Historiic Tours
History Home
Disposable Tours
SeacoastNH Home

spacer
Page Sponsor
Disposable Camera Tour
Camera
Lowell Heritage State Park
500 Pawtucket Blvd., Lowell, MA
(978) 369-6312

 Lowell Museum 
 For those millions of Americans descended from immigrant factory workers, Lowell can be a moving experience. Many New England towns are still dominated by red brick factories, but it all started here. Lowell was the dream city, designed in the 1820s to be the perfect high-tech experiment. Women from local farms were the original skilled weavers in what became the largest textile mills in the world.

But the experiment went awry. Owners pushed for faster machines, then more machines per worker. Women textile workers were replaced by unskilled immigrant laborers who worked for tiny wages over long hours six days a week. The Irish were first, then Rusians, Prussians, Italians, French Candaians, Greeks, Poles, Turkish and Bulgarian refugees and more. Children 14 and younger worked in the loud and dangerous mills, side by side with their parents, and lived in crowded tenaments rented to workers by factory owners. It was a pattern repeated throughout New England.

GOseacoast.com

Today Lowell is a state park in the middle of a city. We visited recently during the excitement of the annual ethnic folk festival. Arriving at the visitors center we watched the long-surviving orientation slide show -- still impressive. Visitors can take an electric trolley to a number of downtown museums. Step inside the boarding houses where thousands of mill girls, then immigrants, got their start. One complete section of the mill is still standing, transformed into a museum. The looms still hum amid well-designed displays.

Upstairs in the museum haunting wax figures, including a man in thick glasses and a red sweater, show how the mills have been adapted to moden companies. Outside ethnic dancers pose along the canal that once powered the massive mills. Nearby visitors lounged before a massive steel stage as musicians from a dozen nations played.  Policeman on horses monitored the crowds of guests.

Working to re-invent itself, Lowell has become a memorial to the people who struggled through the harsh life the city once fostered. It is an amazing rebirth in a fascinatingly diverse new city with a very American past and a million stories to tell. -- JDR. 

NHS

Lowell Heritage State Park

Lowell Heritage State Park

Lowell Heritage State Park

Lowell Heritage State Park

Lowell Heritage State Park

Lowell Heritage State Park

Lowell Heritage State Park

Lowell Heritage State Park

Lowell Heritage State Park

All photos and text by J. Dennis Robinson
Copyright 2003 SeacoastNH.com. All rights reserved.

Disposable Tours /   Historic Sites  /    History Homepage


top of page

line rule

logo

Site label
PO Box 7158
Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03802
URL: http://www.SeacoastNH.com
Voice: 603-427-2020
Email: info@SeacoastNH.com


line rule