Past Occupations: Lamplighters in Lowell, Massachusetts

Lamplighters turned night into day.  A staple of the urban Victorian streetscape, the nostalgic image persists of a lone man, walking a darkening city street as dusk descended behind him, extending his staff to ignite each dark, cold lamp stem to life with a small flame.  He would light the way along the lonely city…Read more Past Occupations: Lamplighters in Lowell, Massachusetts

Fires of Lowell, Massachusetts – Associate Building, 1924

The first alarm sounded just after midnight on April 28, 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

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The Men of the Boston, Lowell and Nashua Line – Train Life in the 1870s

My two-year-old son loves trains.  One of his first words was "train".  And, he likes to announce the arrival and departure of trains, with the word "train", repeatedly, while pointing. The fascination people have with trains can be traced back much further than today's living generations.  In fact, before planes and automobiles, trains, or iron…Read more The Men of the Boston, Lowell and Nashua Line – Train Life in the 1870s

In Search of Good Sleuths: A Downtown Lowell Treasure Hunt, 1912

"Are you a good sleuth?"  The headline teased, from the Lowell Sun's front page.  One hundred years ago, on Saturday, September 21, 1912, the newspaper invited all would-be sleuths to Lowell's Merrimack Square (today's Kearney Square) that night, at 8 PM, 'sharp'.  One lucky sleuth, they claimed, would win $100 ($2300 in today's dollars) if…Read more In Search of Good Sleuths: A Downtown Lowell Treasure Hunt, 1912

Lowell’s Riverside School: The Lowell Parents’ Strike – 1971

Things have to get fairly dire before your entire student body, well, 97% of your student body, boycotts your school due to "dangerous conditions".  But, that's precisely what happened at Lowell's Riverside School on a Monday morning in late March, 1971.  Of the school's 205 students in Grades K through 5, just six showed up…Read more Lowell’s Riverside School: The Lowell Parents’ Strike – 1971

Lost Stories and Found Mysteries: Old Group Photographs

If you've spent any time researching ancestors, or the history of your town, or even history in general, you've likely come across old group photographs.  A workplace outing from long ago, an annual gathering of some institution or society, or maybe a family gathering.  If you've stared into the faces of those who gathered for…Read more Lost Stories and Found Mysteries: Old Group Photographs

The Billerica Car Shop Murder of 1918

As news of World War I and Spanish flu filled the local papers, the first headlines related to Billerica’s car shop murder almost could have gone unnoticed.  In fact, the murder itself went unnoticed for several days.  The last anyone had seen of Fred Soulia, an employee at Billerica’s Boston & Maine car shops (today’s…Read more The Billerica Car Shop Murder of 1918