The Library and its dedicated volunteers are presently indexing the 8,000 or so Proof of birth records. The hope is the indexing will be done and on line in the spring. It is a wonderful collection and the Library very much wants to share its rich detail with the public. As a hint of what is to come I will show a few images of these records over the weeks to come. About 2% contain photos of the children who came to Lawrence from about 1910 to 1930. These images are being scanned and these are two examples.
Nick Conaxis was born in Lawrence in 1947 and starting in 1948 grew up in foster homes in Lawrence and in and around Rowley. In 1961 he moved to Longview Farm for Boys in Walpole and lived there until 1965 and graduated from Walpole High School. He was eventually drafted into the army in September 1967and was killed in Vietnam on May 5, 1968.
Please join the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library for a talk and discussion with author Alex Liazos. It will take place on Wednesday, November 13, 6:30 PM on the 3rd floor of the Lawrence Public Library, 51 Lawrence St.
Discussion will be about his book Twelve Days in Viet Nam: The Life and Death of Nicholas Conaxis. The book is based on interviews with Nick’s sister, brother, and thirty other people who knew Nick; sixty letters Nick wrote from military training and Vietnam; and documents covering Nick’s years as a foster child.
For information please contact Louise Sandberg, 978-620.3606 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read chapter 1 of the book on the website twelvedaysinvietnam.org. For more information you can contact Alex Liazos at email@example.com, or call him at 781-899-0572.
European settlement in the Merrimack Valley started in the 17th century and encompasses all the styles of architecture from then to the present.
The present main building of the Lawrence Public Library was built in 1973. It is located on the northwest corner of the intersection of Haverhill and Lawrence Streets. It is a good example of contemporary architecture.
The Lawrence Heritage State Park is located at the corner of Jackson and Canal Streets in an early (1840′s) boarding house. It would have housed mill operatives. The park functions as a museum and cultural center for the City.
The old Everett Mill was the original Lawrence Machine Shop made of stone. A twentieth century brick mill was built to the west of the old mill leaving the original building intact. The present day brick mill runs the length of Union Street from Canal to General Streets.
There were many smokestacks associated with industry throughout Lawrence at one time. The oldest and only stone smokestack still stands behind the Everett Mill. It was originally the Lawrence Machine Shop smokestack.
There is a white wood frame church on Coolidge Street in South Lawrence. It was originally called the Wood Chapel and is now the Church of Christ.
City Hall began as the Town House in 1849, a red brick building. It was greatly enlarged in the early 1920s and is now a cream colored brick building. It has always had a gold eagle on top and faces the Common on Common Street.
The Essex Company Offices are located at the very beginning of Essex Street at its intersection with Union Street. It was the main office for the Essex Company, the creator of the City for Lawrence, for many years. In the 1990′s it became the home of the Lawrence History Center formerly known as the Immigrant City Archives.
Bay State Building was built in 1904 and was considered the tallest building north of Boston at that time. It was enlarged to double its size. It is still the largest building in the City and is located at the corner of Lawrence and Essex Streets.
The Ayer Mill was another of the mills built by the American Woolen Company in 1911. The Ayer Mill Clock Tower is the world’s largest mill clock with a dial only 6 inches smaller than Big Ben in London. It is on Union Street just south of the Merrimack River. The New Balance athletic shoe manufacturer is located in the building.
The Old High School was once the New High School. The original part of the Old High School was built in 1901. It was followed by additions in 1921 and 1984. It is located on the northwest corner of Lawrence and Haverhill Streets.
There have been many train stations on both sides of the river. The Boston & Maine Train Depot was built in 1931 on Merrimack Street next to Parker Street. In the 1990′s the depot building was made into a small shopping area called Olde Station Square.
When the Wood Mill was built by the American Woolen Company in 1909, it was the largest worsted mill in the world. Two extensions were each a fifth of a mile long. The mill is on Union Street just south of the Merrimack River. One extension is now gone and what remains is being converted to residence and retail space.
Lawton’s Famous Frankfurters (Lawton’s Hotdogs) has been a Lawrence landmark for 84 years. The small red building leaning over the north canal near Broadway is now the Lawrence Dog Haus and Grill.
Robert Frost School was occupied in 1961. It was named after Robert Frost, Lawrence High School graduate and poet, who attended the dedication. The building was badly damaged by fire and was replaced by the present school building in 1986.
The Central Building is located at 316 Essex Street.
The Lawrence Street Congregational Church was the second church built on the Common. The first building was a white wood frame structure. This stone church replaced the first church in 1918. It is presently occupied by the congregation Iglesia de Dios. It is located on Lawrence Street diagonally across from the Library.
Trinity Congregational Church was destroyed by fire in 1859. The congregation continued to meet at City Hall until the basement of the present building was ready in 1859. The church still has an active membership and has taken the name Fuentes de Salvacion. The church is located on Haverhill Street across from the Common.
