In the Lowell of our parents and grandparents, a yellow horse-drawn wagon coming down a city street in high summer meant an approaching escape from the summer heat. City children knew each ice man driving the yellow wagons, and often relished jumping aboard for a piece of ice and a ride down the road, or…Read more The Daniel Gage Ice Company of Lowell, Massachusetts
In summer's waning days in 1881, New Englanders read about hope for President Garfield's recovery from a gunshot wound suffered two months earlier, an imminent rising of the Apache Nation in the West, and a baseball game between the "Bostons" and the "Worcesters", where unfavorable weather "kept away all spectators" and worries that Pike, the center…Read more New England’s Yellow Day of 1881: A Saffron Curtain Descends
Imagine receiving a stack of photographs from a second cousin you've never met, who received them from a fourth cousin who lives on a Portuguese island off the coast of Africa. And that these photographs show never-before seen, everyday images from your great-grandparents' life that they sent home to Portugal some fifty to sixty years…Read more Sometimes, Family Tree Breakthroughs Arrive in your Inbox
In the days before refrigeration, ice was a valuable winter cash crop for enterprising businessmen. Ice was a year-round staple in most households, and many families would give up food before they would give up ice. As a region, New England was well-known for its quality ice. The region's severe cold coupled with its deep ponds produced…Read more Past Occupations: Ice Cutters in Massachusetts
On a summer morning in July 1890, the cyclone hit Lawrence, Massachusetts suddenly and without warning. What we would today call a tornado or microburst began as soft showers advancing across the city as people made their way to work on Saturday, July 26, 1890. As nine o'clock approached, the clouds thickened and darkened the sky. The…Read more The Day a Cyclone hit Lawrence, Massachusetts – 1890
Lowell's Irish and French Canadian populations long had an uneasy relationship. I grew up hearing about it, a century after the French Canadians first starting appearing in Lowell, Massachusetts, in the 1870s. By the time the French Canadians began arriving in Lowell, the Irish Catholics - who had started appearing a generation earlier - had…Read more Lowell’s Franco American School and its Connection to my Family History
The Valentine's Day Storm of 1940 crossed Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts within just a few days in February 1940. Locals said it was the biggest storm to hit the region since the New England Hurricane of 1938, some 15 months before. The first flurries started on the morning of Valentine's Day, before progressing into…Read more The Valentine’s Day Storm of 1940.