Happy Birthday Lowell National Historical Park!

Today marks a very special anniversary.  On June 5th, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the congressional legislation which established Lowell National Historical Park.


Senator Edward Kennedy, President Jimmy Carter, and Senator Paul Tsongas, June 5, 1978

MillPowerThe creation of the park marked an important turning point in the history of Lowell, as captured in Paul Marion‘s Mill Power: The Origin and Impact of Lowell National Historical Park, which follows the history of the park from its early Educative City conceptual phase to its modern role as a key institution in the city.

Lowell National Historical Park consists of several restored mill buildings, boarding houses, gatehouses, canals, and a wide variety of other testaments to the city’s significant place in the story of America’s Industrial Revolution.  While only some of the buildings are owned and operated by the park, virtually all of the downtown area was revitalized through private and public investment because of the park’s establishment.  A motto that has lived on over the course of the past 40 years holds that “the park is the city and the city is the park.”

Some key buildings and landmarks within the park:

A few of the familiar faces over the years at Lowell National Historical Park:

Through collaborations with the Lowell Folk Festival, Public Matters, Angkor Dance Troupe, Lowell Heritage Partnership, and a long list of others, Lowell National Historical Park has truly lived up to its reputation as the “partnership park.”

LNHP Partnerships and Collaborations:

Lowell National Historical Park will mark its 40th anniversary with a weekend full of celebration events.


At 10:00 am on Saturday, LNHP rangers will lead a walking tour “Forty Years of Preservation with Lowell NHP.” Since the creation of Lowell National Historical Park in 1978, nearly 98% of 5.3 million square feet of former mill space in the Downtown Lowell Historic District has been rehabilitated for a variety of uses. Guests will discover how several mills have been converted into new uses including office, retail, institutional, and residential on this walking tour. Immediately following the tour, there will be a cake cutting ceremony at the Lowell National Historical Park visitor center.  A second walking tour of the Acre neighborhood begins at 1:00 p.m.


Saturday’s tours kick off the summer season of Lowell Walks (photo: Jen Myers)

DSC_0444From 11:15 until 4:30, guests will get rare opportunity to see the inside of the Swamp Locks gatehouse, one of the vital water control structures along the Pawtucket Canal. Visitors can check out the lock chamber that moves boats from the upper Pawtucket Canal down 15 feet to the lower Pawtucket and the Industrial Canyon. The current gatehouse is a reconstruction of the building built in 1859.  This is a great behind the scenes opportunity for those who may have missed it during Doors Open Lowell. 

Finally, two different types of boat tours will be offered including a 90 minute Working the Water Boat Tour, and free offerings of the traditional boat tours.



Mayor William Samaras and LNHP Superintendent Celeste Bernardo

In recognition of this milestone anniversary, Mayor William Samaras has issued a proclamation naming June 5th, 2018 as Lowell National Historical Park Day in the City of Lowell.

Whereas, The legislation establishing Lowell National Historical Park was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter 40 years ago on June 5th, 1978, creating a first of its kind historical park commemorating the unique and singularly significant role Lowell played in America’s Industrial Revolution as the first planned industrial city in the United States; and

Whereas, For 40 years, Lowell National Historical Park has made a positive impact on the City of Lowell, drawing in hundreds of thousands of visitors, attracting public and private investment in the revitalization of the city core, and improving the quality of life for all Lowellians—in the words of Dr. Patrick Mogan, making Lowell “a good address again”; and

Whereas, The relationship between the City of Lowell and Lowell National Historical Park is a national model of partnership and collaboration, holding true the famous motto: “The City is the Park and the Park is the City.”

Therefore, I, William J. Samaras, Mayor of the City of Lowell, Massachusetts, do hereby proclaim June 5, 2018 as: “LOWELL NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK DAY” in the City of Lowell, and urge all citizens to participate in the celebration.

1 thought on “Happy Birthday Lowell National Historical Park!

  1. Pingback: 2018 in Review | Return to Room 50

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