The Christ United Methodist Church of Lawrence was built in 1911 as the Central Methodist Episcopal Church. It is right next to the Library on Haverhill Street.
Congregation Anshai Shulim is the last remaining Synagogue in Lawrence. Located on Hampshire Street, it was one of several synagogues and other Jewish organizations in the city during the 20th century.
Firestation Engine 7 on Park Street was built in 1896. Transportation has changed the building looks the same.
It is now the Merrimack Valley YMCA, but in the 1880′s it was the Lawrence YMCA originally in the Elliott Congregational Church on Methuen Street. The present building shown here was built in 1910.
Riverside Congregational Church is located at 209 Water Street. It was built in the 1920′s and still has an active congregation.
The Polish Catholic Church building is located on Avon Street. The name was Holy Trinity Church.
The Oliver School was the first school built in Lawrence. The present building on Haverhill Street across from the Common replaced the original building. It is named for Henry K. Oliver early mayor of the City.
St. Patrick’s Church was the first church in South Lawrence. It is located on South Broadway.
Across from Lawrence Catholic Academy on Parker Street is St. Patrick’s Convent meant for the Sisters who used to work at the school. Habitat of Humanity is converting the building to apartments.
St. Anne’s Catholic Church was first known as the French Church. The first building was across Haverhill Street from this building at the corner of Haverhill and Franklin Streets. It no longer functions as a church.
The Methuen Memorial Music Hall was built by Edward Francis Searles in 1909 solely to house the Boston Music Hall organ. The architect Henry Vaughn designed an elaborate Anglo-Dutch style building. The interior is English Baroque. The hall overlooks the Spicket River on Broadway in Methuen.
Andover Town Hall is a Romanesque Revival building. Theodore Voelkers, who also rebuilt the Pemberton Mill building in Lawrence in 1860 was the architect. The town hall is on Main Street in town center.
The Memorial Bell Tower was built at a memorial to the 85 Andover men who died in World War I. Architect Guy Lowell based the design of the tower on Boston’s Old South Meeting House. The tower is located on the field where Andover men trained for battle from the Revolutionary War to the Great War on Main Street.
Memorial Arch at the entrance to West Parish Cemetery in Andover was built (1908) in memory to Benjamin Franklin Smith, Jr., grandson of Andover mill owner Peter Smith. The granite arch was paid for by William Wood, CEO of the American Woolen Company.
The Hay Scales Building (1833), located at the end of the Common at the corner of Andover and Osgood Streets in North Andover, is a small white clapboard and brick structure measuring just twelve by sixteen feet. The structure was built to weigh hay for farmers.
The new FLPL Historical Calendar is now for sale. It is in color and features advertisements from the 1870s through the mid 20th century. Ads include Beach Soap, Morin’s, Ketchum’s Pharmacy, Curran & Joyce, Cedar Crest, Papparlardo’s Wirths, and the Cross Book Store. The images were on trade cards, a stereo slide, in city directories, postcards, and the front cover of an almanac. The material came from the collections in the library and material owned by Joe Bella. The calendars are already for sale in both libraries and will be featured at the Friends’ table at the Bread and Roses Festival on Labor Day September 2, 2013. The charge is $10.
“Trolleys of the Merrimack Valley” a 156 image power point presentation by Transit Historian, Kevin T. Farrell. This 45 minute program will show how the development of the electric street railway industry in the last ten years of the nineteenth century into the Twentieth century was the engine that propelled business development in the Merrimack Valley region. Now you could live in Billerica and work in Lowell or Lawrence. No longer did you have to live within walking place of your employer. Formerly worthless tracts of land became very valuable overnight. The trolleys connected most every city and town in the valley. Recreation became a big business as well with trolleys developing the Hampton Beach Casino, Canobie Lake Park, Whalom Park, Pinehurst Park and Norumbega Park, to name a few. By 1936, the trolleys were gone from the Valley but their legacy is apparent with the vast build out of industries and real estate developments that continued to grow under the highway building period of the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Look back and see how the system was put together with several vast networks of trolley lines on both sides of the border, all with private investment.
Today, little remains of this era except in photos and mementos. Except for the re-creation of a real trolley line at the Lowell National Historical Park in 1985 and the trolleys preserved at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Among the museum’s vast collection of trolleys is one trolley from Lowell and Lawrence that is being restored so it could once again run on the streets of Lowell at the park. This trolley, Eastern Mass Street Railway car #7005 operated between Lowell and Lawrence along state route 110 in Dracut and Methuen and down to Everett Station from Lowell and down to Salem from Lawrence along state route 114 to name a few lines. See the excellent restoration work and help become part of the process by making a small donation to this effort.
Come and enjoy the show of the historic photos of long gone by Lawrence, Lowell and Haverhill, free handouts about trolleys in the Merrimack Valley and the Seashore Trolley Museum will be available for all.
Kevin T. Farrell, a life-long trolley enthusiast has been employed in Human Services most of his life. Currently he is a fund raiser for a major Merrimack Valley non-profit in Lawrence, assisting people with disabilities.
