I can’t believe that I am writing this, but this is the first full week of my last semester at Umass Lowell. I went to WPI in Worcester MA for my undergrad degree, but both of my master’s degrees will be from Umass Lowell. I got my Master’s of Education there in 2009, and I will have my Master’s of Science in Biology this May. What can I say, I like school. I was told once, don’t remember by who, that your education is the only thing that can’t be taken away from you….and so as I have lived my life amassing furniture, sporting goods, whatever…I have also been amassing courses.
Umass Lowell was inducted into the University of Massachusetts family back in 1991. It is the second largest MA state school, Umass Amherst is the largest. I have watched over the years as Umass Lowell has transformed from a largely commuter school to a thriving community for students and faculty. There are three campuses at Umass Lowell. North Campus was originally the Lowell Technological Institute (started as Lowell Textile School in 1895) and South Campus was originally Lowell State College which really began as a teacher’s college back in 1898. They are on opposite sides of the Merrimack River and merged back in 1975. The third campus, East Campus, is over by LeLacheur Park, the home of the Lowell Spinners, a minor league team for the Boston Red Sox. That campus has a lot of the dorms and a big dining hall.
Now, there has been construction on campus pretty much since I started there back in 2008. A lot of the buildings have the geometric (ugly) style to them….they kinda look like tetris pieces? There are some buildings that I love though.
This one is Coburn Hall on South Campus. The South Campus is where the health sciences, humanities, grad. school of education, and some dorms/student center can be found. I love this building. This where the Lowell State College started. The building was designed by Stickney & Austin. It was named after Frank Coburn, the first principal of the school.
The next three are all on the North Campus where the textile school/technological institute was started.
The Southwicks were Quakers and abolitionalists and they started the Lowell Carpet Company. Textiles and mills were the main industry in Lowell for the industrial era. Frederick Ayer was the grandson of the Southwicks, and he had a big influence on the textile market in Lowell & Lawrence. The textile program shut down in 1971.
Rejuvenating the mill district in Lowell has been a process. I grew up nearby and have watched the industry come back to Lowell…..new restaurants….mills converted to apartments….new community activities. Lowell is home to the Tsongas Arena, canals that are a beautiful and educational stroll, LeLacheur Park which has more activities than just baseball, and a lovely mill museum. The Textile Regatta in Lowell is usually the first big fall headrace for crew, so much fun, and they have a great folk festival too.
Umass Lowell has been a huge part of bringing Lowell back to life. The school has expanded, made jobs possible, and has really become one of the most underrated schools in a really underrated city. When we think of Massachusetts, maybe our coastline comes to mind. Cape Cod, Boston, and Cape Anne are GORGEOUS, but mill towns have been important to Massachusett’s history too. Lowell is totally worth a visit and Umass Lowell is worth a look for a great (& affordable) university. I will be sad to finish up this spring.
Hope you all had a great weekend!! I will do a post maybe tomorrow with some trail fun pictures from this weekend 🙂