast bronze shoes recalling the early shoe manufacturing history of the area. A map of the Androscoggin River is cast into the plaza with colored concrete.
  • Good Shepherd Food Bank distributes food to agencies across the state from its main warehouse in Auburn
  • Hamster Point—Majestic river side gardens
  • Knight House Museum (1796) – the oldest frame house downtown, with a pre-1835 handwork shoe shop

National Register of Historic Places listings in Auburn

Androscoggin County Buildings, Auburn, ME
Androscoggin County Buildings c. 1912


Public primary and secondary education is provided by the Auburn School Department, including Edward Little High School.

In addition, there are the following schools in the city:

  • St. Dominic Regional High School, a Catholic high school
  • Central Maine Community College, community college

Notable people

Corner Court & Main St., Auburn, ME
Corner of Court and Main streets c. 1908
  • Tony Atlas, wrestler
  • John Bower, skier
  • Lenny Breau, jazz guitarist
  • Erwin Canham, American journalist and author
  • Alonzo Conant, judge, Auburn Municipal Court (1946–1958)
  • Aaron S. Daggett, last surviving Civil War general
  • T. A. D. Fessenden, U.S. congressman
  • Sara Mae Stinchfield Hawk, speech pathologist
  • John Jenkins, mayor
  • Edward Little, philanthropist, educator
  • Robert Luce, U.S. congressman
  • Cynthia McFadden, correspondent for ABC News
  • Dana T. Merrill, U.S. Army brigadier general
  • Elmer Drew Merrill, botanist
  • George Perkins Merrill, geologist
  • Julie M. J. Parisien, skier
  • Deborah Simpson, state legislator
  • Billy Silverman, referee
  • Charles Small, center fielder with the Boston Red Sox
  • Olympia Snowe, U.S. senator and congresswoman
  • Peter T. Snowe, Maine state legislator
  • John H. Sturgis, Maine state legislator
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