The Annual Community Excellence Awards by Lowell National Historical Park and Lowell Heritage Partnership were awarded on May 3rd as part of the annual Park reception at the Boott Cotton Mills Counting House. The reception serves as the kickoff to Doors Open Lowell weekend, which this year coincided with the debut of the new Cox Bridge Lighting Project.
Following opening remarks by LNHP Superintendent Celeste Bernardo, Mayor William Samaras, and Lowell Heritage Partnership president James Ostis, three awards were given out in the categories of cultural heritage (one student entry) and historic preservation.
This year’s award recipients include:
Excellence in Historic Preservation
Jon Rudzinski, for Massachusetts Mills III – Picker Building Project
The preservation of the Picker House in the historic Massachusetts Mills complex reinforces a sense of time, place and development. The Picker House is among the most visible elements of the complex from the vista on the bridge on East Merrimack Street. The adaptive reuse of the complex has created 70 mixed income rental properties meticulously restored to match the city’s historic building standards.
Excellence in Cultural Heritage
Gordon Halm for the African Community Center of Lowell
Gordon Halm has been a fixture in this community since he arrived in Lowell in 1995 from Liberia. In his early years in the city, Halm was actively involved in the former African-American center in Lowell until it closed. Since that time, Halm spent over a decade thinking how to return the center to his adopted city. Gordon hit upon a combination of improving the lives of African immigrants, refugees, and others through educational, social, and cultural iniatives. With a new vision, now in partnership with Community Teamwork, the center has returned to Lowell.
Excellence in Student(s) Cultural Heritage
Kady Phelps and Molly Mahoney for “From the Atlantic Islands to Lowell, Massachusetts: Continuity and Change in the Mill City’s Portuguese Community”
Kady Phelps is an M.A. candidate in history at University of Massachusetts Lowell. Molly Mahoney is a history major graduating in May 2018 from University of Massachusetts Lowell. Together,they researched and curated the exhibit —“From the Atlantic Islands to Lowell, Massachusetts: Continuity and Change in the Mill City’s Portuguese Community”— which consists of a narrative history of Portuguese immigration. The exhibition examines how individuals and families made a living in the mills and later in the manufacturing and high-tech industries, in both instances attaining a measure of the “American Dream” that allowed for improved professional opportunities for their children.