Nancy Pitkin sent the following about an upcoming selection of the Pollard Memorial Library’s nonfiction book group:
Father John’s Medicine is engraved in the lintel of one of the many renovated historic buildings in Lowell on Market Street and is now apartments. I’d always assumed that the name for Fr. John’s Medicine was a patent medicine marketing gimmick to entice you into purchasing it. Well, that is sort of true. Father John O’Brien of St. Patrick’s Church, in what is now the Acre, sent his parishioners to a local druggist for the “cough” in the early 1850’s and that led indirectly to the formation of a highly successful patent medicine company of the same name which operated in Lowell until the 1970’s. And there was a Lowell Street in Lowell. I can find a Lowell St. in Lowell (on Google maps) that now parallels Woburn St., but I don’t think this is the historic street they talk about in the book. And there was an Irish parish church, St. Mary’s, built within sight of Irish St. Peter’s Church.
Lowell was formed by the Boston Associates as a” great experiment in politics and civilization”. They developed boarding houses, lecture series and education for the Yankee mill girls which created an instant community. When the Irish came, they worked in the mills, but lived in their own homes and that created a completely different community. Think that might have created conflict in Lowell?
These are a few of the many nuggets of Lowell’s history to be found in “The Paddy Camps of Lowell” by Brian C. Mitchell, the Pollard Memorial Library’s Non-fiction Book Club’s latest selection. The writing of this book was supported in part by the Lowell Historical Preservation Commission and was published in 1985. Many of the pictures are from the archives of the Lowell Historical Society and the maps used in the book are on-line at the Mogan Center’s website, which helps in reading the book because you can get a better sense of the area of Lowell that is being discussed. And if you are attending any of the Saturday Lowell Walks, you might enjoy this book.
Join us for our discussion! The Pollard Memorial Library’s Non-fiction Book Club meets at 6:30 PM on the first Thursday of each the month in the PLM Community Room.