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.
The commemorative booklet published in conjunction with Lowell’s Centennial in 1926 contained brief sketches of some of the city’s most significant buildings. Here’s what was written about Lowell High School:
In preparation for the erection of our new High School building, which was completed and occupied in 1922, all the dwellings on the west side of Kirk street and those on Anne street, the “Orphanage” alone excepted, were demolished.
Beginning at a point two hundred and twenty feet from Merrimack street this new school-house extends northerly four hundred and fifty-six feet to French street. It contains one hundred and forty rooms, is manned by one hundred and five teachers who give instruction to twenty-six hundred pupils. This spacious enlargement also made necessary the demolition of the Kirk Street Congregational meeting-house which had been used as a place of worship since December 17, 1846, on which date it was dedicated.
Between the western line of Anne street and the canal lies the strip of land known as Lucy Larcom Park.
Miss Larcom, in whose honor the park is named, was born in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1826. Coming to Lowell in her girlhood she found employment in the mills and while here was a contributor to a magazine published by a group of mill-girls and called the “Lowell Offering.” Later Miss Larcom achieved fame as a writer of prose and poetry. She died in Boston, April 15, 1893.
A Washington Post article reprinted in yesterday’s Globe reported that the Obama administration and federal regulators are proposing that federally backed mortgages in the future only be granted to borrowers who are able to make a down payment of 20% of the purchase price. With the median US house price of $170,000, that means the new buyer would need $34,000 in cash to contribute to the purchase plus more for the closing costs. Given the economic realities of today, few young people will be able to afford to purchase a home until they are no longer very young. 20% may have been the norm many years ago, but recently down payments in the 5% range have been the norm. While low down payments undoubtedly played their role in our current real estate and financial problems other issues – reckless lending, no underwriting, a lack of regulation – all had much more to do with it and little has been done to remedy those flaws in the system.
The American Civil War began 149 years ago today. The city of Lowell played a prominent role in that conflict so over the next week or so I plan to highlight some key events that occurred on each day back in 1861.
The South Carolina coast is characterized by numerous islands that sit astride the mainland like the border-pieces of a puzzle waiting to be snapped into place. Several of these islands, Sullivan’s and Morris especially, form the shoulders of the nautical gateway into the harbor at Charleston, South Carolina. Since the American Revolution, the northern edge of this opening had been guarded by Fort Moultrie, the southern edge by several smaller forts. But the gap between the fortresses was too large, so in the early 19th Century, the US government built Fort Sumter atop a small pile of rock that sat in the middle of the harbor entrance. Any hostile ship trying to pass between Sumter and Moultrie would be caught in a deadly crossfire.
In the fall of 1860, the Federal fortifications were held by just two companies – less than 100 men – of the US Army, all under the command of Major Robert Anderson. Since the construction of Sumter had never been fully completed and because of its isolation in the middle of the harbor. Anderson and his men occupied Fort Moultrie. But Moultrie was designed to withstand attack from the sea, not from the land, and it would be extremely vulnerable should the South Caroline militia attempt to capture it. Consequently, at Christmas 1860, Anderson snuck his entire force across the harbor entrance, occupying Sumter and abandoning Moultrie, a move that infuriated the local residents.
While Anderson’s move was tactically sound, it also placed a limit on his ability to hold the fort without resupply. By early April, the troops at Fort Sumter were nearly out of food, a situation that compelled both the Lincoln administration and the still-new Confederate government to act.
A former Naval officer from Lowell named Gustavus Fox (who would soon become Assistant Secretary of the Navy) came to Lincoln with a plan to resupply and reinforce the Sumter garrison by sea. In light of the scarcity of military resources – Fox’s fleet consisted primarily of rented civilian vessels and had only 100 Army recruits pulled out of basic training – the odds of success were almost non-existent. read more »
UMass Lowell on Thursday evening will host internationally acclaimed folk artists from Prague in the Czech Republic who are touring New England. “From Southern Bohemia to Mexico” is a joint project of two dance groups, “Motak” and “Dvorana.” The two dance groups are accompanied by music from “Kvitek.”
The performance, free and open to the public, is set for Thusday, April 14, at 7.30 pm, in Durgin Concert Hall at 61 Wilder Street on the UMass Lowell South Campus. Parking is available in the University lot on Wilder Street. This is a program of the Music on the Merrimack Concert Series, sponsored by the UMass Lowell Department of Music and Center for Arts and Ideas.
