(Collage images courtesy Lowell Walks Photographer extraordinaire Jen Myers)
Time to get your steps in.
For the fourth year in a row, Lowell Walks will mix Lowell’s unique stories and locales with some light cardiovascular workouts as Dick Howe and the gang return with a new batch of walking tours for the summer of 2018.
Lowell Walks began in 2015 as the brainchild of Middlesex North Register of Deeds, Richard Howe, Jr. Howe has been the leader of tours of the Lowell Cemetery since 2009, offering two different versions in the spring and fall. Having seen the audience for the tour, which was as much about the history of the people as the monuments itself, he decided to expand the historical walks offerings to one every weekend in the summer about a variety of topics. As both an avid walker and local historian–it was a perfect fit. Besides informing participants of interesting facets of Lowell history, the walks promote downtown businesses, create a sense of community among participants, and create momentum to make the city a more walkable place.
The very first Lowell Walk, “Preservation Success Stories with Fred Faust” was held on June 6, 2015.
That first season featured 13 walking tours with themes ranging from Lowell’s Public Art Collection with Paul Marion and Rosemary Noon to Renewing the Acre with Dave Ouellette. Each tour was led by a separate volunteer guide who serve as experts in various fields. Originally organizers would have been happy if a dozen or so onlookers joined in on the experience-but before the summer was over, crowds numbering over 100 became the rule, rather than the exception.
The first season was so successful, it was featured in an exhibit featuring photographs by Jennifer Myers, Roxanne Howe, and others at the Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center the following spring to coincide with the launch of the second season.
Subsequent years saw the return of some favorite tours mixed in with some newcomers. Lowell National Historical Park and Professor Robert Forrant became two of the biggest collaborators with Howe and offered some of their own as Lowell caught walking fever. Night-time walks as well as off-season walks in the spring and fall supplemented the summer offerings.
Over the years, various Lowell Walks have received coverage from various blogs and press outlets. There’s A Lot to Like About … This Blog about Jason Strunk’s 2017 Famous Lowell Fires Walk.
Professor Robert Forrant’s 2017 Abolitionism in Lowell tour set the attendance record with participation from 226 attendees!
The first “official” Lowell Walks tour of 2018 will be on June 23rd when Sean Thibodeau delivers a tour of Lowell City Hall and the Pollard Memorial Library, but Lowell’s walking season begins with the LNHP-sponsored 40th Birthday walk hosted by Christine Bruins this Saturday as part of the park’s 40th anniversary celebration.
This year’s schedule of walking tours by Lowell Walks/Dick Howe and Professor Forrant/LNHP, all Saturdays, all starting at 10 am at Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center at 246 Market Street unless otherwise noted:
June 9, 2018 – Lowell National Park 40th Birthday Walk with Christine Bruins
June 16, 2018 – Abolitionism in Lowell with Bob Forrant
June 23, 2018 – City Hall & Pollard Memorial Library with Sean Thibodeau
June 30, 2018 – Infamous Lowell Crimes with Kerry Regan Jenness & Wayne Jenness
July 7, 2018 – Little Canada with Bob Forrant (1pm)
July 14, 2018 – Downtown Architecture with Steve Stowell (Lowell Historic Board)
July 21, 2018 – Moody Street with Dick Howe & Coalition for a Better Acre
Aug 11, 2018 – Downtown Galleries & Cultural Places with Liz Stewart (COOL)
Aug 18, 2018 – Immigration History with Bob Forrant
Aug 25, 2018 – Hamilton Canal District Update with Claire Ricker (Lowell DPD)
Sept 1, 2018 – Lowell in World War One with Dick Howe
Sept 8, 2018 – Labor History with Bob Forrant (1pm)
Be sure to visit www.richardhowe.com for more information on Lowell Walks