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.


Total Population 78,804
Male Share of the Population 47.7%
Female Share of the Population 52.3%
Senior Citizens 9.2%
Employed Population 16+ 32,985
Age of the Population 31


% of people married 33.5%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 11.3%
Median Earnings25+ $28,018
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $20,813
Median Earnings With High School Degree $28,018


Median Family Income $36,600
% Above Poverty Level 71.6%
% Below Poverty Level 28.4%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 23 minutes
% Working from Home 2.8%
% Walking and Biking to Work 5%
% Using Public Transportation 4.4%


People Living Alone 23.4%
Median Gross Rent $1,017
Median House Value $219,600


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 77.4%
US/American 0%
English 2%
Irish 5%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Lawrence Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 24 miles N of Boston, Massachusetts
County Essex
Standard Zip Codes 01840, 01841, 01843
P.O. Box Zip Codes 01842
Phone Area Codes 978
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 42.706
Longitude -71.163

Lawrence Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 0.5 miles
Jan Temp 15 to 35 F
Apr Temp 35 to 57 F
Jul Temp 61 to 83 F
Oct Temp 38 to 62 F
Annual Precip 44 inches
Distance 6.4 miles
Jan Temp 16 to 35 F
Apr Temp 35 to 58 F
Jul Temp 61 to 84 F
Oct Temp 39 to 62 F
Annual Precip 46.8 inches
Distance 10.5 miles
Jan Temp 17 to 38 F
Apr Temp 37 to 58 F
Jul Temp 62 to 83 F
Oct Temp 42 to 64 F
Annual Precip 45.3 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Lawrence, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

South Lawrence (01843)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Andover 8,783 $130,347
Dracut 30,691 $91,836
Haverhill 62,079 $73,343
North Andover 29,271 $128,571
Tewksbury 30,115 $107,734

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Lawrence Public Libraries

Lawrence Public Library
Lawrence, Massachusetts
(978) 682-1727
Library Web Site

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More Information for Librarians

Lawrence Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
(978) 683-4000
Emergency Service: Yes

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Lawrence High Schools

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Serves 2,501 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 21.2

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Serves 122 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 6.8

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