Lowell, Massachusetts

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City of Lowell
City
Lowell on the Merrimack River with Cox Bridge
Lowell on the Merrimack River with Cox Bridge
Official seal of City of Lowell
Seal
Nickname(s): Mill City, Spindle City
Motto: "Art is the Handmaid of Human Good."[1]
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°38′22″N 71°18′53″W / 42.63944°N 71.31472°W / 42.63944; -71.31472Coordinates: 42°38′22″N 71°18′53″W / 42.63944°N 71.31472°W / 42.63944; -71.31472
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled 1653
Incorporated 1826
A city 1836
Government
 • Type Manager-City council
 • Mayor Rodney M. Elliott
 • City Manager Kevin J. Murphy
Area
 • Total 14.5 sq mi (37.7 km2)
 • Land 13.8 sq mi (35.7 km2)
 • Water 0.8 sq mi (2.0 km2)
Elevation 102 ft (31 m)
Population (2012)
 • Total 108,522
 • Density 7,500.9/sq mi (2,899.5/km2)
 • Demonym Lowellian
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01850, 01851, 01852, 01853, 01854
Area code(s) 978 / 351
FIPS code 25-37000
GNIS feature ID 0611832
Website City of Lowell, Massachusetts

Lowell is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. With an estimated population of 108,861,[2] it is the fourth-largest city in Massachusetts, after Boston, Worcester, and Springfield, and the second-largest in what the U.S. Census Bureau defines as Boston's metropolitan area.[3]

Incorporated in 1826, Lowell became known as the cradle of the American Industrial Revolution, and many of the city's historic sites have been preserved by the National Park Service.[4] Lowell is home to the University of Massachusetts Lowell, a Carnegie-classified research university and the second largest public university in Massachusetts. Along with Cambridge, Lowell is one of Middlesex County's county seats.[5]

History[edit]

The Massachusetts Mill at the confluence of the Merrimack and Concord Rivers

Founded in the 1820s as a planned manufacturing center for textiles, Lowell is located along the rapids of the Merrimack River, 25 miles northwest of Boston in what was once the farming community of East Chelmsford, Massachusetts. The so-called Boston Associates, including Nathan Appleton and Patrick Tracy Jackson of the Boston Manufacturing Company, named the new mill town after their visionary leader, Francis Cabot Lowell,[6] who had died five years before its 1823 incorporation. As Lowell's population grew, it acquired more land from neighboring towns, and diversified into a full-fledged urban center. Many of the men who composed the labor force for constructing the canals and factories had immigrated from Ireland, escaping the poverty and Potato Famines of the 1830s and 1840s. The mill workers, young single women called Mill Girls, generally came from the farm families of New England.

Saint Anne's Episcopal Church, built 1824

By the 1850s, Lowell had the largest industrial complex in the United States. The textile industry wove cotton produced in the South. In 1860, there were more cotton spindles in Lowell than in all eleven states combined that would form the Confederacy.[7] The city continued to thrive as a major industrial center during the 19th century, attracting more migrant workers and immigrants to its mills. Next were the Catholic Germans, then a large influx of French Canadians during the 1870s and 1880s. Later waves of immigrants included Portuguese, Polish, Lithuanians, Swedes, Greeks, and eastern European Jews. They came to work in Lowell and settled in ethnic neighborhoods, with the city's population reaching almost 50% foreign-born by 1900.[8] By the time World War I broke out in Europe, the city had reached its economic and population peak of over 110,000 people.

The Mill Cities' manufacturing base declined as many companies began to relocate to the South in the 1920s.[8] The city fell into deep hard times, and was called a "depressed industrial desert" by Harper's Magazine in 1931, as the Great Depression deepened. More than one-third of its population was "on relief", as only three of its major textile corporations remained active.[8] Several years later, the mills were reactivated, making parachutes and other military necessities for the World War II effort. However, this economic boost was short-lived and the post-war years saw the last textile plants close.

Mills sat abandoned after industry left the city in the early twentieth century.

