Lowell Ethnic Neighborhoods
Lowell has a number of neighborhoods, as I previously posted. While I can geographically distinguish what is, say the Highlands from the Acre, it is more difficult to know what ethnic enclaves exist in the city. But what is perhaps even more fascinating is where ethnic groups primarily resides in previous generations. I just found this map that begins to tell a little of the story.
Though the article it came from is old and relatively uninformative, I think I’ll have to spend the next few weekends visiting these areas and seeing what remains of these enclaves. As two examples off the top of my head: 1) the Portuguese location in Back Central (labeled Chapel Hill on this map) today contains a delicious restaurant Cavaliero’s, a Portuguese/Brazilian restaurant; and 2) Little Canada is near the location of Jean D’Arc Credit Union (which is itself atop the remains of the Tremont Mills, which is the subject of a future post).
Stained glass at Pollard Memorial Library
An interesting aspect of the Northeast — at least for me, coming from smaller Midwest towns — is the concept of named neighborhoods wrapped up within a city. Lowell is no different, with a number of larger regions demarcated on the map below.
Many of the regions are delineated via waterways, followed by railroads, and lastly by streets. Centralville and Pawtucketville are on the north edge of the Merrimack River, yet are separated by Beaver Brook, a small stream that flows from New Hampshire. The Acre is bounded by the Merrimack on the north edge and the Pawtucket Canal on the southern with the addition of the spit of land west of the canal and above the railroad; this roughly corresponds with the South Campus of UMass Lowell. Its eastern boundary, shared with Downtown, is the historic Dutton St and its more modern-day extension Arcand Dr.
Though Wikipedia (and Google maps) asserts the eastern edge of the Highlands corresponds to the Lowell Connector, I suspect that the demarcation between it and South Lowell originally corresponded to River Meadow Brook, alongside which the modern Lowell Connector was placed. (I should note that nowadays, the Lowell Connector is a rational boundary between these neighborhoods, as it physically disconnects them.)
Belvidere and South Lowell are east of the Concord River, with Belvidere sandwiched between the Merrimack River on the north and the Lowell and Lawrence Railroad on the south.
The remainder consists of downtown, which primarily corresponds to the present-day National Park, and is separated from Back Central by Appleton St. To round it out, Back Central’s southern edge is defined by River Meadow Brook and the Concord River.
Later posts will further explore these neighborhoods.
Boott Mills: vertical view from the 114 John entrance to the Tsongas Industrial History Center
Only 2 weeks until the first show of the summer music series!