Mill Power: The Origin and Impact of Lowell National Historical Park

Mill Power: The Origin and Impact of Lowell National Historical Park

by Paul Marion


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442236288
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 09/04/2014
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Paul Marion was born in Lowell and graduated from the University of Massachusetts -Lowell. In the 1980s, he was an administrator with the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission, U.S. Department of the Interior, helping to develop the programs and properties of the Lowell National Historical Park.

A co-founder of the Lowell Folk Festival and Lowell Heritage Partnership, he was instrumental in the development of the Lowell Cultural Plan, Mogan Cultural Center, and the Jack Kerouac Commemorative.

He is currently executive director of community relations at the University of Massachusetts - Lowell.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Lightning Strikes Twice
Part One: The Intentional City
Pawtucket and Wamesit
“Wonderful Machine”
Mile of Mills
First Blood of the North
Battered Hive
Neighborhood Nations
Running on Empty
Part Two: Urban Laboratory
Model City
Mogan Speaks
Living History: David McKean
College Town
Part Three: Making the Park
“Lowell Has Done It”
A National Park Stands Apart
Stairway to Park-dom
From Alternative School to Urban Cultural Park
The Park Bill Becomes Law: A Staff Diary
An Act Establishing a Park
Building the Park: First Moves
Taking Shape
Realizing the Idea
The Canalway and Beyond
Into the Twenty-first Century
Yellowstone and Lowell
Part Four: Bricks and Mortar, Then and Now
Part Five: The Economics of Heritage
Urban Destruction
Fear Not Preservation
Adaptive-Reuse Economics
Lowell: By the Numbers
Heritage Reclamation: Public-Private Sectors, Investment and Development
“The Long View”
Preservation Tax Credit Tool
Stand-off at the Dam
Two Cases: Market Mills and Hamilton Canal District
High-Tech Hive
Public-Private Partnership
Creative Place-making
Gathering the Lowell Honey
Part Six: Telling the Story
If the Falls Could Speak
A Counter-Narrative
“The Danger of a Single Story”
The Power of Water
Riding the Paul Moody
Walk This Way: A Canal Hike
Mill Work
Moulin Rouge
The City as a Classroom
The Everywhere School
Tsongas Industrial History (and Science) Center
Lowell Folk Festival
Traditions Connect Us
Cultural Affairs
Lowell Summer Music Series
Sculpture Trail
Kerouac Comes Home
Part Seven: Stewardship and Leadership
Youth Stewardship
Public Matters
A Note about the Author

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