Lowell National Historic Park
While industrial development on the Blackstone River was based on rural mills around which mill villages developed, Lowell was an industrial city planned on a grand scale. Inspired by the success of their first textile mill in Waltham, Massachusetts, the Boston Manufacturing Company established Lowell in 1822. Kirt Boott, an engineer, architect and planner, laid out the streets and oversaw construction of the canals, mills, locks, and other buildings. By the 1846, ten mill complexes were in operation in Lowell. With 300,000 spindles and 10,000 looms, Lowell's mills transformed raw cotton into one million yards of cotton cloth per week.
While early mills in the Blackstone River Valley utilized child labor, most of the workers in Lowell's early mills were single women from area farms where economic opportunities were limited. Lowell's mills offered cash wages and accommodations in corporate boarding houses. By the latter half of the nineteenth century, immigrants had replaced young women as the major source of labor in Lowell, just as they had in Woonsocket.
Lowell National Historical Park preserves and interprets the history of the American Industrial Revolution in Lowell, Massachusetts. Begin your visit at the Market Mills in the Lowell National Historic Park Visitor Center where you can get information on the park's many exhibits and attractions. Along the way, be sure to visit the Boott Cotton Mills Museum which includes an operating weave room along with many interactive exhibits and displays about the Industrial Revolution.