If there’s one thing I’ve come to associate with Massachusetts, it’s industrial history. My journeys through North Adams, Easthampton, and now Lowell have all immersed me in the histories of former mill and factory towns.
Lowell is one of the largest cities in the state, but its historical district–at once both city and National Monument–is a fascinating synthesis of past and present.
*Technically, this is more like Eastern MA, but I’m always wandering from the Pioneer Valley, so perhaps that counts!
First stop was Market Mills, a curious complex that housed, among other things, the headquarters for the Lowell National Historic Site, a yoga studio, residential apartments, and a beautiful little gallery/artist cooperative. The latter conveniently happened to be featuring an exhibition exploring the art of Nancy Drew and other kiddie mystery pulp fiction: I certainly couldn’t resist stopping in! Nancy in particular is such a fascinating character–one who’s almost become a kind of folk hero after so many different writers (and artists) have captured her over the decades.
Our walk (to the New England Quilt Museum) took us past endless streets of historical brick buildings: so this tiny little house tucked away in a small gated garden (seemingly the home of a law firm?) was quite a delightful surprise!
There appeared to be an interesting dialogue between train and sculpture taking place near the canal.
Thanks to a certain childhood episode of The Magic School Bus that taught me that “triangles are strong shapes!” (baby’s first architectural integrity lesson?) I find myself seeking them out in bridges and structures wherever I go. Lowell has no shortage of shapes, strong or otherwise: it’s a geometric paradise!
As I seem to reiterate on a daily basis, I’m a girl of the forests through and through–and although it’s not my usual secluded fare, there’s a steadfast beauty to be found in repurposed factories and towering red brick, too.