Do You Know What the Tree Streets of Lewiston Are?
I heard someone reference, 'the Tree Streets' and I had no idea what they were talking about.
Unfortunately, it was a derogatory reference. Something to the effect of,
Oh, they must live in the Tree Streets.
I did a little digging about the name and found some really sad things about the Tree Streets of Lewiston. The best information came from the John T. Gorman Foundation and Lewiston's Tree Street Initiative. The Foundation has a statewide mission of improving the lives of Maine’s young children, older youth, families, and seniors. They found that the Tree Streets needed their help.
According to the Tree Street Initiative,
Lewiston’s downtown includes a thirty-block residential section often referred to as the “Tree Streets.” This densely populated neighborhood has a population of 10,904 in 4,832 households.
It's a mix of cultures including French, Portuguese and Somali. Kids play in the street and this one neighborhood in Lewiston has the densest population of kids under the age of five in the entire state. This neighborhood is also one of the most disadvantaged communities in the state of Maine. More than 40 percent of the people in this neighborhood live in poverty.
And if you thought that was awful, it gets worse. Because most of the places people live are century-old apartment buildings, the Tree Street neighborhood also has Maine's highest rates of childhood lead poisoning. The poverty rate and lead poisoning have led to poor school performance.
The Tree Street Initiative has done some great things in the few years it's been around, but obviously...this is an area that needs help. And yes, back in the 1800s an engineer named a bunch of streets after trees...hence the name.