Over the next few decades, the city was just a shadow of itself. In the 1970s, Lowell became part of the Massachusetts Miracle, being the headquarters of Wang Laboratories. At the same time, Lowell became home to thousands of new immigrants, many from Cambodia, following the genocide at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. The city continued to rebound, but this time, focusing more on culture. The former mill district along the river was partially restored and became part of the Lowell National Historical Park, founded in the late 1970s.

Former mill agent's house

At this same time, the Lowell City Development Authority created a comprehensive master plan which included recommendations for zoning adaptations within the city, however, the zoning code that is was employed is the zoning code established in 1966, however the code has been amended in various ways in order to respond to concerns about overdevelopment.[9]

Although Wang went bankrupt in 1992, the city continued its cultural focus by hosting the nation's largest free folk festival, the Lowell Folk Festival, as well as many other cultural events. This effort began to attract other companies and families back to the urban center. Additional historic manufacturing and commercial buildings were adapted as residential units and office space. By the 1990s, Lowell built a new ballpark and arena, which became home to two minor league sports teams, the Lowell Devils and Lowell Spinners. The city also began to have a larger student population. The University of Massachusetts Lowell and Middlesex Community College expanded their programs and enrollment.

In 2002, in lieu of updating the Comprehensive Master Plan, more broad changes were recommended so that the land use and development would be consistent with the current master plan. The most significant revision to the 1966 zoning code is the adoption of an inclusion of a transect-based zoning code and some aspects of a form-based code style of zoning that emphasizes urban design elements as a means to ensure that infill development will respect the character of the neighborhood or district in question. By 2004, the recommended zoning changes were unanimously adopted by the City Council and although there has been a plethora of adaptations to the 2004 Zoning Code it still remains as the basic framework for the zoning issues in Lowell to the present day [10]

Pawtucket Canal

One example of an area of the city that has made a significant adaptation to the zoning codes is the Hamilton Canal District (HCD) which happens to be the first district in Lowell, whose regulation and development is defined by its own Form-Based Code (HCD-FBC) legislated by its own guiding framework consistent to the HCD Master Plan.[11] The HCD is a major redevelopment project that comprises 13-acres of vacant, underutilized land in the heart of downtown Lowell abutting historic ruins of former industrial mills and is adjacent to many appealing urban amenities. Trinity Financial was elected as the Master Developer to recreate this new district with the underlying vision of making it a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood that utilizes the value of the adjacent canals running through the district area and capitalizing on them to establish the HCD as a "gateway" to downtown's culture by enhancing the connectivity and access to the city's multi-modal transportation hub the Gallagher Terminal.[12][13]

In July 2012, Lowell youth led a nationally reported campaign to gain voting privileges for 17-year-olds in local elections; it would have been the first municipality to do so.[14][15] The 'Vote 17' campaign was supported by national researchers; its goals were to increase voter turnout, create lifelong civic habits, and increase youth input in local matters.[16] The effort was led by youth at the United Teen Equality Center in downtown Lowell.[17]

Geography[edit]

Aerial view of LeLacheur Park and the UMass-Lowell campus
Lowell in 1876

Lowell is located at 42°38′22″N 71°18′53″W / 42.63944°N 71.31472°W / 42.63944; -71.31472 (42.639444, -71.314722).[18] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.5 square miles (38 km2).13.8 square miles (35.7 km²) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) of it (5.23%) is water.

Physical[edit]

Lowell's canal system (1975)

Lowell is located at the confluence of the Merrimack and Concord rivers. The Pawtucket Falls, a mile-long set of rapids with a total drop in elevation of 32 feet, ends where the two rivers meet. At the top of the falls is the Pawtucket Dam, designed to turn the upper Merrimack into a millpond, diverted through Lowell's extensive canal system.

