Lowell National Historic Park
Established in 1978, Lowell National Historical Park preserves the American Industrial Revolution in Lowell in a unique fashion. The park offers visitors an in-depth look into the textile industry that was the heart of the city with a working cotton mill exhibit, canal boat tours, and trolley rides to move you around the city.
For more information, visit the Lowell National Historical Park website for hours and admission.
The mills of Lowell
Nearly 100 years after their heyday, trolleys are beginning to appear on the urban landscape once again. A number of cities in the United States are finding this older form of transportation an economically effective and environmentally sound alternative to cars and buses. In Lowell, planning has begun to expand trolley service into other parts of the downtown. For now, visitors can enjoy riding the trolleys on the nearly two miles of track operated by the National Park Service. The trolleys typically run from March through November. Visitors of all ages can ride the trolleys free of charge.
New Orleans No. 966, currently in Lowell as part of the “On Track” exhibit, is one of the famed cars that rolled through the French Quarter and inspired Tennessee Williams’ play “A Streetcar Named Desire.” The car, built by Perley-Thomas of High Point, North Carolina in 1924, ran throughout the Crescent City until 1964. Its sister cars still run on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. A preservation group in Alabama saved number 966 but their plans were not successful and the car fell into disrepair. The Seashore Trolley Museum acquired the car in the early 1980’s and its members sponsored its complete rebuilding and restoration at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine, bringing the car back into operation.
It has come to Lowell as an appropriate national symbol to complement the “On Track” exhibit. Special thanks go to the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority for lending a set of trucks and motors compatible with the track in Lowell, thus enabling its operation in the city.
The Streetcars of Lowell National Historical Park
Lowell Historical National Park Open Trolley 1601As part of the development of Lowell National Historical Park, trolley service was re-established in 1984 in Lowell’s downtown to transport park visitors in the city. The Park acquired one closed and two open trolleys which are replicas of trolleys built by the J. G. Brill Company and operated by the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway Company, successor to the Bay State Street Railway Company. These were the first accurate replica trolleys built in the United States.