History of St. Peter's Cemetery
St. Peter’s Cemetery in Lewiston was founded July 1, 1876 when the current Bishop bought eight acres of land on the Switzerland Road. The first interment, on July 2nd of that year, was Joseph Gaudias Laroche, 10-month-old son of Joseph Omer Laroche and Celine Ferland who died June 19, 1876 at the age of 10-months and 21-days.
In February 1952, the parish of St. Peter’s in Lewiston purchased 24 acres of land (including the old Gastonguay farm) from Mrs. Anna Charest of Lewiston. Work on the new section started almost immediately and was, at the time, estimated to take at least two years to complete. A bronze memorial section was begun in 1954 and has grown to include over 9,000 grave spaces.
Between 1881 and 1994, the Society of the Dominican Fathers owned and operated St. Peter’s Cemetery, but after their numbers declined too far, control was turned over to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland on December 31, 1994. Today, there are more than 70 acres in use and another 70-75 acres that could be developed. The Society of Dominican Fathers also administered all properties and undertakings of St. Peter’s parish in addition to the cemetery.
Over 40,000 burials have been conducted there since the cemetery was founded. (2003 number)