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Lowell is a city in Middlesex Countymarker, Massachusettsmarker, USAmarker. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 105,167. It is the fifth largest city in the state. It and Cambridgemarker are the county seats of Middlesex Countymarker.


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

Founded as a planned manufacturing center for textiles along the Merrimack River northwest of Bostonmarker on land sectioned from neighboring Chelmsfordmarker, it was a thriving industrial center during the 19th century, attracting many immigrants and migrant workers to its mills. With the decline of its manufacturing in the 20th century, the city fell into deep hard times but has begun to rebound in recent decades. The former mill district along the river is partially restored and is a part of the Lowell National Historical Parkmarker.


Lowell is located at (42.639444, -71.314722). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.5 square miles (37.7 km²).13.8 square miles (35.7 km²) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.0 km²) of it (5.23%) is water.


Lowell is located at the confluence of the Merrimack and Concord Rivers. The Pawtucket Fallsmarker, a mile-long set of rapids with a total loss 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 Hampshiremarker to Lowell, makes a northeasterly turn there before emptying into the Atlantic Oceanmarker at Newburyport, Massachusettsmarker, 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 Bostonmarker. The glacial deposits that redirected the flow of the river are also responsible for 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.

The Concord, or Musketaquid (its original name), forms from the confluence of the Assabet and Sudbury Rivers at Concord, Massachusettsmarker. 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 Brookmarker 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 Connectormarker was built along it. Both of these minor streams have limited industrial histories as well.


Lowell has 5 zip codes, 4 are geographically distinct general zip codes and 1 is for PO-boxes only (01853).

The zip code 01850 is the northeastern section of the city, north of the Merrimack River and east of Beaver Brookmarker. This area is known as Centralville. Christian Hill is located here in the area east of Bridge Street. Lower Centralville refers to the section closest to the Merrimack River.

Lowell's canal system (1975)

The zip code 01851 is the southwestern section of the city, bordered to the east by the Lowell Connector and to the north by the railroad. This area is commonly referred to as the Lowell Highlands. The Lower Highlands refers to the portion of this area closest to downtown. Middlesex Village, Tyler Park and Drum Hill are in this zip code.

The zip code 01852 is the southeastern section of the city. It is south of the Merrimack River and bordered to the west by the Lowell Connector, towards the south. This zip code includes Lowell's city offices, downtown, Belvidere, Back Central and South Lowell. 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 an Historic District along Fairmount St. Lower Belvidere refers to the section west of Nesmith Street. Back Central is an urban area south of downtown towards 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 their use is mostly antiquated.

The zip code 01854 is the northwestern portion of the city and includes Pawtucketville, the University of Massachusetts, Lowellmarker and the Acre. Pawtucketville is where famous writer Jack Kerouac resided around the area of University Ave (previously known as Moody st.). North campus of UMASS Lowell is located in Pawtucketville. The older parts of the neighborhood are located around University Ave. and Mammoth Road whereas the newer parts are located around Varnum Ave. Middle and elementary schools for this area include Wang Middle School, Pawtucketville Memorial, Mccavinue elementary school and private school St. Jeanne D'arc.

The bordering towns (clockwise from north) are Dracutmarker, Tewksburymarker, Billericamarker, Chelmsfordmarker, and Tyngsboromarker. 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 Billericamarker, Chelmsfordmarker, Dracutmarker, Dunstablemarker, Grotonmarker, Lowell, Pepperellmarker, Tewksburymarker, Tyngsboromarker, and Westfordmarker, and Pelham, NHmarker. See Greater Lowell.

Lowell received an "All-America City" award in 1999, and was a finalist in 1997 and 1998.[17965]


As of the census of 2000, there were 105,167 people, 37,887 households, and 23,982 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,635.6 people per square mile (2,948.8/km²). There were 39,468 housing units at an average density of 2,865.5/sq mi (1,106.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 68.60% White, 16.52% Asian American, 4.21% African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 6.48% from other races, and 3.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.01% of the population. Lowell is home to the second largest Cambodian population in the United States after Long Beach, Californiamarker. Lowell had the highest percentage of Cambodians of any place in the United States, with 10.37% of its population being Cambodian. There are an estimated 11,000 Cambodiansmarker living in the city of Lowell, but local community leaders estimate the number to be around 35,000 [17966].