These undated images provided by the US Postal Service shows forever postage stamps commemorating the first year of the Civil War: the first battle of Bull Run in Virginia, top, and Fort Sumter in South Carolina. The Postal Service released the two new stamps commemorating the first year of the war, 150 years ago. The stamps, which were issued at ceremonies in Charleston, S,C, show the bombardment of Fort Sumter in South Carolina and the first battle of Bull Run in Virginia. Designated “forever” stamps, the two will sell for the current 44-cent first class rate and will remain valid for first class letters regardless of future increases in postage. (AP Photo/USPS)
Fom a AP story through the Gatehouse News Service:
…The Postal Service released two new stamps commemorating the first year of the war, 150 years ago…
From this day forward, these historic images of Fort Sumter and the First Battle of Bull Run will be carried on letters and packages to millions of households and businesses throughout America,” James C. Miller III of the Postal Service board of governors said in a statement dedicating the stamps.
Designated “forever” stamps, the two will sell for the current 44-cent first class rate and will remain valid for first class letters regardless of future increases in postage rates.
The two stamps marking the beginning of the war in 1861 will be followed by additional stamps recalling the anniversaries of major events in the war through 2015.
A very poised and articulate young lady took the podium at the 175th Celebration at Lowell City Hall yesterday afternoon. As fellow-blogger Dick Howe remarked in an earlier post ” the reading of the winning “Lowell Story” essay was a highlight” of the event. Kierstyn Brady and her family agreed that we could post her essay here on the blog. There is a requirement that the Lowell Story be told in 150 words or less.
The boulevard lights flickered on one at a time, dramatically twinkling in the dark water below. As you travel down the almost forlorn walkway, you hear a steady beat in the distance. Closer. The music drowns out the silence of the path behind you.
My hands are steady. A smile is strategically plastered on my face as the dancers in the sparkly blue costumes exit the stage. This is it.
Our pale, angelic dresses flowed behind us as the eight of us sauntered onto the cement platform. Beyond the bubble of silence surrounding us, the audience was restless.
And then we were dancing.
I could feel the music moving through my body, through the crowd, off into the night. But, as soon as it began, our performance came to a close. And so ends the story of a night dancing on the Sampas Pavillion, Lowell.
The separate Lowell story contest open only to Lowell students between the ages of 12 and 18 was an opportunity to win an iTunes gift card. Congratulations to Kierstyn!
The main Lowell Story contest is still open for Community entries until May 11, 2011.
One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive 2 Season Passes to the Lowell Summer Music Series! Plus, three (3) runners up will receive a $50 gift certificate to a Lowell restaurant. Many other entries will be featured online throughout the year.
President Obama at the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 2011 the same day he signed a short-term continuing resolution bill that will keep the federal government operating long enough for Congress to vote on a budget deal reached late Friday.
From the House Appropriations Committee – from Ranking Democrat Rep Norm Dicks regarding H.R.1473 :
“…What we achieved was an imperfect result, to be sure, but it represented a compromise that the President believed was in the best interests of the nation while protecting the highest priorities of his Administration and the Democrats in Congress.
Some examples from the legislation (these examples reflect areas of special interest to me):
• Community Services Block grants are funded at $680 million; $20 million below the enacted level and $285 million above HR1. • Workforce Investment Act job training grants are funded at $2.8 billion; $182 million below the enacted level. No funds were provided in HR1.• Community Development Block grants are funded at $3.5 billion; $950 million below the enacted level and $1.5 billion above HR1.• The Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) nutrition program is funded at $6.7 billion; $243 million above HR1.
• The Maximum Pell Grant award is maintained at $5,550.
• Community Health Centers are funded at $1.6 billion; $600 million below the enacted level and $414 million above HR1.
Check here for the expanded summary of the legislation from the Democratic view. For information from the full Republican-controlled Appropriations Committee report check here.
Of course, this is all “stop-gap” as the Congress is facing a vote on the FY’12 full budget and a likely vote to raise the debt ceiling again. A fiscal policy expert fron the very conservative Heritage Foundation recently noted in an NPR interview: “The middleweight fight is going to be over the 2012 budget resolution. And the heavyweight match will be over the debt limit.”
Bombardment of Fort Sumter (1861) by Currier & Ives.
From History.com – On this day April 12, 1861, the bloodiest four years in American history began when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard open fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection… Four years after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, the Confederacy was defeated at the total cost of 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers dead.”
The men of Lowell, Massachusetts answered the call for volunteers under the leadership of Benjamin Butler. On April 19, the Union’s Sixth Massachusetts Regiment while traveling through Baltimore on the road to Washington, D. C. encountered an angry mob of Southern sympathizers. Luther Ladd, Addison Whitney and Charles Taylor of Lowell along with Sumner Needham of Lawrence lost their lives in the “Baltimore Riot of 1861″ - the first deaths in the American Civil War.
Massachusetts Militia Passing Through Baltimore, an 1861 engraving of the Baltimore riot