Lowell Cultural Resources Inventory

From Lowell Historical Society board member and Director of UMass Lowell’s Center for Lowell History Martha Mayo:

The first batch of Lowell Cultural Inventory Reports of Buildings in Downtown Lowell [369] are available on the UML Digital Commons site. They can be viewed here. They can be viewed here —http://libhost.uml.edu/collections/browse

Please share this effort was part of an Mass Bureau of Library Council Grant for digital preservation. Please share with others interested in Lowell History through email, blogs, facebook, and other social media.

Grand Fires of 1904: St. Patrick’s Church Lowell

 Interior of St. Patrick’s Church after the fire of 1904.

From the “Forgotten New England” series on Grand Fires of 1904 (thanks to FB post from Corey Sciuto – LHS Board member):

On Monday, January 11, 1904, Sister Josephine, a teacher at Notre Dame Academy in Lowell, Massachusetts, awoke, rose from bed, and looked out her window at the pre-dawn stillness; it was just minutes after five o’clock in the morning.  Only she saw smoke – and lots of it – billowing from St. Patrick’s Church…

Read the full account here:  http://forgottennewengland.com/2011/12/10/the-grand-fires-of-1904-st-patricks-catholic-church-lowell-massachusetts/#comments


Lowell Historic Board’s Latest Newsletter

This is a cross-post from Dick Howe’s blog. LHB Assistant Administrator Kim Zunino who writes about the “neon” downtown is a Lowell Historical Society board member.

Lowell Historic Board Winter 2012 Newsletter Just Published!

by Marie

Lots of really good and interesting information here in the just published Lowell Historic Board Newsletter. Articles include an installment in an ongoing series written by LHB Administrator Steve Stowell about Lowell building architecture; Assistant Administrator Kim Zunino’s look at “neon” signage in the downtown as well as some great vintage photos and a reminder about the treasures in the City’s archive and attic!

Here’s a teaser from the Neon Haze article:

Neon signs were an invention of the early twentieth century, most popular from the 1920s-1940s. It was discovered that neon or argon gas glowed when an electric charge passed through them. Glass tubes could be molded into any shape or form and even set on timers so images seemed to move. The Haffner’s Gas sign, a landmark Lowell sign that was recently restored, is an example of this type of design.

Lowell Sun Neon

Historic neon on the
Lowell Sun Building

Remember Pearl Harbor

This is a cross post from Dick Howe’s blog. Thr information was provide by Lowell Historical Society board member Eileen Loucraft who has her own blog LowellDough Boys here.

“Pearl Harbor anniversary touches heart of Lowell”

by DickH

Thanks to Eileen Loucraft for sending along a front-page story from the December 5, 1942 Lowell Sun which commemorated the first anniversary of the death of two Lowell service men in the Pearl Harbor attack from a year earlier.  The article, reproduced in full below, gives a sense of life in Lowell back in the early days of World War Two:

Gleaming in the eternal gold of the supreme sacrifice, the names of Arthur Francis Boyle and Clifton E Edmonds carry the luster of particular significance on two stars of Lowell’s vast service flag today.

First of our own to die in action, Soldier Arthur Boyle and Sailor Clifton Edmonds shall not be forgotten by a community which will ever link their names with the incident of treachery that cost them their lives one year ago at Pearl Harbor.

As the nation gravely marks the first anniversary of the bestial Japanese attack on a friendly American outpost, and musters all its strength in a tidal wave of avenging might, now a year in growth, their home city pauses to Remember Pearl Harbor for the loss of two of its finest sons.

Edmonds, a seaman first class on the aircraft carrier Curtiss, was drowned in a boiling sea on that day of infamy.  The sone of Mr and Mrs Robert J Edmonds of 74 Merrill avenue is remembered in the single gold star on the service flag of the Matthews Memorial P M church among 37 stars of blue.

Boyle probably was the first of the two Lowell boys to die.  The 23-year old youth was killed instantly when a direct hit from a Jap dive bomber struck the first hangar on that fateful morning of December 7, 1941.  Pvt Arthur Boyle never lived to see the remainder of the attack and its terrible toll.  He was at his post, racing to release some of the US pursuit planes from one of the larger hangars of Hicham field when death struck.  By all standards of human combat, he never had a chance, according to word received here by his parents, Mr and Mrs Frank (Phinney) Boyle of 28 Ralph street.

One of the most respected families in St Patrick’s parish, the Boyles are known for their devotion to church interests and fine neighborliness.  Years ago, Phinney Boyle was a name that was known everywhere in New England.  One of the best lightweight boxers in the nation, Phinney Boyle was idolized by hundreds of youths of the age Arthur Boyle had reached when he died for his country.  Since his retirement, Phinney Boyle has lived the exemplary life of a man who learned his lessons of self-care and broad sportsmanship well.

He brought up his two boys in the American way.  He had no discernable aspirations to making boxers or athletes of them, but led them along the paths of life with a paternal eye for character.  In the parlance of the times, Phinney knew a “right guy” from old when he saw one, and if his sons never became famous in sports or in other forms of achievement, he at least wanted them to be “right.”  And they were.  Respected, popular, manly and generous, Arthur and his brother, Francis, were welcome in every home, the choice of all the other kids at play.

Francis, now 21, did the “right” thing by his father’s and his country’s code when the tragedy of Pearl Harbor saddened the Boyle home.  He only ascertained that his presence was no longer needed to keep the home going after its hour of grief — and enlisted.

Charles Dickens Second American Tour Started and Ended in Boston

This is a cross-post of interest from richardhowe.com.

From Mass Moments: Dickens Second American Tour

by Marie

Mass Moments remind us that on this day December 2, 1867, the iconic author Charles Dickens began his Second American tour heer in Massachusetts – opening in Boston and reading at Tremont Temple. Not in the best of health, Dickens arrived a few weeks early and spent some time recuperating from his voyage at the famed Parker House Hotel. Staying in his room, he read and prepared his readings often rewriting some passages from his books. He always painstakingly prepared for his performances.

On this day

…in 1867, Charles Dickens
began his second American reading tour at Boston’s Tremont Temple. An enthusiastic audience, which included literary stars Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Ralph Waldo Emerson, seemed to have forgotten Dickens’s widely known unflattering views of the United States described in his book American Notes.  A 55-year-old Dickens read selections from A Christmas Carol and The Pickwick Papers. Although Dickens was in declining health, he embarked on an ambitious travel schedule. Six months later, having given more than 400 readings, Dickens returned to Boston once more before concluding his U.S. tour in New York City. He died two years later, having written 14 novels, several of which are classics of English literature.
He ended his Second American Reading Tour where it began – in Boston where he  closed by telling the audience: “In this brief life of ours, it is sad to do almost anything for the last time . . . Ladies and gentlemen, I beg most earnestly, most gratefully, and most affectionately, to bid you, each and all, farewell.”
In 1842 during his First American Tour, Charles Dickens visited Lowell. He wrote about his visit in “American Notes,” In one comment on the mill girls – he observed:  ”They were healthy in appearance, many of them remarkably so, and had the manners and deportment of young women: not of degraded brutes of burden.”
Read more about Dickens Lowell visit as remembered in his “American Notes” here from Primary Sources.
Read more about Dickens Second American Tour here at MassMoments.com.