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What is the Acre?

The exhibit, “What is the Acre?” was created for Western Avenue Studios as part of the July 16, 2022 event "Celebrating Diversity – Lowell Has It!" A joint effort of Lowell Historical Society, the Pollard Memorial Library, and the UMass Lowell University Library the exhibit focuses on the rich history of the Lowell neighborhood where the studios reside. The Western Avenue building, once a dynamo of textile manufacturers Mass Mohair and Joan Fabrics, has been rehabbed for artists to work and showcase their creations.

From its beginning, the Acre has been a gateway for immigrant groups and other newcomers as well as a mixed use neighborhood which included residences, trade, and manufacturing. While “What is the Acre?" is not a comprehensive history, it gives historical context while highlighting the people and places that have come and gone, from the Stone House tavern overlooking the Pawtucket Falls to the American success story of the Market Basket super market chain, which had its beginnings here.

                                              What is the Acre exhibit URL

"What is the Acre?" was on display at Western Avenue Studios for July and August 2022 and can presently be viewed at the O'Leary Library Mezzanine for the month of September.

                  St Patrick's Church 1831

Exhibit Highlight: Drawing the First St. Patrick’s Church of Lowell, dedicated July 3, 1831 Lowell Historical Society.

    The Stone House Lowell 19th Century

Exhibit Highlight: The Stone House from The Industrial Advantages of Lowell, Mass. and Environs by W.H. Goodfellow, 1895, Center for Lowell History.

   Trojan Horse the Acre Greek picnic

Exhibit Highlight: Greek Picnic with Trojan Horse, parking lot of the Transfiguration Church, June 1981, Lowell Sun Collection, Lowell Historical Society, Center for Lowell History.
Exhibit Information: Created by Bridget Cooley at the Pollard Memorial Library and Tony Sampas at the Center for Lowell History with assistance from the Lowell Historical Society, Dave McKean, Walter Hickey, and Bill Walsh. Materials were provided by the Center for Lowell History or the Pollard Memorial Library unless otherwise credited.