Mill City residents’ pockets might be a little heavier come next February…as Lowellians trade in their bills for coins to celebrate the launch of the Lowell National Historical Park quarter as part of the U.S. Mint’s America the Beautiful Series.
The design of the 2019 series (including Lowell’s) was unveiled at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia earlier this afternoon.
The winning design “depicts a mill girl working at a power loom with its prominent circular bobbin battery. A view of Lowell, including the Boott Mill clock tower, is seen through the window,” according to a press release from the U.S. Mint.
As noted in a press release by LNHP, “The Lowell quarter design was created by stamp, coin, and medal artist Joel Iskowitz, who has worked with the Mint on over 50 coin designs, including three others in the America the Beautiful series.”
The America the Beautiful Series features designs emblematic of a national park or other national site in each state, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. The series began in 2009 following the 50 State Quarter series that ran from 1999-2008. National Park quarters are released in the order of the park’s establishment, and Lowell (which just celebrated its 40th anniversary this past June) is the 46th in the series that began with Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas (founded in 1832). The series will conclude in 2021 with Alabama’s Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.
Other quarters to be released in the 2019 series include American Memorial Park (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), War in the Pacific National Historical Park (Guam), San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (Texas), and Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness (Idaho).
The obverse (front) of all the coins depicts George Washington in a restored version of the original portrait used for the 1932 Washington quarter.
The Mint describes LNHP on the America the Beautiful Quarter series website as follows:
Lowell National Historical Park preserves and interprets the role of Lowell, MA, in the Industrial Revolution, archiving the history of the human story in addition to the industry processes and cultural environment of the time. The era was also defined in part by the “Mill Girls,” young women who were recruited to work in the mills where they earned cash wages and lived in supervised, company-owned boarding houses. They became an important voice for labor by advocating for better working conditions, supporting abolition, and embracing education.
Lowell’s selection was not without a little controversy as the Commonwealth originally appeared to pick the Gloucester Fisherman Memorial through an online vote held in 2009. However the U.S. Treasury ruled that the city owned Fisherman statue was not eligible for the quarter series highlighting national parks so Lowell, which finished second the Massachusetts online vote, was chosen as the state’s representative.
Since then its been a long ten year wait for Lowell’s shining (copper-nickel) moment. The hype for the coin built up around the time of Community Excellence Awards this spring but those in the know remained tight-lipped on the final design in anticipation of today’s announcement in Philadelphia. A local event in Lowell to celebrate the designation will come as the release approaches early next year.
The Lowell National Historical Park quarter will officially be released on February 4th, 2019.