"Quiet as the Grave"
In 1864, the Lowell Daily Courier reported that "all the cotton manufactories of any importance in this city have been quiet as the grave."
The outbreak of the Civil War severed the supply of slave-produced cotton. Many of Lowell's corporations gambled on a short conflict, sold their raw cotton inventory at a large profit, and temporarily closed or rebuilt their aging mills.
Suffolk Mills, later renamed Wannalancit, in front of you, and the now demolished Tremont Mills, both reduced production to small quantities of woolen goods while enlarging their factories.
Some workers found employment on mill construction crews. But when it became clear that the war would not end quickly, many returned to their rural homes or moved to other cities, causing a costly shortage of trained operators when the mills reopened.
[Photo captions read]
Slave-produced cotton was sent from ports like Charleston, South Carolina, (shown here in the 1850s) aboard clipper ships to textile centers in New England, Britain, and Europe.
African-American slaves prepared cotton for the gin, (right) at Smith's plantation, Port Royal,
Erected by National Park Service.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Agriculture • Industry & Commerce • War, US Civil. A significant historical year for this entry is 1864.
Location. 42° 38.955′ N, 71° 18.927′ W. Marker is in Lowell, Massachusetts, in Middlesex County. Marker is on Suffolk Street north of Father Morissette Boulevard, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 600 Suffolk Street, Lowell MA 01854, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Stele for the Merrimack (within shouting distance of this marker); Blending Old and New (within shouting distance of this marker); Keepers of the Gate (within shouting distance of this marker); Suffolk Mill (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Life on the Corporation (approx. ¼ mile away); St. Anne's Church (approx. ¼ mile away); Irish Labor (approx. 0.3 miles away); Debating Slavery (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lowell.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 8, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 27, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 176 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on May 27, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.