Timeline of Lowell History
c. 1600: Passaconaway, a Pennacook chief living at Pawtucket Falls, emerges as leader of the Merrimack Valley’s native peoples.
1635: English settlers move into the valley.
1652: The area called Wamesit, between the Merrimack and Concord rivers, is declared Indian territory.
1655: Chelmsford is chartered on the Merrimack River, on land that is now Lowell.
1710: The Varnum family builds a gristmill on the Merrimack River.
1737: A small textile mill is built on land that will become Lowell.
1814: Francis Cabot Lowell invents the American power loom. Boston Mfg. Co. is established on the Charles River in Waltham, MA.
1822: The first large textile mill is built on land that will become Lowell. Local men and Irish workers from Boston dig Lowell’s first power canal.
1823: Merrimack Mfg. Co. produces its first textiles. Most workers are young Yankee women from the countryside: “mill girls.”
1826: The Town of Lowell is incorporated.
1831: Lowell High School is founded: first co-ed public high school in the U.S.
1834: James Abbott McNeill Whistler is born in Lowell (his father is chief engineer for Proprietors of Locks & Canals).
1835: Boston & Lowell Railroad begins service.
1836: The City of Lowell is incorporated. The city seal reads “Art Is the Handmaid of Human Good.”
Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.