This Saturday, November 3, 2018, the city of Lowell will celebrate the 200th birthday of Ben Butler, the iconic Civil War general and politician from Lowell. The big event begins on Saturday at 3 pm at Lowell High’s Burgoyne Theater (within the Freshmen Academy with entrance on John Street between French and Paige). This and all other events are free and open to the public.
Here’s a press release from the organizers of the event:
Benjamin Franklin Butler, Distinguished Lowell High School alumnus, was born on November 5, 1818. He graduated from LHS in 1831. At that time that his mother ran a boarding house for Lowell Mill Girls. He went on to become one of the most important figures in Lowell history and a major figure in American history of the mid- to late-1800s. Butler was a Civil War general, US Congressional Representative for Massachusetts, and held many other important positions for Massachusetts. He was a tireless defender of civil rights, especially of African Americans, and held progressive views far ahead of his time.
In order to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin Butler’s birth, Lowell High School, UMass Lowell’s History Department, The Lowell Historical Society, and the Lowell National Historical Park are partnering to present a weekend celebration of Butler.
Events begin with the annual opening of the private Hildreth Cemetery site where Butler is buried at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 3. This is the only time that the public is allowed into the private cemetery, which is located at 270 Hildreth St. beyond the public cemetery. The restoration of the major statue there will be unveiled.
Following this, an exhibit will open in the Mogan Cultural Center on French Street with items from Butler’s life. The exhibit opens on Saturday morning on Nov. 3.
At 3:00 p.m. on the same day, a program will be held at Lowell High School’s Burgoyne Theater in the Freshman Academy. The program keynote is by Prof. Bob Forrant of the UML History department. Other elements of the program include addresses by Butler descendants Valeria Palmer and Oakes Plimpton, as well as Brian Martin and Robert DeLossa. A special guest from the past will also be featured. This program will be followed by a reception with a birthday cake for Benjamin Butler.
On Sunday, Nov. 4, there will be a living history “Conversation with Benjamin Butler” at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum at 115 John St. at 11:00 a.m.
All events are free and open to the public.