• Boott Cotton Mills Museum with Trolley


    National Historical Park Massachusetts

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  • Trolleys Out of Service until Saturday August 23

    Due to repair work, the trolleys will not be running until Saturday, August 23. Daily boat tours will still be running, with a 1/4 mile walk from the visitor center. The 2:30 trolley tour will be offered as a walking tour. More info at 978-970-5000.

  • Lowell NHP Superintendents Compendium upate.

    The Superintendents Compendium has been updated in regard to the use of unmanned aircraft in national park areas. More »

Pawtucket and Middlesex Canals


Between 1790 and 1860 America underwent a transportation revolution. Canals, turnpikes, and railroads crisscrossed the nation, dramatically improving inland transportation.

Eastern Massachusetts was an early participant in this revolution. The first effort to improve navigation on the Merrimack River came in 1792 when a group of investors from Newburyport-some of the same families that later invested in Lowell-chartered the Proprietors of Locks and Canals on Merrimack River.

They intended to construct a canal around Pawtucket Falls at East Chelmsford and thereby connect New Hampshire directly to Newburyport at the river's mouth. By 1796 the 1 1/2-mile Pawtucket Canal permitted log rafts and limestone-bearing barges to skirt the falls at the future site of Lowell.

Even while the Pawtucket Canal was under construction, Boston entrepreneurs undertook another ambitious canal venture. Completed in 1803, the Middlesex Canal used 20 locks and 7 aqueducts, over a length of 27 miles, to join the Merrimack River a mile above Pawtucket Falls to the port of Boston. Together these two canals provided excellent transportation. The Middlesex, however, soon became the more prosperous canal, at least until the industrialists from Waltham discovered the Pawtucket Canal's waterpower potential.

Source: Lowell National Historical Park Handbook 140


Did You Know?

Lowell, MA

Gamblers today can buy a "lucky cologne" which has its origins in the heart of Lowell National Historical Park. One of several local patent medicine companies, E.W. Hoyt & Co. produced personal products like Rubifoam tooth cleaner and Hoyt's German Cologne on Middlesex Street during the late 1800's.