There were 37,887 households out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.1% were married couples living together, 17.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.35.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 11.9% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 17.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 97.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,192, and the median income for a family was $45,901. Males had a median income of $33,554 versus $27,399 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,557. About 13.6% of families and 16.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.2% of those under age 18 and 14.0% of those age 65 or over.


Lowell City Council 2008-2009
  • Edward C. Caulfield, Mayor
  • Rita M. Mercier, Vice Mayor
  • Kevin P. Broderick
  • Rodney M. Elliott
  • Alan W. Kazanjian
  • Michael J. Lenzi
  • William F. Martin
  • Armand P. Mercier
  • James L. Milinazzo

Lowell has a "Plan E form" Council-manager government. 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, serves as the seventh member of the school committee, and performs certain ceremonial duties. 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 2008, the City Manager is Bernard F. Lynch and Edward "Bud" Caulfield is the Mayor.

Lowell City Hall
The city of Lowell is primarily policed and protected by the Lowell Police Department and secondarily by the Massachusetts State Police.

As of August 2005, Lowell was part of one Massachusetts Senate district.

State Representatives

First Middlesex, represented by Steven C. Panagiotakos (D)) and three Massachusetts Representative Districts(Sixteenth Middlesex, represented by Thomas A. Golden,Jr.(D),Seventeenth Middlesex, represented by David M. Nangle (D),and Eighteenth Middlesex, represented by Kevin J. Murphy (D)). It is part of the Fifth Massachusetts Congressional District, represented by Niki Tsongas (D), as well as the Third Governor's Council District represented by Marilyn Petitto Devaney.


Lowell can be reached by automobile from Interstate 495, US Route 3, the Lowell Connectormarker, and Massachusetts Routes 3A, 38, 110, 113, and 133.

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 Terminalmarker to the Lowell Line of the MBTA commuter rail system, which connects Lowell to Bostonmarker. The terminal is also served by several intercity bus lines.

The Lowell National Historical Parkmarker 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.




  • WCAPmarker AM 980, talk radio
  • WUMLmarker FM 91.5, UMass Lowell-owned station

Points of interest

The Boott Mill complex now converted to a museum.



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


LeLacheur Park

Annual events

Businesses started and/or products invented in Lowell



Public schools

High School

Grades 5-8

  • Benjamin F.marker Butler Middle Schoolmarker
  • Dr. An Wang Middle School
  • E.N. Rogers Middle School (now closed in the end of the 2009 school year.)
  • H.J. Robinson Middle School
  • James S. Daley Middle School
  • Kathryn P. Stoklosa Middle School
  • James F. Sullivan Middle School of Communications

Grades K-8

  • J. G. Pyne Arts Magnet
Bartlett Community Partnership School

Grades K-4

  • Abraham Lincoln Elementary School
  • Charlotte M. Murkland Elementary School
  • Greenhalge Elementary School
  • Pawtucketville Memorial Elementary School
  • S. Christa McAuliffe Elementary School
  • John J. Shaughnessy Elementary School
  • Washington Elementary School
  • C.W. Morey Elementary School
  • Dr. Gertrude M. Bailey Elementary School
  • Joseph A. McAvinnue Elementary School
  • Moody Elementary School
  • Peter W. Reilly Elementary School

Private schools

  • Lowell Catholic High Schoolmarker
  • Hellenic American Academy
  • Franco-American School
  • St. Louis School
  • Ste. Jeanne D'Arc School
  • St. Margaret School
  • St. Patrick School
  • St. Michael Elementary School
  • Immaculate Conception School

Higher education

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.


Lowell has also been the subject of a number of novels. Some of the better known ones are:
Memorial stone of Jack Kerouac in Lowell, Mass. (USA)
  • 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 nineteenth 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.
  • Lloyd L. Corricelli's Two Redheads & A Dead Blonde, a mystery novel which follows Iraqi war veteran and private investigator Ronan Marino's quest to find his girlfriend's murderer.


Notable residents


  1. Cambodian ancestry by city - ePodunk
  2. Tuttle, Nancye, "Cambodian art, a New England tradition", The Lowell Sun, May 15, 2008.

External links

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