Today in Maine’s Franco History: January 13

Today in Maine’s Franco History is a look back at important dates in the history of Maine’s Franco-American communities. It will run throughout 2020, the bicentennial year of Maine’s statehood. Your suggestions for additional events, people, and institutions to celebrate are most welcome.

January 13, 1964 – Louis-Philippe Gagné of Lewiston died, aged 63. Gagné was a leader in Lewiston-Auburn’s Franco-American community and active as a journalist, sportsman, and politician. Born in Québec City in 1900, he worked for Le Soleil, that city’s newspaper from 1917, and moved to Lewiston in 1922, where he became editor of Le Messager.

In addition to his work as a print and radio journalist (he hosted a long-running program on WCOU, Lewiston’s French-language station), Gagné was active in local politics, rising to become mayor from 1947-1949.  He also founded Lewiston’s first permanent snowshoe club, Le Montagnard, in 1924. Just a few months later, he organized the first international snowshoe convention, held in Lewiston in 1925. More than anyone else, Gagné was responsible for popularizing the sport of snowshoeing in Maine and New England.

Louis-Philippe Gagné, ca 1947. Image: Maine Memory Network/USM Franco-American Collection


James Myall

About James Myall

While I currently work for an Augusta-based non-profit, I spent four years as the Coordinator of the Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine. In 2015, I co-authored "The Franco-Americans of Lewiston-Auburn," a general history of that population from 1850 to the present. I was also a consultant for the State Legislative Task Force on Franco-Americans in 2012. I live in Topsham with my wife and two young daughters.