The Early History of Lowell’s Hi Hat Rollaway

In our last post, we revealed how we learned that the Hi Hat figurine within our collection was carved in the likeness of former Hi Hat owner, Mo Rochette, who was also famous as the ‘old guy’ behind the snack bar at the Hi Hat during the 60s, 70s, and 80s. But to get there, […]

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Among the Artifacts: Remembering Lowell’s Hi Hat Rollaway

We call him Hi Hat Guy, at the Lowell Historical Society, after the name of roller skating rink that is lettered across his red tie.  To the modern eye, Hi Hat Guy looks a little like Phil Dunphy, at least at first glance.  He’s the father figure played by Ty Burrell on ABC’s Modern Family.  Hi […]

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Among the Artifacts: The Licensed Newsboy Badge

My fingers first brushed across the small metallic oval a few weeks ago. It was right next to Officer Lee’s Lowell PD badge.  This very different badge was light, too old to be plastic.  I figured it was probably aluminum.   As I slid out the drawer at the Lowell Historical Society’s archive, the flourescent […]

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From the Curator’s Desk: Odd Old Things – The Box of Cinders

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 […]

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Forgotten Stories behind the Artifacts of the Lowell Historical Society

Check out this badge.  I came across it in the Lowell Historical Society’s vast archive, located in the city’s Boott Mills complex.  As the society’s newly-appointed Curator of Art and Artifacts, I got to spend some time with the badge, recently, and other items that came with it. The badge, it turns out, comes from […]

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The Controversial First Days of Roller Skating Rinks, Lowell – 1885

In the years following the US Civil War, roller skating really came into its own.  As the design of the roller skate improved over the second half of the 19th century, so did its popularity.  Many became fans of the new hobby.  Many others viewed it as immoral and a threat to the order of […]

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The Daniel Gage Ice Company of Lowell, Massachusetts

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 […]

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Sometimes, Family Tree Breakthroughs Arrive in your Inbox

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 […]

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