To the right stands a boardinghouse block built in 1837, for the Boott Cotton Mills workers. Dozens of company-owned boardinghouses served as home for the thousands of young, single women - Lowell's "mill girls."
This block was one of eight owned and managed by the Boott Corporation. Quarters were crowded, and rules were strict. Curfew was at 10 p.m., church attendance was mandatory, and improper behavior was prohibited. Still, the boardinghouse provided an atmosphere where workers shared experiences and forged bonds of solidarity.
As working conditions worsened, Yankee women resisted with strikes and petition drives. When their protests were ignored, they began to leave the mills.
Like Yankee women before them, immigrants came to Lowell for mill work. They usually chose to live in ethnic neighborhoods rather than corporation boardinghouses.
[Main illustration caption reads]
1876 Bird's eye view of the Boott Cotton Mills and its boardinghouses.
[Bottom left photo captions read]
· Workers in front of Boott Boardinghouse, Ca. 1870
· Booth Mills boardinghouse, pre-restoration, ca. 1985