Built in the 1820s, Lowell, Massachusetts took the idea of a mill town and scaled it up to a factory city. Utilizing the power of the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, its textile mills grew until its population reached 33,000 by 1850. The workers were primarily immigrants and predominantly women, many of whom were single and lived in boarding houses like the one you can tour today in Lowell National Historical Park.
Mill Girls and Immigrants Exhibit, Boot Cotton Mills Museum, canal boat tours, Lower Locks, Jack Kerouac Commemorative Park
It is worth the entry fee to go inside Boott Cotton Mills Museum to hear, feel, and see early-1900s machines still running and learn more about the manufacturing process, living conditions, and labor unrest.
Not a traditional trail, but it is a short walk along the historic canals from the NPS Visitor Center to Boott Cotton Mills Museum, the Lower Locks, and the Commemorative Park to author Jack Kerouac.
Hand dug canals from the Concord and Merrimack Rivers powered the Lower Locks in downtown Lowell.
None for most sites and NPS Visitor Center (free parking there), but Boott Cotton Mills Museum charges $6 per adult for admission (discount with America the Beautiful pass).
All roads paved
Harold Parker State Forest has a campground open in summer 13 miles east of Lowell.
Explore More – How did the “kiss of death” slowly kill many textile workers?