Introduction to Lawrence, Massachusetts
The Massachusetts city of Lawrence is located in Essex County on the Merrimack River. Situated off of Interstate I-495 about 30 miles north of Boston, the city was named for Abbott Lawrence, a wealthy industrialist associated with the early establishment of textile mills in the area in the 1840s. Known as the "Immigrant City" owing to its high percentage of foreign-born residents, Lawrence for a while served as the residence of noted poet Robert Frost and the location where he published his first poem.
Incorporated in 1853, Lawrence quickly established itself as a prime industrial center and a world leader in the production of cotton and woolen textiles from its massive mills. In 1912 the city became the focus of international attention as the site of one of the most significant events in American labor history. The "Bread and Roses" strike occurred after factory owners responded to a new state law reducing the maximum workweek from 56 to 54 hours by speeding up production and cutting workers' pay. Most of Lawrence’s 30,000 textile workers walked off the job and maintained their solidarity for nine weeks in the midst of a harsh winter. Increasingly violent methods were used to suppress the protest, leading to public outcry and an ensuing Congressional investigation which eventually forced the mill owners to give in to most of the strikers' demands. Lawrence today remains an urban center with a large percentage of its economy still manufacturing-based in spite of the relocation trend of manufacturing industries southward and overseas. The city's textile, apparel and shoe companies have in recent years been joined by newer companies in technology, health care and other types of manufacturing, and many of its former mill buildings have been converted into residential, commercial, and educational sites.
Points of Interest in Lawrence
The City of Lawrence offers a variety of recreational, historical and cultural attractions. The Lawrence Heritage State Park contains a restored boarding house with two floors of interactive exhibits chronicling Lawrence's mill workers and industry. Pemberton Park offers views of the city’s mills and historic dam, as well as walking trails, fishing, and boating. Lawrence Riverfront State Park offers walking trails along with tennis, basketball, and street hockey courts. The Essex Art Center contains a spacious gallery showcasing the work of local artists as well as work centers and a variety of studios for drawing, painting, textiles, murals, and other forms of artistic expression. The facility also offers continuous after-school and evening programs for kids and adults, vacation camps, and workshops.
Lawrence also hosts a wide range of ethnic festivals that celebrate the city's diversity and rich heritage. These include: Irish Heritage Month, celebrated throughout the month of March; Semana Hispana, a celebration of Latino Heritage which takes place on the third weekend in June: Labor Day weekend's Feast of the Three Saints, an Italian festival; The Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of Lawrence’s diversity and labor history, which also takes place on Labor Day; the Robert Frost Festival, held on the fourth Saturday in October; and Italian Heritage Month, celebrated throughout the month of October.
Located only thirty minutes away in the Boston metropolitan area are first-class attractions which include the JFK Library and Museum, the Boston Pops, the Museum of Fine Arts, the New England Aquarium, the Old North Church, the Freedom Trail, the Paul Revere House, and a whole lot more. The city is also home to a variety of major league pro sports teams, including the Boston Red Sox, inhabitants of baseball's storied Fenway Park; the legendary Boston Celtics of NBA basketball fame; the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League; and the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse. An additional thirty minutes away is the home of the NFL's New England Patriots and Major League Soccer's New England Revolution, who play at Foxboro's Gillette Stadium.