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LOWELL, lō'el. An important manufacturing city, and one of the county-seats of Middlesex County, Mass., 26 miles northwest of Boston; at the junction of the Merrimac and Concord rivers, and on the Boston and Maine and the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroads (Map: Massachusetts, E 2). The city has an area of about 12½ square miles. It is regularly laid out, and offers many points of interest, including the Ladd and Whitney Monument, Fort Hill Park, Pawtucket Falls, Rogers Street stone arch bridge, the city hall, Memorial Building, high school, Saint Anne's Church, and the great industrial establishments. Among the institutions are a State Normal School, the Lowell Textile School, Rogers Hall School, a public library of over 65,000 volumes, Saint John's Hospital, Lowell Hospital, Lowell General Hospital, Old Ladies' Home, Ayer Home for Young Women and Children, and the Theodore Edson Orphanage.

Lowell is one of the greatest textile manufacturing cities in the United States. It derives immense water-power from the falls of the Merrimac River (32 feet), and that afforded by the Concord is also utilized by several mills, though steam is largely employed in many important plants. The textile establishments include cotton, woolen, worsted, knitting, hosiery, felt, and carpet mills, and bleaching and dyeing works. Other extensive manufactures are cartridges, machinery, various kinds of tools, and patent medicines. The government is vested in a mayor, annually elected, who appoints the board of police and, with the consent of the council, the board of health, library and cemetery trustees, and registrars of voters; and a bicameral council which controls elections of all other administrative officials except the chief of department of supplies, school committee, and overseers of the poor, all of whom are chosen by popular election. Lowell spends annually, in maintenance and operation, over $1,300,000, the principal items of expenditure being about $325,000 for schools, $135,000 for the police department, $120,000 for hospitals, asylums, almshouses, etc., $115,000 for the fire department, and $85,000 each for municipal lighting and for the water-works. The city owns and operates the water-works, which were built in 1873 at a cost of over $2,850,000, the entire system now comprising 128 miles of mains. Population, in 1830, 6474; in 1850, 33,383; in 1870, 40,928; in 1880, 59,475; in 1890, 77,696; in 1900, 94,969, including 40,974 persons of foreign birth and 136 of negro descent.

Lowell was founded by the ‘Merrimac Manufacturing Company’ in 1822, and named after Francis C. Lowell (q.v.). The village grew very rapidly from the first. In 1820 it was incorporated as a town and ten years later was chartered as a city. Consult: Illustrated History of Lowell, Massachusetts (Lowell, 1897); Drake, History of Middlesex County (Boston, 1880).