The Power of Preservation
The Mill City.
Lowell’s nickname only tells part of the story. Yes, the physical structures—the majestic, imposing brick giants built by Appleton, Boott, Jackson and crew—and preserving them—are a key piece of the city’s story, but not all of it.
There is what lured investors to build America’s first planned industrial city—the 36-foot drop of the Pawtucket Falls on the Merrimack River and its energy-producing potential. There is the canal system built to run the factories around which the city was born. There is the wildlife—the herons and bald eagles, deer and beaver that continue to inhabit the now-urban scene.
And most importantly there are the people. From the Yankee farm girls and Irish immigrants who worked in the mills, dug the canals, and formed a community in the mid-1800’s to those who have followed them to Lowell through its ups and downs: immigrants from French Canada, all parts of Europe, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, Africa, and elsewhere who may not have any family connection to those who worked in the mills and built the city, but have added their patch of fabric to its ever-growing quilt.
Since its inception in 2000, The Lowell Heritage Partnership (LHP), a coalition of representatives from nearly two dozen organizations, has held true to its vision: to preserve and enhance Lowell's natural, built, and cultural heritage through community partnership. It serves as a facilitator of community conversations, one bridge between Lowell National Historical Park (LNHP) and the community, and a keeper of the past with one eye on the future, helping to mold the next generation of leaders to continue acting as stewards of the city’s rich architectural, natural and cultural heritage.
A blend of the values and activism of many of the community organizations that preceded it, the LHP carries the torch lit by visionaries like Paul Tsongas, Patrick J. Mogan, Lydia Howard, Brendan Fleming, Lillian Lamoureux, and Peter Stamas who believed in Lowell’s potential when it was at its lowest point and fought to preserve its story while building its future, even when people thought they were crazy.