Auburn is located on the western bank of the Androscoggin River, opposite Lewiston, about 35 miles (55 km) north of Portland. Maine's fourth largest city, it grew in the 19th century as a center of shoe manufacturing. Auburn was incorporated in 1842 and is the seat of Androscoggin County.
Despite the presence of industry, Auburn has a strong residential character. Recent revitalization efforts have been successful, notably the mixed-use Great Falls Plaza development.