The following was submitted as a letter to the editor by State Reps. Thomas Stanley, Michael Barrett and John Lawn.
We are proud to represent a city so rich with history, especially as we celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of the Francis Cabot Lowell at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham. Though many of us drive by the “Mill” every day, few people are aware of its special historical contribution to Waltham, the Commonwealth, and the nation.
In 1810, Francis Cabot Lowell, during a time when the nation still depended on other countries for manufactured goods, visited the mills of Manchester, England and saw both power spinning mills and power weaving mills. Convinced that he could reinvent the machinery, Lowell teamed up with a mechanic, Paul Moody, and built the first integrated (meaning spinning and weaving were done in the same building) textile mill in the world in Waltham. Being the only site within 20 miles of Boston where there is a river with a significant waterfall to power the mill, the location beside the Charles River was chosen and in 1813, Lowell founded the Boston Manufacturing Company.
Two hundred years later, there are many reasons why the Mill has such historical significance. The Mill was the first place in the world to employ women as operatives and the first place in the new world to pay operatives a cash wage. The Mill was the first large industrial enterprise in the new nation to be financed by a corporation, or a group of people acting as one. Later in 1820, the corporation found a larger waterfall and site near Chelmsford on the Merrimack River, where they created the first industrial city in the world: Lowell, Massachusetts, named after the founder of the Waltham mill.
The Mill is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. The editors of the 1976 Bicentennial issue of Life Magazine, illustrating and commemorating all the major events in 200 years of American history, called the Mill located in Waltham the fourth most important site in American history for this reason.
On its 200th anniversary, we congratulate the Trustees of the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation and members of the Lowell and Cabot Families and celebrate the bicentennial of Francis Cabot Lowell, industrial pioneer and economic revolutionary.
Rep. Tom Stanley
Rep. John Lawn
Sen. Mike Barrett