The Merrimack, which flows southerly from Franklin, New Hampshire to Lowell, makes a northeasterly turn there before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean at Newburyport, Massachusetts, approximately 40 miles downriver from Lowell. It is believed that in prior ages, the Merrimack continued south from Lowell to empty into the ocean somewhere near Boston. The glacial deposits that redirected the flow of the river left the drumlins that dot the city, most notably, Fort Hill in the Belvidere neighborhood. Other large hills in Lowell include Lynde Hill, also in Belvidere, and Christian Hill, in the easternmost part of Centralville at the Dracut town line.

The Concord, or Musketaquid (its original name), forms from the confluence of the Assabet and Sudbury rivers at Concord, Massachusetts. This river flows north into the city, and the area around the confluence with the Merrimack was known as Wamesit. Like the Merrimack, the Concord, although a much smaller river, has many waterfalls and rapids that served as power sources for early industrial purposes, some well before the founding of Lowell. Immediately after the Concord joins the Merrimack, the Merrimack descends another ten feet in Hunt's Falls.

There is a ninety-degree bend in the Merrimack partway down the Pawtucket Falls. At this point, the river briefly widens and shallows. Here, Beaver Brook enters from the north, separating the City's two northern neighborhoods, Pawtucketville and Centralville. Entering the Concord River from the southwest is River Meadow, or Hale's Brook. This brook flows largely in a man-made channel, as the Lowell Connector was built along it. Both of these minor streams have limited industrial histories as well.

The bordering towns (clockwise from north) are Dracut, Tewksbury, Billerica, Chelmsford, and Tyngsborough. The border with Billerica is a point in the middle of the Concord River where Lowell and Billerica meet Tewksbury and Chelmsford.

The ten communities designated part of the Lowell Metropolitan area by the 2000 US Census are Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Groton, Lowell, Pepperell, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, and Westford, and Pelham, NH. See Greater Lowell.

Neighborhoods[edit]

The Acre neighborhood

Lowell has eight distinct neighborhoods: the Acre, Back Central, Belvidere, Centralville, Downtown, Highlands, Pawtucketville, and South Lowell.[19] The city also has five ZIP Codes: four are geographically distinct general ZIP Codes, and one (01853) is for post-office boxes only.

The Centralville neighborhood, ZIP Code 01850, is the northeastern section of the city, north of the Merrimack River and east of Beaver Brook. Christian Hill is the section of Centralville east of Bridge Street.

The Highlands is the most populated neighborhood, with almost a quarter of the city residing here, ZIP Code 01851, and is the southwestern section of the city, bordered to the east by the Lowell Connector and to the north by the railroad. Lowellians further distinguish the sections of the Highlands as the Upper Highlands and the Lower Highlands, the latter being the area closer to downtown. Middlesex Village, Tyler Park, and Drum Hill are in this ZIP Code.

Downtown, Belvidere, Back Central, and South Lowell make up the 01852 ZIP Code, and are the southeastern sections of the city (south of the Merrimack River and southeast of the Lowell Connector). Belvidere is the mostly residential area south of the Merrimack River, east of the Concord River, and north of the Lowell and Lawrence railroad. Belvidere Hill is a Historic District along Fairmount Street. Lower Belvidere is the section west of Nesmith Street. Back Central is an urban area south of downtown, toward the mouth of River Meadow Brook. South Lowell is the area south of the railroad and east of the Concord River. Other neighborhoods in this ZIP Code are Ayers City, Bleachery, Chapel Hill, the Grove, Oaklands, Riverside Park, Swede Village, and Wigginsville, but use of those names is mostly antiquated.