Wednesday September 25, 2013 6:30PM at the main branch of the Lawrence Public Library on the 3rd floor. Free admission! For more information contact Louise Sandberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-620-3606.
This artificial and still open collection consists of a wide variety of advertising samples dating from the last 4 decades of the 19th century and into the middle of the 20th. Everything is professionally printed and often includes lots of illustration, both black and white and color. Most were created and printed locally, but a substantial number were national brands created elsewhere and stamped with local businesses. Forms include newspapers, trade cards, handbills, a telephone index (address book), a coaster, a label, booklets, pamphlets, almanacs, letterheads, programs, and envelopes. Images from this collection are the focus of the new Friends of the Lawrence Public Library Historical Calendar of the the year 2014.
The collection also includes a large scrapbook of advertisements on the verso side of pictures of the old masters on the recto. The advertisements are hand lettered in many colors on the black pages and colored illustrations are pasted on. The style of dress looks like the late teens or early twenties of the 20th century. The image above is from that scrapbook.
Hispanic immigration began in the 1960s, first from Puerto Rico and then from the Dominican Republic. By 1984 there were more than 10,000 Hispanics living in the city. The native “Lawrencians” perceived the newcomers as a threat in housing, job completion, and city culture. It was a hot, muggy evening, August 8, 1984, when a confrontation broke out over a broken car windshield. It started at the corner of Haverhill and Oxford Streets and moved to 448 Haverhill Street where Gary Gill was allegedly beaten with bats by the group of Hispanics. This morphed into a group of between 250 to 300 people on Oxford Street throwing rocks at each other and passing cars. During that five hour period guns were fired, 42 cars were stoned, and at least five buildings were set fire by way of Molotov cocktails. The local police took five hours to respond and they found that the “riot” was over. Twenty-two people were admitted to local emergency rooms and no one was killed.
The next night police were out in force, but again 300 to 400 rioters used the same means of the night before to incite each other to violence. August 10 the City was put on an 8:00 PM curfew. That was the end of the 1984 riots.
The Library has these two photographs and a paper written about the riots.
The Lawrence Public Library is searching for copies of the Patrican Mirror, yearbook for St. Patrick’s High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The Library is particularly interested in the year book of 1960. We will be happy to scan each an every book and return the original to the owner. At present the Library owns 1935, 1937, 1938, and 1939.
St. Patrick’s Parish was formed in 1868 and a wooden building was dedicated March 17, 1870. The present brick building was dedicated in 1894. St. Patrick’s School opened in 1906 by the Sisters of Charity of Halifax. Later a girls’ high school was added. The high school closed in 1976. The school now includes kindergarten through eighth grade. St. Patricks merged with St. Augustines in 2010 anndrenamed the Lawrence Catholic Academy.
The Lawrence Public Library has six volumes of this magazine published by the American Woolen Company starting in 1919 and continuing through 1922. It was published semi-monthly from the company offices in Boston. The issues of this magazine talk about the work going on in the mills as well as much detail about workers lives including many photographs of indivduals and groups. Mills covered in these publications include the Wood, the Ayer, and the Washington Mills, all in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Other topics of interest were patriotism, how to become a citizen, housing, disparaging Communism, high cost of loafing, household hints, and financial advice. Prospect Mills in Fitchburg, Mass., Medford Mills in Medford, Bradford Mills, Bradford, Mass., Weybosset Mills in Providence, RI, and a number of others were added. The vast majority of the covers of the magazine showed sheep from various locations. The few exceptions are shown here.
The workers told their stories through the events of their lives: weddings, promotions, deaths, births, vacations, fishing trips, induction into the military and mustering out. The Library, with the help of dedicated volunteers, has completed an index of all the names of workers employed at the Lawrence mills published in these volumes.
The Library just acquired a samll collection concerning Augustine Regan. It includes a small scrapbook with newspaper clippings and the above photograph and a number of other photographs.
Augustine “Gussie” D. Regan was born in 1898 in Lawrence, Mass. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Dennis F. Regan. He died November 7, 1918 at Latimni, just before the Armistice was called. He was the last Lawrence soldier to die in the Great War. He was a corporal in Company K of 23rd Infantry. His friends, the “West End Boys”, enlisted together, July 17, 1917: Thomas J. (Reddy) Stephens, Fred (Brooksie) Harrison, Leon (Jean) Valcourt, Clifton Smith, Frank McNulty, and Hector LeFleur. Clifton Smith was the first to die. Leon Valcourt was next. Regan was initially buried in an American cemetery in France. A year later the body was disinterred and brought back to Lawrence to be buried at Immaculate Conception Cemetery. Both Valcourt and Regan were cited for bravery. Plans were made to name a square after Augustine Regan. That square, at Five Points, the intersection of Bodwell, Hancock, Melrose, Medford, and Margin Streets, was indeed named after Corp. Regan and the sign is still there (2013).