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Industrial Revolution - The Boot Mills Of Lowell Mass
Growing up in Lowell Ma I wasn't aware that once upon a time my city was a major contributor of The Industrial Revolution. When the mayor and his contingents decided to capitalize on this revelation it became an economic windfall for the cities economy. They created The Lowell National Historical Park. The park includes tours of the textile mills, canal tours, viewing the gatehouses and the housing for the mill girls. Periodically there are trolley and boat tours that offer education programs for local schools. Since the creation of the National Park hundreds have been educated on Lowell's historic contribution that spanned 75 years, from 1835 to 1910.
The textile mills powered by water wheels, housed many machines and employed many people in order to take the raw cotton and create cloth. The mills could produce 50 million yards of clothes by 1896 and employed 800 + workers.
The majority of these workers were young girls of 15 yrs up to 35 yrs of age. The young girls usually came from farms and mill agents were sent to reassure the parents that their daughters would be safe. The boarding houses where they would live had stick rules and curfews. Church attendance on Sunday was a must. Job opportunities for women were scarce so the offer of cash wages, boarding house and their daughter's safety many parents agreed. These young ladies became know as, The Mill girls.
The majority of the men who worked in the mills were of immigrants who came in pursuit of a better life in America. French-Canadian, Irish, Polish, Portugese and Greeks immigrants settled in various parts of the city and began working at the mills.