Lowell is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. According to a recent census, the city’s population was close to 107,000, making Lowell the fourth largest city in the state. Lowell is known as the cradle of the industrial revolution in the United States, with many of the city’s historic sites preserved by the National Park Service.
Founded in the 1820s as a planned manufacturing center for textiles, Lowell is located along the rapids of the Merrimack River, 25 miles northwest of Boston in what was once the farming community of East Chelmsford, Massachusetts. By the 1850s, Lowell had the largest industrial complex in the United States. The textile industry wove cotton produced in the South.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.5 square miles (38 km2), of which 13.8 square miles (35.7 km²) is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) is water. Lowell is located at the confluence of the Merrimack and Concord Rivers. The Pawtucket Falls, a mile-long set of rapids with a total drop in elevation of 32 feet, ends where the two rivers meet. At the top of the falls is the Pawtucket Dam, designed to turn the upper Merrimack into a millpond, diverted through Lowell’s extensive canal system. Lowell has eight distinct neighborhoods: the Acre, Back Central, Belvidere, Centralville, Downtown, Highlands, Pawtucketville and South Lowell.