In the early 1800s, this planned industrial town used an extensive canal system around area waterways to power its mills, giving rise to a to a thriving manufacturing community largely comprised of immigrants and working women. Lowell's "Mill Girls" made up 75 percent of its work force. These early 19th century young women left their homes on New England farms for jobs in the booming textile industry. Today, visitors can tour the canals by boat and see renovated mill buildings where workers endured long hours in a harsh working environment, eventually fighting for and paving the way for better labor conditions.

Lowell's "Mill Girls"

In the early 1800s, 75 percent of the workers in Lowell's textile mills were female. The average age of a "Mill Girl" was 24 years old, although some were as young as 10 and others were middle-aged.


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