We visited Lowell, Massachusetts, last summer and toured the national park that preserved its historic mills and canals. It was a delightful day that also included some first-class cheap eats – the Viet Thai restaurant and Sowy’s Hispanic bakery, both on Merrimack Street near City Hall are delightful.
If you’ve been wondering about the location of the photos accompanying the Big Inca postings the past month and a half, they’re mostly from that outing. I could have shot much, much more if I weren’t trying to observe things through my own eyes first.
Our highlight was a boat tour that took us through a working canal lock, raising us to the level of the Merrimack River on the other side of the gate. That leisurely route took us out on the river above the dam and falls and then back to downtown – a 90-minute excursion in all. Think of it as an American industrial Venice.
This time we intend to hit a couple of museums that aren’t part of the park – including the National Textiles Museum, which houses many of the famed calicos made in our own city, and the streetcar museum (after all, the streetcar is also a legendary sandwich in my newest novel, What’s Left.)
Another draw, if you’re interested, is the huge folk festival every summer. And there’s always the Jack Kerouac trail for devoted readers.
Now, to view the trip though the canal lock, just click on the photos for the big view.
Fire was always a hazard, sometimes killing hundreds of workers. Since a single spark could turn the fiber-filled air of a textiles mill into a bomb, open flames were limited. The buildings were bitterly cold in winter and oppressively hot in summer.
The Chicken Farmer knows about funky and making do out in the hollows just beyond places like yrUBbury. There’s nothing ostentatious in this landscape, town or country. The Farmer might even work regular shifts in one of the factories simply to make ends meet. After all, chickens can’t do it all alone.
As for Bill, both he and the Chicken Farmer are about finding love and loving, when it’s right.
The air in the textiles mills was filled with floating fibers. Cotton lung disease took its toll. The hours were long, tedious, and often hazardous. In itself, that created job openings for wave after wave of immigrants.