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Lowell, MA

City of Lowell

Lowell on the Merrimack River with Cox Bridge
Official seal of City of Lowell
Nickname(s): Mill City, Spindle City
Motto: "Art is the Handmaid of Human Good."[1]

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
 • Type Manager-City council
 • Mayor Patrick O. Murphy
 • City Manager Bernard F. Lynch
 • 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 (2010)
 • Total 106,519
 • 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, USA. According to the 2010 census, the city's population was 106,519. It is the fourth largest city in the state. Lowell and Cambridge were the county seats of Middlesex County prior to the abolition of county government in 1997.[2]

Lowell is known as the cradle of the industrial revolution in the United States and many of the city's historic sites have been preserved by the National Park Service.[3]


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,[4] 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 comprised 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.

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.[5] 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, 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.[6] 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.[6] 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.[6] 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.

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.

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 a nationally[7] recognized youth-led campaign, Lowell aims to be the first municipality in the country to allow 17-year-olds to vote in its municipal elections.[8] The 'Vote 17' campaign is supported by national researchers[9] and aims to increase voter turnout, create lifelong civic habits and increase youth input in local matters. The effort is led by youth at the United Teen Equality Center[10] in downtown Lowell.


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).[11] 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.


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, Pawtucktville 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 Tyngsboro. 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, Tyngsboro, and Westford, and Pelham, NH. See Greater Lowell.


Lowell has eight distinct neighborhoods: the Acre, Back Central, Belvidere, Centralville, Downtown, Highlands, Pawtucketville, and South Lowell.[12] 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.[13]


According to the 2010 Census,[14] 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 (52.8% non-Hispanic White), 20.2% Asian American, 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).[14]

Lowell had the highest percentage of ethnic Cambodians of any place in the United States, with 10.37% of its population being Cambodian,[15] second only to Long Beach, California in total population. Estimates of the total number of Cambodians living in the city of Lowell range from 11,000[16] to 25,000-35,000.[17] 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.[17] 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.[14]

In 2010 the city's population had a median age of 32.6.[18] 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.[18]

The median income for a household in the city was $50,192, according to the American Community Survey 5-year estimate ending in 2010.[19] 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.[19]


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.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22] 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).[22]

Arts and culture

Annual events

  • February: Winterfest - celebration of winter.
  • April: Lowell Film Festival[23]- 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[24] - a celebration of preservation, architecture, and design where many historic buildings that normally have limited public access are open for viewing
  • June: African Festival[25] - A celebration of the various African communities in and around Lowell
  • July: Lowell Folk Festival - three-day free folk festival attended by on average 250,000 people on the last weekend in July
  • August: Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival[26] - celebrates Southeast Asian culture
  • October: The Massachusetts Poetry Festival[27] - an event that celebrates poets and poetry in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • October: Bay State Marathon - October marathon and half marathon

Points of interest

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.

  • Lowell National Historical Park: Maintains Lowell's history as an early manufacturing and immigrant city. Exhibits include weave rooms, a waterpower exhibit, and paths along 5.6 miles of largely restored canals.
  • Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest: Hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing trails in an urban state forest
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell: State university
  • Vandenberg Esplanade: Walking, biking, swimming, and picnicking park along the banks of the Merrimack River. Contains the Sampas Pavilion.
  • Lowell High School: The first desegregated and co-educational high school in the United States
  • Jack Kerouac's birthplace: In the Centralville section of the city at 9 Lupine Road.
  • Bette Davis's birthplace: In the Highlands section of the city at 22 Chester Street.
  • Rosalind Elias's birthplace: In the Acre neighborhood at 144 School Street .
  • Lowell Cemetery: burial site of many of Lowell's wealthy industrialists from the Victorian era, as well as several U.S. Congressmen, a Massachusetts Governor, and a U.S. Senator. 77 Knapp Avenue.
  • Edson Cemetery: burial site of Jack Kerouac, John McFarland, Passaconaway and William Preston Phelps. 1375 Gorham Street.
  • The Worthen House: Edgar Allan Poe purportedly visited this tavern and local lore suggests he wrote some of "The Raven" here. The story is apocryphal, as the Worthen was not established until 1898 and Poe died in 1849.
  • The Acre: Lowell's gateway neighborhood where waves of immigrants have established their communities.
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell Radiation Laboratory: The site of a small nuclear reactor at the school
  • Yorick Building: Former home of the gentlemen's club the "Yorick Club", currently a restaurant & function facility.
  • Little Cambodia: In 2010, the city began an effort to make it a tourist destination.[28]
  • Pow-Wow Oak: Historic tree, said to have been standing as early as 1700, where Native Americans held meetings. Revolutionary War soldiers from New England are believed to have traveled past this tree on their way to defend Lexington and Concord.