The ZIP Code 01854 is the northwestern portion of the city and includes Pawtucketville; the University of Massachusetts Lowell; and the Acre. Pawtucketville is where Jack Kerouac resided around the area of University Avenue (previously known as Moody Street). The north campus of UMass Lowell is in Pawtucketville. The older parts of the neighborhood are around University Avenue and Mammoth Road, whereas the newer parts are around Varnum Avenue. Middle and elementary schools for this area include Wang Middle School, Pawtucketville Memorial, McAvinnue Elementary School, and private school Ste Jeanne d'Arc. Pawtucketville is the official entrance to the Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest. Pawtucketville's Lowell–Dracut–Tyngsborough State Forest is the probable site of a Native American tribe, and in age of the Industrial Revolution was a prominent source where granite for canals and factory foundations were obtained.[20]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1830 6,474 —    
1840 20,796 +221.2%
1850 33,383 +60.5%
1860 36,827 +10.3%
1870 40,928 +11.1%
1880 59,475 +45.3%
1890 77,696 +30.6%
1900 94,969 +22.2%
1910 106,294 +11.9%
1920 112,759 +6.1%
1930 100,234 −11.1%
1940 101,389 +1.2%
1950 97,249 −4.1%
1960 92,107 −5.3%
1970 94,239 +2.3%
1980 92,418 −1.9%
1990 103,439 +11.9%
2000 105,167 +1.7%
2010 106,519 +1.3%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31]

According to the 2010 Census,[32] there were 106,519 people residing in the city. The population density was 7,842.1 people per square mile (2,948.8/km²). There were 41,431 housing units at an average density of 2,865.5 per square mile (1,106.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 60.3% White, 20.2% Asian American (12.5% Cambodian, 2.0% Indian, 1.7% Vietnamese, 1.4% Laotian, 0.6% Chinese, 0.2% Filipino, 0.1% Korean, 0.1% Thai, 0.1% Burmese), 6.8% African American, 0.3% Native American, 8.8% from other races, 3.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.3% of the population (11.3% of the population is Puerto Rican, 1.9% Dominican, 1.5% Colombian, 0.5% Mexican, 0.2% Salvadoran, 0.2% Guatemalan).[32] Non-Hispanic Whites were 52.8% of the population in 2010,[33] compared to 92.5% in 1980.[34]

There are about 6,000 Africans living in Lowell.[35] The come from a wide range of countries including Liberia, Kenya, and Togo.

In 2010, Lowell had the highest proportion of residents of Cambodian origin of any place in the United States, at 12.5% of the population. Estimates of the total number of Cambodians living in the city of Lowell range from 11,000[36] to 25,000-35,000.[37] The Government of Cambodia had opened up its third U.S. Consular Office in Lowell, on April 27, 2009, with Sovann Ou as current advisor to the Cambodian Embassy.[37] The other two are in Long Beach and Seattle, Washington, which also have a large community.

In 2010, there were 38,470 households, and 23,707 families living in Lowell; the average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.31. Of those households, 34.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.9% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 38.4% were non-families, 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.[32]

In 2010 the city's population had a median age of 32.6.[38] The age distribution was 23.7% of the population under the age of 18, 13.5% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who were 65 years of age or older. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males; while for every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.6 males.[38]

The median income for a household in the city was $51,714, according to the American Community Survey 5-year estimate ending in 2012.[39] The median income for a family was $55,852. Males had a median income of $44,739 versus $35,472 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,730. About 15.2% of families and 17.5% of individuals were below the poverty line, including 24.5% of those under age 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over.[40]

Crime[edit]

Fires have ravaged some of the city's old buildings over the years.
Police station in the city's Highlands neighborhood

The city of Lowell is primarily policed and protected by the Lowell Police Department, secondarily by the Massachusetts State Police, the UMass Lowell Police, and the National Park Service.

In 2008, the violent crime Rate for Lowell was 1,126.3 per 100,000 of the population, ranking it the 7th most violent city in Massachusetts right ahead of Boston with 1,104 per 100,000.[41] Lowell's crime rate has dropped tremendously since the 1990s

Since 1990, Lowell has averaged about 5 homicides per year with the highest being 13 homicides in 2006. As of 2008, the crime index rating was 446.8. The national average was 320.9. Lowell has been locally notorious over the years for being a place of high drug trafficking and gang activity. The Lowell Police Department has made positive progress in bringing the crime rates down in recent years. In the years from 1994 to 1999, crime dropped 50 percent, the highest rate of decrease for any city in America with over 100,000 residents.[42] In 2009, Lowell was ranked as the 139th most dangerous city of over 75,000 residents in the United States, out of 393 communities. Out of Massachusetts cities, nine are larger than 75,000 residents, and Lowell was fifth most dangerous or safest.[43] For comparison Lowell is rated safer than Boston (104 of 393), Providence RI (123), Springfield (51), Lynn (120), Fall River (103), and New Bedford (85), but rated more dangerous than Cambridge (303), Newton (388), Quincy (312), and Worcester (175).[43]

