Lowell, Massachusetts, a city in Middlesex County. It is at the junction of the Concord and Merrimack rivers, about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of downtown Boston. Waterpower from the Merrimack's 32-foot (10-m) Pawtucket Falls and a system of canals were important factors in the establishment of Lowell as a textile center. For more than 100 years, Lowell dominated the woolen and cotton textile industry and was known as “the spindle city.” Beginning in the 1920's, however, many of the textile mills moved to the South.
Major industries include printing and publishing and the manufacture of textiles, garments, electrical machinery, food products, paper, and leather goods. The University of Massachusetts Lowell was established in 1975 by a merger of Lowell State College (1897) and Lowell Technological Institute (1913). Parts of Lowell, including its canal system and several mills, have been made a National Historical Park.
Lowell was settled in 1653. It was incorporated as a town in 1826 and as a city in 1836. It was named for the textile manufacturer Francis Cabot Lowell. The artist James McNeill Whistler was born here. His home is a museum.