Background of Saint Louis Church in New Auburn’s “Little Canada”
St. Louis parish at 32 Dunn Street was established in 1902 and served the mostly French Canadian neighborhood in New Auburn. Parishioners first gathered in the church’s basement. When they had raised enough money, they built the tall, two-spired upper church, designed by architect Timothy G. O’Connell. The parish laid the cornerstone of St. Louis’s upper church in May 1915. O’Connell also designed St. Mary’s Church in Lewiston’s Little Canada neighborhood and the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Lewiston. St. Louis parish also built a convent in 1929 and a school in 1952.
St. Louis Church ended its regular services in April 2013, after a 2012 evaluation put repair costs at an estimated $1 million. The building is currently for sale. The decision by the Catholic diocese to abandon the building prompted attempts to save the church’s bells, which were cast at the world-famous Paccard Bell Foundry in France.
That attempt, a separate years-long project, finally received closure when the bells were put on display in a new tower built in New Auburn’s redeveloped Anniversary Park.
Listen to Jonathan Labonte, former Auburn mayor, in this three-minute video tour created by Sun Journal in 2013, of St. Louis Church.
Many sources including Lewiston Sun Journal, goauburn.me, Maine Preservation, and real estate agency.