Arts and culture[edit]

Annual events[edit]

The Boott Cotton Mill Museum & Trolley
The National Park Boat Tour
  • February: Winterfest - celebration of winter.
  • March: Lowell Women's Week[44] - A week of events recognizing women’s achievements, struggles, and contributions to the Lowell community past and present. Irish Cultural Week - A celebration of Irish history and hulture within the Greater Lowell community.
  • April: Lowell Film Festival[45]- Showcases documentary and feature-length films focusing on a variety of topics of interest to the Greater Lowell community and beyond
  • May: Doors Open Lowell[46] - A celebration of preservation, architecture, and design where many historic buildings that normally have limited public access are open for viewing
  • June: African Festival[47] - A celebration of the various African communities in and around Lowell
  • July: Lowell Folk Festival - A three-day free folk music and traditional arts festival attended by on average 250,000 people on the last weekend in July
  • August: Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival[48] - celebrates Southeast Asian culture
  • October: Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival[49] - A celebration of the works of Jack Kerouac and his roots in the city of Lowell
  • October: Bay State Marathon marathon and half marathon

Points of interest[edit]

Among the many tourist attractions, Lowell also currently has 39 places on the National Register of Historic Places including many buildings and structures as part of the Lowell National Historical Park.

Culture[edit]

Birthplace of painter James McNeill Whistler.

In the early years of the 1840s when the population quickly exceeded 20,000, Lowell became very active as a cultural center, with the construction of the Lowell Museum, the Mechanics Hall, as well as the new City Hall used for art exhibits, lectures, and for the performing arts. The Lowell Museum was lost in a devastating fire in the early morning of January 31, 1856,[52] but was quickly rehoused in a new location. The Lowell Art Association was founded in 1876, and the new Opera House was built in 1889.[53]

Continuing to inspire and entertain, Lowell currently has a plethora of artistic exhibitions and performances throughout a wide range of venues in the city:

Museums and public galleries[edit]

Interactive and live performances[edit]

Sports[edit]

Ramalho’s West End Gym trains the city's boxers.

Boxing[edit]

Boxing forms an important part of Lowell's working class culture. The city's auditorium hosts the annual New England Golden Gloves tournament, which featured fighters such as Rocky Marciano, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Marvin Hagler. Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund both began their careers in Lowell, the subject of the 2010 film The Fighter.[58] Arthur Ramahlo's West End Gym is where many of the city's boxers train.[59]

Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell

Teams[edit]

Venues[edit]

LeLacheur Park, home of the Lowell Spinners baseball team

Government[edit]

Lowell City Council (as of 11/22/12)[62]
  • Rodney M. Elliott (Jan. 1998–present), Mayor
  • John Leahy (Sept. 2012–present), Vice Mayor
  • Corey Belanger (Jan. 2014–present)
  • Edward J. Kennedy, Jr. (Jan. 1978-Jan. 1986, Jan. 2012–present)
  • William F. Martin (Jan. 2000–present)*
  • Rita M. Mercier (Jan. 1996–present)*
  • James Milinazzo (Jan. 2004-Jan. 2012, Jan. 2014–present)*
  • Dan Rourke (Jan. 2014–present)
  • William Samaras (Jan. 2014–present)

