On the day that Boston's Great Molasses Flood came in 1919, over 2 million gallons of the thick sugary syrup burst out of its storage tank and coursed through the streets in the city's North End. The wave of molasses reached at least 15 feet high at one point and raced towards its victims at 35 mph.
During these last few weeks, we've been busy at the Lowell Historical Society. As we near the end of our 2013-2014 year, we had our annual meeting last weekend at Lowell's Pollard Memorial Library where our society's Vice President Kim Zunino spoke about some of the fascinating finds she's encountered in the attic of Lowell's City…Read more From the Curator’s Desk: The Wooden Stake in our Collection
At the Lowell Historical Society, we sometimes get the question: "Hey, what's the strangest thing you have in your collection?" That's a tough question to answer. The Lowell Historical Society has been around for a long time. I'm reminded of this each time I visit our archive. Just this morning, I found a book, one…Read more From the Curator’s Desk: Odd Old Things – The Box of Cinders
In the wake of the New England Hurricane of 1938, Oscar Grenier found work with the W.P.A. cleaning up storm damage near the Farnan Private Hospital for the Aged on North Billerica’s Mt. Pleasant Street. Grenier first noticed the smoke rising from the hospital just after 10 AM on September 30, 1938. He, George Lindsay,…Read more The Day North Billerica’s Hospital Nearly Burnt Down, 1938
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
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
The first alarm sounded just after midnight on April 27, 1924. Lowell's firemen arrived soon after to find tendrils of smoke wafting from the Associate Building's fourth floor windows. Inside, the Portuguese Club was ablaze. By the time firemen gained access to the downtown Lowell landmark, they found the fire well underway inside and quickly…Read more Fires of Lowell, Massachusetts – Associate Building, 1924
Is Massachusetts getting warmer? Wetter? There has been a lot of talk about global warming, climate change, its causes and its implications for our future. But, how has climate change affected Massachusetts? To really identify climate change, one needs a consistent set of data, taken reliably, continuously, and consistently at the same location over a…Read more Climate Change: Is Massachusetts getting warmer and wetter?
Late on a Thursday afternoon on June 3, 1926, every available firefighting resource raced to Pollard's Department Store on Merrimack Street in Downtown Lowell. All of Lowell's fire department was joined by men and equipment sent from Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut and Lawrence in the fight to save Pollard's from a raging fire. Pollard's, also known…Read more Pollard’s Department Store – Lowell Born . . . Lowell Owned . . . Lowell Managed
Reading newspapers from the morning after the Titanic sank is almost like reading the first page of an alternate history novel. The first few words are familiar: The next are shocking: The Lowell Sun, the Boston Evening Transcript, and the Lewiston Evening Journal all reported similar headlines in their April 15, 1912 editions. Just imagine,…Read more What if . . . the Titanic hadn’t sunk 100 years ago?