The central area of the Kennebec-Chaudière Corridor moves away from the wilderness of the North to a place with a more pronounced human imprint. Early settlers transformed the landscape into farmland and mill towns.
Many of the early French Canadians who came to work in the mills were farmers. For example, more than eighty-five percent of the French Canadians who moved to Waterville were from then-agricultural Beauce County, south of Québec City. This connection to the land courses through the Franco identity. At the end of a long day in the mills, people went home to tend their gardens.
For generations, life in the river towns revolved around home, church and mill or factory. Tightly knit families and cultural traditions were closely linked. Franco families often gathered for soirées, where people would talk, tell stories, sing, and cook.
Even today, the family remains the primary source of personal and cultural identity. Much of what goes on in the Franco community happens around a kitchen table or in someone’s living room.
The corridor is very much about ‘Wait, we still live here.’ If that means that pieces of it aren’t green and scenic any longer because people are making a living on it, that’s part of the story.”
From Solon, the corridor follows Route 201A to Skowhegan along the west bank of the Kennebec River. From Skowhegan, it continues on Route 201 to Waterville.