The historic former Camden Yarns Mill property is now in the hands of Museum L-A with great plans under way for it to become a vital part of the riverfront development – both within and beyond its walls. Transfer of ownership from the Miller Family to Museum L-A took place on June 30, 2009. The mill has been in the Miller family since the early 1930's.
"Acquiring this historic mill building represents a big step toward making our dream a reality," said Elliott Epstein, president of the Museum's Board of Directors.
"A long search was done for the right site as we went through a lengthy planning process with lots of community input" notes Museum L-A Executive Director Rachel Desgrosseilliers. "This site is perfect for us. We wanted to stay downtown, be in a mill, and become part of the revitalization of the Lewiston-Auburn riverfront."
"This places us in one of Lewiston's first cotton mills with a long history of textiles and recycling," Desgrosseilliers continued. "We can look toward Main Street and tell the story of water power, the Great Falls, the canal system and the Androscoggin River. In another direction we see "Little Canada," and the "Irish Patch" to tell the story of immigration. As we face Lincoln Street we can tell the story of the mills with its textile heritage. We look across the river and see Auburn with its history of shoemaking. Surrounding us are buildings made from the brickyards of Lewiston and Auburn."
"Throughout the pre-design work, the Museum will be looking for lots of input from the community in the various phases of its development," says Desgrosseilliers. "We want to make sure this is a museum that will save the legacy of our rich history as a community – what gives us our ‘sense of place' and defines who we are."
The original building was constructed in 1864 as one of Lewiston's earliest cotton mills. It was the second of two mill buildings known as The Lewiston Mills. In December 1945 a spectacular fire that burned for four days destroyed the top two floors. Plans are for the third floor to be reinstated in the future.