COOL Cultural Organization of Lowell

Street Team Blog

Exploring Lowell with our Interns: Jack Kerouac

On Monday, COOL interns Janessa, Marangely, Michelle and Amauris decided to visit a few locations such as the Jack Kerouac Park, Lowell High School, and the Boott Cotton Mills. We wanted to learn more about Jack Kerouac and his life.

 

Jack Kerouac Park was the first stop that we visited. Jack Kerouac was a well-known author who was born and raised here in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was born on March 12, 1922. Growing up, Kerouac wrote about his childhood and how much he loved religion.

Religion became a “high note” in the majority of his writings. He became famous for the well-known novel “On the Road.” Kerouac died on October 21, 1969 in St. Petersburg, Florida at the age of 47. As a dedication to Jack Kerouac and all of his famous writings, a memorial was created for him in 1988, which later became a park named after him.

 

As we were exploring Kerouac Park we thought about how beautiful it was. We spotted his memorial and took a look at it. The memorial had Jack Kerouac’s name printed on it in big letters. It also said his birth and death date. Then we looked at all the other stones that were there in the park. We noticed how all the stones had different writing on them, consisting of little stories and excerpts from Kerouac’s writing. One of the stories on a stone was about how when Jack had first arrived in Lowell, he felt like he was an alien who discovered a whole different world.

Another place that we went to explore was Lowell High School. LHS was opened in 1831 as the first co-educational high school, enrolling both male and female students. It was first located on Middlesex Street then later moved in 1840 to a new location along the Merrimack Canal. LHS had expanded over time and later tunnels were put in to connect the buildings together. The tunnels helped students switch buildings and get to their classes faster. We discovered that Jack Kerouac was an alumni at Lowell High School. He was on the football team and track star. After high school, Kerouac earned a football scholarship to Columbia University.

  

The last place we visited was the Boott Cotton Mills, which opened in 1835. Thousands of mechanical looms filled its long corridors, and the complex was packed with workers churning out millions of yards of textiles a year. The Mills employed many people including women and children. Women fought for some of the country’s early labor and equal rights because they were working 12-14 hours per day and the working conditions were poor. Since he lived in Centralville, the Boott Cotton Mills became a big part of Jack’s life. Every day, he would hear the shrieks of the mills’ whistles 3-4 times a day from across the river.

 

All in all, exploring all of these places helped give us a better understanding about Jack Kerouac’s life in Lowell.

Written by Michelle Sann and Amauris Delvalle

 

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