– Lowell Politics and History

  • 5am Tuesday Jan 27 2014

    Blizzard of ‘15

    At 6:30 am on Monday, it’s 8 degrees and cloudy in Lowell.  By this time yesterday, the National Weather Service had already issued a blizzard watch for eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island (since upgraded to a blizzard warning). Just moments ago, Matt Noyes on New England Cable News just said…

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Merrimack Valley Poet Robert Frost Remembered

This is a post from our colleague Tony from last year noting the anniversary of the death of Robert Frost who died on January 29, 1963. Today there is an interesting story in the Andover Townsman about Frost’s visit to Phillips Academy in 1960. Celebrate the genius of this Merrimack Valley four-time Pulitzer Prize winning poet! Link to the Townsman and here from the archive:

Robert Frost Dies January 29, 1963

January 29, 2014 by Tony Posted in CulturePoetry 2Comments

On January 29, 1963,  Robert Frost, my favorite poet died.  Many years ago, in a 9th grade Literature class, a football coach/English Teacher “forced” me to memorize one of his poems ….I thank that man even today,  since the poem has been my favorites ever since.  I hope you enjoy it too:

Stopping by a Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Niki Tsongas Gets Ranking Position on Powerful House Committee

With two national parks – Minuteman National Park and Lowell National Historical Park – in her Third District – getting this appointment as the highest ranking Democrat on the  House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands is a coup for Congresswoman Niki Tsongas and for her constituents. As announced today by her office today, she was elected to his position by her colleagues.

Tsongas named highest ranking Democratic member on Natural Resources subcommittee


WASHINGTON, DC – January 28, 2015 – Congresswoman Niki Tsongas has been named the highest ranking Democratic member on the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands. Tsongas was elected to the position by her colleagues.


The Subcommittee on Federal Lands, (which was previously called Public Lands and Environmental Regulation), is responsible for all matters related to the National Park System, U.S. Forests, public lands and national monuments. This leadership position will allow Tsongas a platform to continue and expand her work in multiple areas important to the district she represents and to the country as a whole. The Third District of Massachusetts is home to several national historic and wildlife areas, such as Minuteman National Park and Lowell National Historic Park.


“The Third District of Massachusetts is home to some of the most cherished conservation land and historic areas in New England,” said Congresswoman Tsongas. “We have a long-standing practice in the Commonwealth of preserving natural habitats and protecting open spaces for public benefit, and I will draw from that tradition as I take on this leadership role. I am honored to have earned the respect of my colleagues and look forward to using this opportunity to work across the aisle for the preservation and growth of all the diverse, beautiful and historic lands spread across our great nation.” 


In addition to leading the Federal Lands Subcommittee, Tsongas will also continue serving as member of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

Internet in Lowell: Stone Age

In April 1998, UMass Lowell hosted what I believe was the first public forum to discuss what the web could or would do in the city. The event was billed as a town meeting and featured guest speakers, a panel discussion, a demonstration of a new online cultural magazine called “The Bridge Review,” and more. I scanned these two documents from one of my notebooks. I had forgotten that we had so many people talking about the new communications tool. One of the new ventures was something we called the Flowering City Forum, which was intended to be a web-based community network for the exchange of information, ideas, and creative expression. The name referred to the Flowering City planning project going at about the same time, which was an effort to improve the city’s natural environment. Another early venture was Charlie Nikitopoulos’s virtual exhibit, “Acropolis of America: The Greek Community of Lowell, 1930-1940.” There were four lead people on the Flowering City Forum project. In addition to Charlie and me, there were his Psychology Dept. faculty colleague Dave Landrigan, who was very knowledgeable about computer hardware and software because he was using these in his research, and Clementine Alexis of Lowell, then on the board of directors of the Human Services Corporation. At the time, she and I were fellows in the Building Communities Through Culture program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, which awarded us a seed grant for the project. HSC also provided start-up money. For easier reading, click on each document to enlarge it.

web forum 1998

web forum 98 2



‘Walking Home for Supper’

I lived in Pawtucketville for several years, from the late 1970s to early ’80s. I often write in response to a place or to make sense of a place, and that neighborhood was no different. I lived on the top floor of an old triple-decker, a sea-green block on a cross street on the down slope of University Avenue near the Dracut town line. Here are a couple of winter poems from those days. I used to walk to work in Cumnock Hall at the University during my first time around on campus, before leaving to help develop the national park. The first poem with its colors is an allusion to the short poem “Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock” by Wallace Stevens (1879–1955). I was reading a lot of “imagist” poems back then. The first one was published in Yankee magazine in 1996, and the other one appeared in my second book, “Middle Distance,” (1989). —PM


Walking Home for Supper


Geranium sky crowns tenement roofs.

Sub shops send cheese-steak smoke signals.

Thin light glazes buildings.

Wintry blue erases the pink clouds.

White house with a gold door.

Gray house trimmed white.

Green door on a yellow house.

Red door for the pet shop.

Bells tied to a market door.

Homeward drivers guide cars

Up the snow-packed hill,

Headlights steady on.


214 Sixth Avenue


Bright snow at midnight in the shut-down neighborhood,

Mute homes of folks I can’t name, although

The storm made it clear, filling every open space,

That we’re on top of each other in the many-storied blocks,

Tied to black power lines and banked with monster drifts,

Which the twirling amber lamp of a truck-plow

Turns gold when the chains clank past.


—Paul Marion (c) 1989, 1996, 2014

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The Blizzard of ’78

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