With an estimated 2006 population of just over 203,000, the City of Lowell, a planned urban community built around the Merrimack River, is the fourth largest city in Massachusetts and is considered by many to be the jewel of the Merrimack Valley.
Originally a farming community called East Chelmsford, the city started to grow in the early 1800’s when the textile industry, attracted by the prospect of waterpower, effectively gave birth to the Industrial Revolution in America.
After about a hundred years of industrial prominence, Lowell began a decline when the textile industry moved south. But the city continues to experience a Renaissance that began in the 1970’s, built around education and high-tech industries. Lowell has also become a tourist destination and cultural center, incubated by the Lowell National Historical Park. The restoration of the mill buildings within the Park has spawned other rehabilitation projects for housing and other uses.
Educational and cultural opportunities abound in Lowell. The city is home to the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and Middlesex Community College is nearby. The University houses the Merrimack Repertory Theater and the Lowell Memorial Auditorium hosts a number of concerts each year.
In the summer months, the Park produces the Lowell Summer Music Festival, and the Lowell Folk Festival typically draws over 200,000 attendees. In addition, the city enjoys the rich tradition of ethnic diversity that began over 100 years ago, offering residents a special opportunity to experience cultures from around the world. Lowell is also the home of two professional sports teams, the AHL Lowell Devils and a rookie-league farm team of the Boston Red Sox, the Lowell Spinners.
A new master plan has recently been implemented, designed to foster planned growth for the next two decades and to establish Lowell as a “lifetime city,” where a resident can enjoy a rich full life through every stage of life. In addition, the school district has recently completed nine new schools and completely rehabbed five others. These improvements, plus Lowell’s easy access to Boston both by rail and automobile, make the city a most desirable location for anyone desiring an urban lifestyle.