1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lawrence (Massachusetts)

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LAWRENCE, a city, and one of the three county-seats (Salem and Newburyport are the others) of Essex county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., on both sides of the Merrimac river, about 30 m. from its mouth and about 26 m. N.N.W. of Boston. Pop. (1890) 44,654, (1900) 62,559, of whom 28,577 were foreign-born (7058 being Irish, 6999 French Canadians, 5131 English, 2465 German, 1683 English Canadian), and (1910 census) 85,892. It is served by the Boston & Maine railroad and by electric railways to Andover, Boston, Lowell, Haverhill and Salem, Massachusetts, and to Nashua and Salem, New Hampshire. The city’s area of 6.54 sq. m. is about equally divided by the Merrimac, which is here crossed by a great stone dam 900 ft. long, and, with a fall of 28 ft., supplies about 12,000 horsepower. Water from the river is carried to factories by a canal on each side of the river and parallel to it; the first canal was built on the north side in 1845–1847 and is 1 m. long; the canal on the south side is about 3/4 m. long, and was built several years later. There are large and well-kept public parks, a common (17 acres) with a soldiers’ monument, a free public library, with more than 50,000 volumes in 1907, a city hall, county and municipal court-houses, a county gaol and house of correction, a county industrial school and a state armoury.

The value of the city’s factory product was $48,036,593 in 1905, $41,741,980 in 1900. The manufacture of textiles is the most important industry; in 1905 the city produced worsteds valued at $30,926,964 and cotton goods worth $5,745,611, the worsted product being greater than that of any other American city. The Wood worsted mill here is said to be the largest single mill in the world. The history of Lawrence is largely the history of its textile mills. The town was formed in 1845 from parts of Andover (S. of the Merrimac) and of Methuen (N. of the river), and it was incorporated as a town in 1847, being named in honour of Abbott Lawrence, a director of the Essex company, organized in 1845 (on the same day as the formation of the town) for the control of the water power and for the construction of the great dam across the Merrimac. The Bay State woollen mills, which in 1858 became the Washington mills, and the Atlantic cotton mills were both chartered in 1846. The Pacific mills (1853) introduced from England in 1854 Lister combs for worsted manufacture; and the Washington mills soon afterward began to make worsted dress goods. Worsted cloths for men’s wear seem to have been made first about 1870 at nearly the same time in the Washington mills here, in the Hockanum mills of Rockville, Connecticut, and in Wanskuck mills, Providence, Rhode Island. The Pemberton mills, built in 1853, collapsed and afterwards took fire on the 10th of January 1860; 90 were killed and hundreds severely injured. Lawrence was chartered as a city in 1853, and annexed a small part of Methuen in 1854 and parts of Andover and North Andover in 1879.

See H. A. Wadsworth, History of Lawrence, Massachusetts (Lawrence, 1880).