In the early years of 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,[29] 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.[30]

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

Interactive and live performances

  • Arts League of Lowell
  • Center for Lowell History, University of Massachusetts Lowell - local history library and archive
  • Lowell Memorial Auditorium - Mid-sized venue for live performances.
  • Lowell Summer Music Series - Boarding House Park
  • Lowell Rocks - Lowell nightlife and entertainment web site
  • Lowell Telecommunication Corporation (LTC) - A community media and technology center
  • Merrimack Repertory Theater - Professional equity theater
  • Play by Player's Theatre Company - critically acclaimed community theater
  • Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra - Community orchestra presenting free concerts and offering youth programs
  • RRRecords - Internationally known record label and store
  • Standing Room Only Players - musical review troupe
  • The Gentlemen Songsters The Lowell Chapter of The Barbershop Harmony Society -Causing Harmony In The Merrimack Valley.
  • Lowell Poetry Network - A network of area poets and appreciators of poetry who host readings, receptions, and open mics.
  • U-Mass Lowell Music Performances
  • The United Teen Equality Center A by teens, for teens youth center promoting peace, positivity and empowerment for young people in Lowell.


On April 1, 2006, Lowell held the 2006 World Curling Championships for the men's teams at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell.



Lowell City Council (as of 6/22/12)[35]
  • Patrick O. Murphy (Jan. 2010–present), Mayor
  • Joseph M. Mendonça (July 2007-Jan 2008, Jan. 2010–present), Vice Mayor
  • Rodney M. Elliott (Jan. 1998–present)
  • Edward J. Kennedy, Jr. (Jan. 1978-Jan. 1986, Jan. 2012–present)
  • John Leahy (Sept. 2012–present)
  • Martin E. Lorrey (Jan. 2012–present)
  • William F. Martin (Jan. 2000–present)*
  • Rita M. Mercier (Jan. 1996–present)*
  • Vesna E. Nuon (Jan. 2012–present)

* =former mayor

Lowell has a Plan E form of council-manager government.[36] 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 Patrick Murphy, Vice Chair David Conway, Robert J. Gignac, James Leary, 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 January 2012, the City Manager is Bernard F. Lynch.[37]

Lowell is represented in the Ed Markey, elected in 2013.

Registered Voters and Party Enrollment as of February 15, 2012[38]
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%


Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

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.[39]

Private schools

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

Private grade schools include:[40]

  • 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[41]
  • Franco-American School, est. 1963 (Grades K-8) Teacher/Student Ratio 1:13[42]
  • 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[43]
  • 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[44]
  • 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


Pollard Memorial Library

The first Lowell public library was established in 1844 with 3,500 volumes, and was set up in the rooms of the Old City Hall. About 30 years later the expanding collection was relocated across the street to the Masonic Temple[45] 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.[46][47] 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.[48] The city also, recently expanded the library system to include the Senior Center Branch, located in the City of Lowell Senior Center.[49]

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.[46][50] In fiscal year 2009, Lowell spent 0.35% ($885,377) of its budget on the library—some $8 per person.[51]

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.[52]

Lydon Library

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.[53] Its current collection concentrates on the sciences, engineering, business management, social sciences, humanities, and health.[54]

O'Leary Library

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.[55] Its current collection concentrates on music and art.[54]

Center for Lowell History

The Center for Lowell History is a part of the University of Massachusetts Lowell system, and is located downtown Lowell. Its current collection concentrates on the history of Lowell, the Boston & Maine Railroad, and the history of the University of Massachusetts Lowell.[54]



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.[56] 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.[57]


  • 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



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.[58] 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.[58]

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.


Businesses started and/or products invented in Lowell

Notable people

See List of People from Lowell, Massachusetts

References to Lowell


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)".


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

  • 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.
  • 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.



  • 1997 and 1998, Lowell was a finalist for the All-American City award.[62]
  • 1999, Lowell received an All-American City award.[62]


Further reading

  • Deitch, Joanne Weisman, "The Lowell Mill Girls: Life in the Factory (Perspectives on History Series)" (1998)
  • Denenberg, Barry, "So Far From Home: The Diary of Mary Driscoll, An Irish Mill Girl, Lowell, Massachusetts 1847 (Dear America Series)" (2003)
  • "Women at Work: The Transformation of Work and Community in Lowell, Massachusetts, 1826-1860", Columbia University Press. (1981)
  • Eisler, Benita, "The Lowell Offering: Writings by New England Mill Women (1840-1945)", J.B. Lippincott (1977); Norton (1998)
  • Flanagan, Alice K., "The Lowell Mill Girls", Compass Point Books (2006)
  • Larcom, Lucy, "Among Lowell Mill-Girls: a reminiscence", The Atlantic Monthly, v.XLVIII (48), no.268, November 1881, pp. 593–612.
  • Malone, Patrick M., "Waterpower in Lowell: Engineering and Industry in Nineteenth-Century America", Johns Hopkins Introductory Studies in the History of Technology (2009)
  • Mrozowski, Stephan A.; Ziesing, Grace H.; Beaudry, Mary C., "Living on the Boott: Historical Archaeology at the Boott Mills Boardinghouses, Lowell, Massachusetts", The Lowell Historic Preservation Commission (1996)
  • Savard, Rita, "Three Hard Words: I Need Help: Jobs gone and bills mounting, many more in Greater Lowell seek food aid", The Lowell Sun, January 22, 2010
  • Stanton, Cathy, University of Massachusetts Press. (2006)
  • The Lowell Historical Society, "Lowell: The Mill City (MA) (Postcard History Series)", Arcadia Publishing. (2005)

External links

  • City of Lowell official web site
  • Merrimack Valley Region tourist information
  • newspaper
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell, Center for Lowell History
  • Lowell Online
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