Lowell in Middlesex County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
Keepers of the Gate
Gatekeepers inherited a carefully designed waterpower system. Since 1823, when the huge waterwheel at Merrimack Mills started turning, company engineers searched for ways to prevent or reduce fluctuations in power. They pooled water behind dams to offset dry weather and drought. Company agents purchased water rights upriver in New Hampshire. And finally, gatekeepers carefully manipulated the machinery inside each gatehouse to control the amount of water delivered to mills along the almost six miles of canal.
(Inscription beside the photo on the lower left)
Vigilant gatekeepers at Tremont gatehouse (right) hand cranked sluice gates to try to maintain a steady flow of water to Lowell’s power-generating equipment. After the 1950s, gatekeepers used electronic equipment at Swamp Locks (left) to centralize the control of the flow at several gatekeepers. On occasion, despite gatekeepers’ best efforts, nature refused to cooperate and low water forced mills to slow down.
Erected by Lowell
Location. 42° 38.917′ N, 71° 18.95′ W. Marker is in Lowell, Massachusetts, in Middlesex County. Marker is at the intersection of Suffolk Street and Father Morissette Boulevard, on the right when traveling north on Suffolk Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Lowell MA 01852, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Stele for the Merrimack (a few steps from this marker); "Quiet as the Grave" (within shouting distance of this marker); Blending Old and New (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Suffolk Mill (about 400 feet away); St. Anne's Church (approx. ¼ mile away); Irish Labor (approx. ¼ mile away); Debating Slavery (approx. ¼ mile away); Life on the Corporation (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lowell.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on May 26, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 23, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 294 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 23, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.