* =former mayor

Lowell has a Plan E form of council-manager government.[63] There are nine city councilors and six school committee members, all elected at large in a non-partisan election. The City Council chooses one of its members as mayor, and another as vice-mayor; the mayor serves as chair of the council and school committee, and performs certain ceremonial duties. As of January 2012, the members of the Lowell School Committee are Mayor Rodney Elliott, David Conway, Stephen Gendron, James Leary, Vice Chair Connie Martin, Kimberly Scott and Kristin Ross-Sitcawich. The administrative head of the city government is the City Manager, who is responsible for all day-to-day operations, functioning within the guidelines of City Council policy, and is hired by and serves at the pleasure of the City Council as whole. As of April 2014, the City Manager is Kevin J. Murphy.[64]

Lowell is represented in the Massachusetts General Court by State Representatives Thomas Golden, Jr. (16th Middlesex 1995 to Present) and David Nangle (17th Middlesex 2000 to Present), and by State Senator Eileen Donoghue (1st Middlesex), all of whom are Democrats. It is also represented in the House by the 18th Middlesex District, which is currently vacant. Federally, the city is part of Massachusetts's 3rd congressional district and represented by Democrat Niki Tsongas. The state's senior member of the United States Senate is Democrat Elizabeth Warren, elected in 2012. The state's junior member of the United States Senate is Democrat Ed Markey, elected in 2013.

Registered Voters and Party Enrollment as of February 15, 2012[65]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 20,420 40.48%
  Republican 4,542 9.00%
  Unenrolled 25,110 49.78%
  Other 374 0.74%
Total 50,446 100%

Education[edit]

Primary and secondary schools[edit]

Public schools[edit]

Lowell Public Schools operates district public schools. Lowell High School is the district public school. Non-district public schools include Greater Lowell Technical High School, Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School, Lowell Community Charter Public School.[66]

Private schools[edit]

Lowell Catholic High School, est. 1989, is in Lowell.

Private grade schools include:[67]

  • Hellenic American Academy, est. 1908 as the first Greek Orthodox day school in the United States (135 Students) (Grades K-8) Teacher/Student Ratio 1:12[68]
  • Franco-American School, est. 1963 (Grades K-8) Teacher/Student Ratio 1:13[69]
  • St. Louis School, (457 Students) (Grades K-8) Teacher/Student Ratio 1:19
  • Ste Jeanne d'Arc School, est. 1910 (375 Students) (Grades K1-8) Teacher/Student Ratio 1:17[70]
  • St. Margaret School, (357 Students) (Grade K-8) Teacher/Student Ratio 1:20
  • St. Patrick School, (181 Students) (Grade K-8) Teacher/Student Ratio 1:15
  • St. Michael Elementary School, (407 Students) (Grade K-8) Teacher/Student Ratio 1:16
  • Immaculate Conception School, (324 Students) (Grade K-8) Teacher/Student Ratio 1:17
  • St. Stanislaus School, est. 1906 (124 Students) (Grade K-8) Teacher/Student Ratio 1:12[71]
  • Community Christian Academy, (185 Students) (Grade K-12) Teacher/Student Ratio 1:9
  • Riverside School, Nonsectarian, Special Education School (25 Students) (Grades 4-11) Teacher/Student Ratio 1:5

Colleges and universities[edit]

Libraries[edit]

Pollard Memorial Library in August 2011

Pollard Memorial Library / Lowell City Library[edit]

The first Lowell public library was established in 1844 with 3,500 volumes, and was set up in the first floor of the Old City Hall, 226 Merrimack St. In 1872, the expanding collection was relocated down the street to the Hosford Building[72] at 134 Merrimack St. In 1890-91, the City of Lowell hired local Architect Frederick W. Stickney to design the new Lowell City Library, known as "Memorial Hall, in honor of the city's men who lost their lives in the American Civil War.[73][74] In 1981, the library was renamed the Pollard Memorial Library in memory of the late Mayor Samuel S. Pollard. And, in the mid-2000s the century old National Historic building underwent a major $8.5m renovation.[75] The city also, recently expanded the library system to include the Senior Center Branch, located in the City of Lowell Senior Center.[76]

