When we think textile mills, we think Lowell. But some of the surrounding towns had vibrant mill economies, as well. Such as the case in Billerica which had the Faulkner Mills in the northern part of town. The Faulkner Mill complex still stands and is home to the Middlesex Canal Museum (71 Faulkner Street, North Billerica). The Museum’s visitor center is open every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 pm and tells the history of the Middlesex Canal which linked the Merrimack River in Lowell with the Charles River in Boston and which, in the days before railroads, was a key transportation link in the explosive growth of Lowell’s textile economy.
The Middlesex Canal Museum is sponsoring a couple of interesting events in October that might be of interest to readers. Full information is available on the Museum’s website, but here’s some info from the site about both events:
Sun, Oct 5, 2014. Bicycle Tour of the Historic Middlesex Canal. MassBike, the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission, the Middlesex Canal Commission and the Middlesex Canal Association will sponsor the 12th annual bicycle tour of the canal. Participants will meet at 9:00am by the Canal marker at the Sullivan Square MBTA station. From there the group will ride about 28 miles to the Mill Village and Canal Museum by the Concord River Millpond in North Billerica with a brown bag lunch stop in Woburn. The tour should reach Billerica in time to catch the 3:07 pm train for those going back to Boston. The tour will continue on to Lowell, arriving there in time for the 5:00 pm train back to Boston.
Sun, Oct 19, 2014: Joint Middlesex Canal Association – Appalachian Mountain Club Fall Walk. This walk is jointly listed as a Local Walk of the Boston Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). “Show and Go”; meet at 1:30pm at the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitor Center at the Faulkner Mill at 71 Faulkner Street in North Billerica. The Museum and Visitor Center, including the bookstore, will open at 12 noon. The 2-2½ hour walk will cover part of the Merrimack branch of the canal in Billerica and Chelmsford, about 3 to 4 miles over generally level wooded terrain and streets. Sites to visit en route will include a guard lock, the anchor stone for the floating towpath that bridged the Concord River, and many stretches of watered canal.