Today in Maine’s Franco History: January 17

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 17, 1828: The Maine State Legislature passes a resolve to complete a road through the Kennebec Valley to Canada. This would become known as the Old Canada Road, and provide the first direct route for French Canadians to travel from Québec to central Maine. Many early Franco-American immigrants traveled the Old Canada Road to Skowhegan, Waterville, and Augusta.

The Old Canada Road follows the route taken by Bennedict Arnold on his invasion of Canada, and an early traveler was Father Moise Fortier.

Today the road is known as part of US Route 201. In 2001, the Old Canada Road was designated part of a scenic byway known as the Kennebec-Chaudiere corridor.

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.