Lowell, city (1990 pop. 103,439), a seat of Middlesex co., NE Mass., at the confluence of the Merrimack and Concord rivers; settled 1653, set off from Chelmsford 1826, inc. as a city 1836. High-technology computer industries have developed there; other manufactures include electronic and electrical equipment, textiles, rubber products, chemicals, machine parts, foodstuffs, shoes, and plastics. The city grew after textile mills were built at Pawtucket Falls, and it became one of the major textile centers of the country. The Boott Cotton Mills Museum, several "mill girl" boardinghouses, and the town's historic canal system are preserved in the Lowell National Historical Park, which also traces 19th-century industrial development (see National Parks and Monuments (table)); the American Textile History Museum is adjacent. A campus of the Univ. of Massachusetts is in Lowell. The city has several fine parks, and James Whistler's birthplace is preserved. Charles Dickens visited Lowell in 1842 and described it in American Notes.
See J. P. Coolidge, Mill and Mansion (1942, repr. 1967); T. Bender, Toward an Urban Vision (1982).