Learning the History of America’s Textile Mill Industry

The US National Park Service is back in business! After the17-days United States government shutdown, National Historical Parks are open to tourists. Lucky for me and hubby! It gave us the opportunity to visit Lowell National Historical Park in Massachusetts. Before this visit, I knew nothing about the rise of the factory system in the US or the textile industry.

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The city of Lowell in Massachusetts rose as an industrial area in the second quarter of the 19th Century with 40 textile mills employing more than 10,000 workers. Two of these mills are attractions run by the National Park Service.

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Boott Cotton Mills Museum features exhibits on how the cotton mills operated and the role of the workers.

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It also relates the discontent that grew among workers as machines became more important than they were. Their daily life was ruled by the clock.

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Today, Boott Mills run a few machines which weave cloth for dish towels sold at the Visitor Center.

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A short walk from Boott Museum is the Mill Girls Boarding House. Like working in the mill, their life in the boarding house was also ruled by the clock. They ate at designated times and slept at 10pm. They were served hearty meals to get them through the rigorous schedule in the mills.

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A Trolley Tour headed by a Park Ranger, brings visitors to Wannalancit Mills.

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There, one could learn about how the canals that powered the mills worked.

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The Park Ranger also shows how weaving machines are operated.

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Along the way to the museums, one gets a glimpse of the canals.

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Nearby parks offer places to sit and trivial things to enjoy.

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