In fiscal year 2008, the city of Lowell spent 0.36% ($975,845) of its budget on its public libraries, which houses 236,000 volumes, and is a part of the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium. Currently, circulation of materials averages around 250,000 annually, with approximately one-third deriving from the children's collection.[73][77] In fiscal year 2009, Lowell spent 0.35% ($885,377) of its budget on the library—some $8 per person.[78]

As of 2012, the Pollard Library purchases access for its patrons to databases owned by: EBSCO Industries; Gale, of Cengage Learning; Heritage Archives, Inc.; New England Historic Genealogical Society; OverDrive, Inc.; ProQuest; and World Trade Press.[79]

Lydon Library[edit]

The Lydon Library is a part of the University of Massachusetts Lowell system, and is located on the North Campus. The building is named in honor of President Martin J. Lydon, who's vision expanded and renamed the college, during his tenure in the 1950s and 1960s.[80] Its current collection concentrates on the sciences, engineering, business management, social sciences, humanities, and health.[81]

O'Leary Library[edit]

The O'Leary Library is a part of the University of Massachusetts Lowell system, and is located on the South Campus. The building is named in honor of former History Professor and then President O'Leary, who's vision helped merge the Lowell colleges, during his tenure in the 1970s and 1980s.[82] Its current collection concentrates on music and art.[83]

Center for Lowell History[edit]

The Center for Lowell History [special collections and archives] is a part of the University of Massachusetts Lowell system, established in 1971 to assure the safekeeping, preservation, and availability for study and research of materials in unique subject areas, particularly those related to the Greater Lowell Area and the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Located downtown in the Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center at 40 French Street, the Center is committed to the design and implementation of historical, educational, and cultural programs that link the University and the community in developing an economically strong and multi-culturally rich region. Its current collections and archives focus on historic and contemporary issues of Lowell (including: industrialization, textile technology, immigration, social history, regional history, labor history, women's history, and environmental history.[84]

Media[edit]

The Sun is the city's daily newspaper.

Newspaper[edit]

The Sun, headquartered in downtown Lowell, is a major daily newspaper serving Greater Lowell and southern New Hampshire. The newspaper had an average daily circulation of about 42,900 copies in 2011.[85] Continuing a trend of concentration of newspaper ownership, The Sun was sold to newspaper conglomerate MediaNews Group in 1997 after 119 years of family ownership.[86]

Radio[edit]

  • WCAP AM 980, talk radio
  • WLLH AM 1400 Spanish Tropical
  • WUML FM 91.5, UMass Lowell-owned station
  • WCRB FM 99.5, Classical music, licensed to Lowell

Infrastructure[edit]

Transportation[edit]

A bus of the Lowell Regional Transit Authority

Lowell can be reached by automobile from Interstate 495, U.S. Route 3, the Lowell Connector, and Massachusetts Routes 3A, 38, 110, 113, and 133, all of which run through the city, the last one (Route 133) begins at the spot where Routes 110 and 38 branch off just south of the Merrimack River. Lowell can also be reached by Interstate 93 via exit 44B (I-495 south) in nearby Andover, and Interstate 95 via the U.S. Route 3 exit (32A) in nearby Burlington.[87] There are six bridges crossing the Merrimack River in Lowell, and four crossing the Concord River (not including the two for I-495).

For public transit, Lowell is served by the Lowell Regional Transit Authority, which provides fixed route bus services and paratransit services to the city and surrounding area. These connect at the Gallagher Transit Terminal to the Lowell Line of the MBTA commuter rail system, which connects Lowell to Boston. The terminal is also served by several intercity bus lines.[87]

The Lowell National Historical Park provides a free streetcar shuttle between its various sites in the city center, using track formerly used to provide freight access to the city's mills. An expansion is currently being planned to expand the system to 6.9 miles. The system might be turned over to the Lowell Regional Transit Authority after the extension is built.

Hospitals[edit]

Businesses started and/or products invented in Lowell[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See List of People from Lowell, Massachusetts

International relations[edit]

Twin towns and sister cities[edit]

City State Year
Berdiansk  Ukraine 1997

References to Lowell[edit]

Music[edit]

The city is the subject of Death Cab for Cutie's song, "Lowell, MA," from their album We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes.

