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L.L.Bean display highlights the company's local connections.

Representatives from L.L.Bean and Museum L-A gather 'round a special cake made for the display's opening reception on April 12. Pictured from left: Rosemary Moser, L.L.Bean Community Relations; Jack Samson, L.L. Bean Senior Manager-Manufacturing; Rachel Desgrosseilliers, Museum L-A Executive Director; Edward Cormier, Museum L-A Board Chair; Ann Wilson, L.L.Bean Pattern Maker.

L.L. Bean Display

L.L.Bean Connections to L-A on Display

A display featuring L.L.Bean's connections to Lewiston-Auburn is the latest installment of "Portraits & Voices: Shoemaking Skills of Generations" exhibit. The display offers a glimpse at a local aspect of L.L.Bean's history during the company's 100th Anniversary year celebration, and complements the rich tradition of shoe manufacturing in the Twin Cities community. Museum L-A's third exhibit in the acclaimed Portraits & Voices series focuses on the local shoemaking industry with exhibits and activities for the whole family. Oral histories and portraits richly explore the stories of the people who helped put Auburn "on the map" as one of the largest producers of shoes in the nation at one time. These people built an industry that continues to produce world-famous shoes today.

In 1911, Leon Leonwood ("L.L.") Bean returned from a hunting trip tired of cold, damp feet with a revolutionary idea. He enlisted a local cobbler to stitch leather uppers to workmen's rubber boots, and created the Maine Hunting Shoe® – changing outdoor footwear forever. His innovative product started the mail-order company that is known world-wide, and transformed the quiet village of Freeport into the premier shopping destination it is today.

A lesser-known piece of the merchant's beginning was his early business as a young family man in Auburn, Maine. Selling trousers on Main Street in 1902, through W.H. Moody's shoe store, L.L. and his brothers began a working relationship with the business community and craftspeople of the Lewiston-Auburn community that continues today with local residents comprising a large part of L.L.Bean's workforce.

L.L.Bean operates its boot-bottom molding operation in Lewiston, and produces all of the rubber bottoms for its legendary Maine Hunting Shoe® and Bean Boot at the facility. Nearby, at its Brunswick, Maine factory, the company still manufacturers its most iconic products - the Maine Hunting Shoe, Bean Boot and Boat and Tote Bag.

The display includes:

  • Display cube featuring trousers and artifacts from early 1900, like those sold when L.L. had his early business interests in Auburn. The sides of the cube feature pictures from the period: the Auburn storefront, L.L. Bean and his brothers, the horse drawn buggy from which he sold trousers and an excerpt from his book describing his life at that time.
  • The second display cube includes present-day items - L.L.Bean 100th Anniversary Bean Boots and Boat and Tote Bags currently sold. Photos capture the company's Lewiston Boot Molding operations along with descriptions and photos of area employees who work at the L.L.Bean Manufacturing in Brunswick.