Mill Power

The Origin and Impact of Lowell National Historical Park

By (author) Paul Marion

Hardback - £76.00

Publication date:

04 September 2014

Length of book:

288 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442236288

Mill Power documents the making of a national park that changed the concept of what a national historical park could be.

For a time in the 1800s, Lowell was Massachusetts’s cosmopolitan, must-see second city. The city’s industrial model was as high-tech then as Silicon Valley is today. It drew the attention of luminaries like Charles Dickens, Congressmen Davy Crockett and Abraham Lincoln, feminist sociologist Harriet Martineau, and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

This insider’s account of the creative, bold community-driven process to establish the park explains why today Lowell National Historical Park is renowned as “the partnership park.” The park’s establishment was an integral piece of an urban revival strategy that has made Lowell the subject of scores of newspaper articles, magazine profiles, TV and radio reports, scholarly papers, and book chapters.

Historic Preservation magazine has hailed the park as “the premier rehabilitation model for gritty cities worldwide.” The Lowell story has much to teach the mid-sized cities of the nation and the world.

Mill Power frames the Lowell comeback in its historical context and brings together the people who dreamed, wrote, designed, pushed, and cheered a new national park into existence along with those who came after with the charges of shaping the ideas into material form. The volume features 100 photos, many of them showing the before-and-after story of this revitalization.

[M]any . . . non-native Lowellians . . . followed the hard work of several remarkable people who believed that Lowell was worth saving from the ash heap. Marion, who has deep roots in the city and today is the executive director of community and cultural affairs at UMass Lowell, skillfully tells the stories of these individuals, from Mogan to the late Paul Tsongas, a congressman from Massachusetts who helped push through the legislation that established Lowell National Historical Park when President Jimmy Carter signed the bill on June 5, 1978. . . .Marion includes a number of striking photographs in Mill Power. Many show what downtown Lowell looked like before the creation of the park, illustrating the city’s dramatic transformation in a way no narrative can. The book, a solid, well researched history of the city — from the Pawtucket and Wamesit Indians to the early 21st century — should be on every Lowellian’s shelf.