The city was also featured in the song "Lowell Man" by Tom Doyle. Doyle, of WROR-FM 105.7 in Boston, does many songs like this spoofing classic rock by rewording them to make fun of various things about New England ("Lowell Man" is a spoof of "Soul Man" by Sam & Dave).

The Dropkick Murphys' Warrior's Code tells story of Lowell Boxer Micky Ward, mentioning Lowell and several city facts in the song.

James Taylor's song "Millworker" is about a woman living in Lowell.

Tom Waits references the city on the album Small Change in the track "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart (In Lowell)".

Historical Sources and Novels[edit]

Lowell has also been the subject of a number of historical sources and novels. Some of the better known ones are:

  • Brian C.Mitchell's "The Paddy Camps:The Irish of Lowell 1821-1861", published by the University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago,1988, and 2006 (Paperback).
Memorial stone of Jack Kerouac in Lowell
  • Jack Kerouac, who was born in Lowell, set several biographical novels there, including Visions of Gerard and Doctor Sax.
  • Katherine Paterson's novel Lyddie tells the fictional story of a Lowell Mill Girl in the 19th century who fights for better working conditions in the hot, crowded and dangerous mills.
  • In Avi's Beyond the Western Sea: Lord Kirkle's Money, Lowell is the destination of immigrants hoping to reach America and begin new lives.
  • Nancy Zaroulis' Call The Darkness Light, a novel about a young woman left alone in the world following the death of her father, tells the story of the mid-19th century Lowell Mill Girls and the realities of the textile industry.
  • Judith Rossner's Emmeline tells the partially fictionalized story of another 19th-century mill girl, as does Elizabeth Graver's novel Unravelling.
  • David Daniel's series of Alex Rasmussen novels follows the Lowell based private eye's adventures in books including The Marble Kite and Goofy Foot.
  • Lloyd L. Corricelli's Ronan Marino Mystery Series includes Two Redheads & A Dead Blonde, which follows the Iraqi war veteran and private investigator's quest to find his girlfriend's murderer, and Chasing Curves, in which Ronan tries to clear a UMass Lowell baseball star accused of murdering his prospective agent's secretary.
  • Mark Arsenault's novel Spiked details the fictional story of a news reporter in Lowell who tries to solve the murder of his co-worker, despite the interference from the brass of his daily newspaper, the local police, city politicians, hitmen, and a lovely Cambodian woman bent on revenge.

Films[edit]

Honors[edit]

  • 2010, Lowell designated as a "Green Community"[91]
  • 1997 and 1998, Lowell was a finalist for the All-American City award.[92]
  • 1999, Lowell received an All-American City award.[92]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ Lowell National Historical Park - Lowell National Historical Park
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  8. ^ a b c Marion, Paul, "Timeline of Lowell History From 1600s to 2009", Yankee magazine, November 2009.
  9. ^ City of Lowell Master Plan Update: Existing Conditions Report, Department of Planning and Development, December 2011, 3.0 Land-Use pg 31
  10. ^ City of Lowell Master Plan Update: Existing Conditions Report, Department of Planning and Development, December 2011, 3.0 Land-Use pg 32
  11. ^ Hamilton Canal District Form-Based Code Zoning Section, City of Lowell Zoning Section 10.3, February 2009 pg 4
  12. ^ http://www.trinityfinancial.com/sub/hamiltoncanal.php
  13. ^ Hamilton Canal District Master Plan, September 2008 pg. 6
  14. ^ Let 17-year-olds vote | The Great Debate
  15. ^ ‘Vote 17’ movement pushing for teen voice in local elections | Fox News|date=11 July 2012
  16. ^ my testimony in favor of lowering the voting age to 17 in Lowell, MA « Peter Levine
  17. ^ Homepage | United Teen Equality Center
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Further reading[edit]

Primary sources[edit]

External links[edit]