Saturday’s The Lowell Review launch event at lala books reminded me that a bookstore is a great gathering place and an integral part of the life of a community. We’re fortunate to have lala books and another newly opened bookstore in Mill No. 5 called Lowell Book Company.
We also have Serpentine Books, an antiquarian bookstore, in Mill No. 5 and the UMass Lowell bookstore at University Crossing.
Paul Marion and I put our heads together to identify to recall past bookstores in Lowell. There was the unfortunately short-lived Hypertext Bookstore Café and John and Merrimack streets (now home of Purple Carrot Bread Company); the Barnes & Noble/UMass Lowell bookstore in the Bon Marche building on Merrimack Street, and Lowell Bookworks in the refurbished central fire station at Palmer and Middle streets (now Fuse Bistro).
Perhaps Lowell’s best-known bookstore was Prince’s on Merrimack Street opposite John. Also, Harvey’s Bookland at Central Street and in Centralville before that. There was also a Waldenbooks on Merrimack Street opposite Central, near Woolworths.
We also have vague memories of a bookstore on Broadway near Wilder, close to the UMass Lowell south campus, and a used bookstore on Bridge Street opposite Lee, across from the shoeshine shop.
Curious about bookstores from earlier eras, I looked in several City of Lowell directories and found the following identified as bookstores and booksellers:
1874 City Directory
- Frederick P. Coggeshall, 40 Merrimack Street
- Albert Colby & Sons, 140 Central Street
- H. Curry, 20 Middle Street
- A. Glidden, 166 Central Street
- Judson Judkins, 6 John Street
- Marston & Prince, 90 Merrimack Street
- Joshua Merrill & Son, 37 Merrimack Street
- Edward Sheahan, 26 Gorham Street
- Abel Whitney, 87 Merrimack Street
1900 City Directory
- Balch Brothers Co., Barristers’ Hall
- L. Cambridge, 314 Merrimack Street
- P. Coggeshall, 19 B Street
- Aime Gauthier, 520 Merrimack Street
- Judson Judkins, 65 Merrimack Street
- Thomas H. Lawler, 79 Merrimack Street & 15 John Street
- Joshua Merrill & Son, 124 Central Street
- George C. Prince & Son, 108 Merrimack Street
- Tilton & Co., 9 Central Street
1928 City Directory
- Agnes G. McGaunn (old and rare books), 206 Appleton Street
- George E. Merritt, 23 East Merrimack Street
- Antoni Olszanski, 110 Lake View Ave.
- G. Pollard Co., 144-152 Merrimack Street and 94-100 Middle Street
- C. Prince & Son Inc., 108 Merrimack Street and 55-57 Middle Street
1960 City Directory
- Harvey’s Bookland, 6 Lilley Ave and 659 Merrimack Street
- Agnes G. McGaunn, 212 Appleton Street
- Merritt’s Book Store, 202 French Street
- C. Prince & Son, Inc, 104-106 Merrimack Street and 55-63 Middle Street