Why is it, in Lowell, that the land just on the other side of the protected borders set by the National Park Service are unprotected and buildings are being torn down at an alarming rate. This is a never-ending subject for me. We have torn down, and replaced, with inferior, in my opinion, buildings in places like the Butler School, as was a part of the mill on Anderson Street, a barn on Andover Street, and other buildings which define the history of our city. A friend showed me the old train station and it was superior to the current one. He also had a picture of Tom’s Diner on Gorham Street which is no longer there. Not only are we tearing down our history, but we are not placing photographs of these places anywhere at which they would be visible to the public. We stand to lose the oldest house in Lowell in the Highlands and yet no City Councilor has even asked to view it for historic value, to the best of my knowledge.
I have a beautiful picture of what’s left of the mill that used to stand on Gorham Street across from Gene’s Appliance Parts. It is a beautiful picture, of a dam over the stream and the water flowing over it. It shows the color of the fall leaves in the water, the sunlight on the scene, and a fishing spot that kids used for years to idle the time away. But, the mill is gone.
What is happening to the Sacred Heart Church? And, where the heck did Sage Bank come from to take over of the Lowell Cooperative Bank? We have lost all of our banks of yesteryear in this city except the well-managed Lowell Five Cent Saviings Bank. The Central, the Lowell Institution for Savings, Union National Bank, Butler Bank, and the Lowell Cooperative all have gone the way of the dinosaur. Only the memories remain.
Enterprise seems to have the momentum to succeed in filling the void left by the banks who apparently could not handle the new freedoms of the 1980’s deregulation. But it is a young bank, filled with people who believe in its promise. I have all of my accounts there, and could not exist without their assistance and listening ear.
Anyway, how many of us can remember the Strand Theater, McQuade’s Mens Store, Pollard’s, the Bon Marche, Talbot’s, the wooden bridge over the railroad tracks up around Lawrence Street, the S bridge on the way to Lowell State College, the University of Lowell from which I graduated, the zoo at Fort Hill or the remains of the cages, the Old Butler School in use, the Pawtucketville Memorial School dedicated to memorializing the dead of WWI, and a thousand other memories that we coud all come up with if we tried. Even more recently, who actually remembers Mickey Ward’s fights, or Paul Tsongas, or Jimmy Martin? All grasps of them have rolled through our thumbs.
I remember Jack Kerouac’s funeral and the motorcycles that followed the hearse. I remember the lone Hell’s Angel who lived up above Paul Tsongas” headquarters at the old Dillon’s Cleaners on Andover Street, and I remember the smell of cookies coming from the Educator Biscuit Company on Jackson Street. So I ask you to list what you remember and email your memories to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maybe we can write a book together.