The growing demands for cheap labor for the mills, and an ever burgeoning population of immigrant workers placed heavy demands on the early “Mill City”. Large numbers of Canadian French immigrants formed “Little Canada”, a housing community adjacent to the mill complexes near downtown Lowell. As the population grew, the French community extended across the Merrimack River into what is now Pawtucketville. Though predominantly French at the start, Pawtucketville grew in diversity as the waves of immigrants arrived to take up their positions in the workforce.
Pawtucketville is bounded by the Merrimack River, the Dracut town line, the Tyngsboro town line, and Beaver Brook (the gray area in the upper left area of the map below). Within walking distance to the mill complexes, Pawtucketville was one of the communities ideally situated for working class families.
Pawtucketville has grown over time to reflect the values and traditions of it’s population. The concentration of both public and private schools, and the influence of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell continues to reinforce the importance of education in our community.
The City of Lowell (formerly East Chelmsford) was incorporated in 1826 to better serve it’s growing population. The city was named after one of it’s most renowned industrialists, Francis Cabot Lowell, who along with a number of other industrialists, recognized the potential of Pawtucket Falls as a cheap source of power for manufacturing. It was during the middle to late 1800′s that the vision of the “Mill City” was realized.
Equally as important as the capital and vision brought by the industrialists was the contribution of the immigrant population. Early Irish immigrants, many arriving following the great Irish Famine, were the canal diggers, and early construction workers. In the years following the American Civil War (1860′s), economic hardships in the Canadian Province of Quebec, brought French immigrants to Lowell to work in the various mills. Immigration continued through the early 1900′s with Polish, Greek, and others, all contributing to and sharing in the successes and hardships which are now the historic past of Lowell.
If you would like more historical information on the City of Lowell, you can visit the Lowell Historical Society or Lowell National Park web pages. Additionally, the Pollard Memorial Library located adjacent to Lowell City Hall has a number of historical texts detailing early Lowell history. Among these are:
- “Lowell, The Story of an Industrial City”, The Official National Park Handbook
- “The Continuing Revolution”, A History of Lowell, MA, Edited by Robert Weible
- “The Bend in the River”, John Pendergast