A new history book about Lowell by Richard P. Howe Jr and Chaim Rosenberg to be published on March 11, 2013. To order a copy and to learn about local readings and book signings, check out our Legendary Locals of Lowell page.
It’s only midway through the Golden Globe Awards and “The Fighter” has already won two major awards, Christian Bale won Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Dickie Ecklund, and Melissa Leo won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Alice Ward. Below is Bale’s award, captured from the TV as it happened:
UPDATE: Here’s Nancye Tuttle’s reaction to the Golden Globes and this article in the Herald, while titled “Boston Strikes Gold”, does acknowledge Lowell’s place in the awards ceremony. And the Christian Bale video I included above already has 3862 views on my YouTube page which I find bizarre but also evidence of the power and reach of Hollywood.
From Nanyce Tuttle’s 2004 Lowell Sun interview with “Local Hero” Lura Smith:
Each year, the biggest and best day in Lura Smith’s busy life is Martin Luther King Day.
It’s the day that Smith, the elegant, effervescent assistant to Middlesex Community College President Carole Cowan, plans for all year long – a time for her and her family to host an ever-growing group of family and friends at a joyous, inspirational, heartwarming celebration of the life of the late, great civil rights leader, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Back in the spring of 1996 I didn’t spend much time in my office at the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds within the Superior Courthouse on Gorham Street in Lowell. It was too noisy and dusty. Contractors were demolishing the once-stately St Peter’s Church which had been located directly across the street.
A variety of factors in the last quarter of the Twentieth Century caused the Archdiocese of Boston to close St Peter’s Parish and the church stood vacant for years. Unfortunately, the upkeep of the building was seriously neglected. Those familiar with St Peter’s might be shocked to learn the church was not made of granite. The structure itself was red brick encased in a thin granite veneer. Because the roof was not kept in good repair, water infiltrated down between the brick and granite layers and when it froze, it pushed the granite away from the brick. Eventually, a couple of granite blocks, thin by building material standards but still heavy enough to do serious damage, cascaded down to the street below. The city closed Gorham Street in front of the church and tearing down the church became a public safety necessity.
While I welcome the coming construction of a new judicial center in Lowell, I fear that the court’s movement out of the Gorham Street courthouse will sentence that building to the same fate as St. Peter’s – what I call “demolition by neglect.” And so when an opportunity arose last week to conduct a tour of the building for a Lowell Sun reporter and others, I was happy to oblige. The resulting story in today’s paper will hopefully bring much needed attention to the future of the courthouse.
Like any other Nineteenth Century building that’s to be adapted for Twenty-First Century use, the Superior Courthouse presents challenges. It is in fact two different buildings. The red brick one to the rear was constructed in 1848 right along Gorham Street. When a bigger courthouse was needed, the original structure was moved sixty feet backward to its present location and the limestone, Greek Revival structure opened on Gorham Street in 1898. The architecture both inside and out is amazing and there is a huge amount of room, much of it tucked away in upper floors and in the basement. It’s location is a definite plus – it’s just off the highway, a ten minute walk from the train station, and not much farther from the Hamilton Canal District and downtown Lowell.
I’m not sure what future use would work best for the courthouse. The Registry of Deeds could easily stay right where it is but we’re also fully prepared to move into new quarters when the Trial Court departs. Over the past ten years we’ve scanned all 10 million pages of documents at the registry, so our space needs are much diminished and our operational requirements are much more flexible in the electronic age than they were in the paper era. What I do know is that if we wait until the courthouse becomes vacant to start discussing it’s future uses, the wrecking ball won’t be far behind. To avoid that fate for the building, the conversation should begin now.
More than 60 people, including three Lawrence city councilors and two representatives from US Rep. Niki Tsongas’s office, yesterday gathered in Lawrence to start planning in earnest the 2012 Bread & Roses Strike Centennial Project. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Massie – Candidate for the US Senate in Massachusetts
Democratic activists and political junkies of a certain age (like me) will have little trouble remembering Bob Massie – the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor in 1994 – others not-so-much! Seeing a notice that Bob Massie was the guest speaker at an upcoming Concord Democratic Town Committee meeting should have been an “alert” to what Renee Loth reveals in her Globe article today. Bob Massie is the first declared candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U. S. Senate in 2012! Massie has an impressive resume and quite a story to tell. And after all – isn’t that what boosts so many would-be candidates into the limelight? His story and this candidacy has legs. As the nomination process rolls out and we get closer to the June 2011 Massachusetts Democratic Party convention at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, expect to see and hear a lot more from Bob Massie. Who else will step into this political limelight? A year out from the nomination endorsement vote – Lowell will be a hot political spot on June 3rd and 4th. Stay tuned.
In today’s edition – the Boston Globe continues its series on the reviatlization of mid-sized cities in the Commonwealth. The focus of today’s article is “reclaiming the center - midsize cities rediscover theallure of downtowns, attracting millions to transform them into 24-hour neighborhoods of businesses and homes.” It’s no surprise that Lowell and its current and on-going development and redevelopment activities are an important part of the tale.
“Downtown remains the one part of the city that belongs to everybody,’’ said Adam Baacke, director of planning and development in Lowell. “The success of a downtown reflects positively on the city as a whole, and we think the project here will have a transformative impact.’’
Lowell’s revitalization efforts stretch back more than 30 years, to the creation of the Lowell National Historical Park. Over the decades, they have included everything from a corporate training center to an arts district to loan programs for retailers and restaurants. The latest redevelopment effort, along a canal once used to power textile mills, involves construction of up to 725 homes, 424,000 square feet of commercial space, and 55,000 square feet of stores and restaurants.
It will remake about 15 acres of the city’s downtown, with many of the new structures reflecting the style of the historic mill buildings that still dominate the area.
Developer Trinity Financial Inc. of Boston is nearing completion of its first new building, a 130-unit apartment complex marketed as affordable live-work space for artists. Next is a 50,000-square-foot office complex, plus two more residential buildings. As with any development, however, the pace of the work will be dictated by the economy, which in recent years has made it difficult for developers to find businesses to fill new offices, and people to buy homes.
The cities of Worcester, Quincy, Springfield and New Bedford all have “center city” projects in the works. Read the rest of the Globe article here.
I joined the 500 million member club called Facebook after delaying for a long time because it looked to me like another form of media to keep up with. When I was a kid, my family was late getting a color TV, so maybe there’s a pattern. However, my first week has been an adventure of learning how to use a new tool, connecting with far-flung people whom I know, and starting to use it for communication.
Overall, it feels like I’m at a virtual amusement park with a whirling social merry-go-round in the middle, the News Feed. When to jump off and on? The biggest surprise was finding out that my 80-something uncle from Centralville has a page. He listed me in the family category. I got a vintage Yardbirds music video clip from poet Joe Donahue. Corey Sciuto and I traded messages and did a little business. My son posted a doctored photo image on my Wall. I began adding content to my pages. Music was easy. Write the name of the performer, and a picture pops up. I discovered that my college-teaching brother in Virginia has a page—never would have guessed that. I easily reached the number for friends that is about average, according to FB statistics, about 130.
I learned from a few people that FB is old enough to have lost some people for various reasons: too time consuming, somewhat susceptible to hacking, and can lull users into letting their guards down regarding mail with infected attachments. So far, it’s like traveling to a new place. I’ll see how it goes.
That’s me with a bronze John Lennon in Liverpool in 2009.