On Location In Lowell — the Sequel
(Lowell’s motto is even embossed on its trash cans)
But my time at the ballpark represented just one aspect of my Lowell getaway, as I was also able to spend time in the city itself. This was easy enough to do, as my base of operations was the Brew’d Awakening coffee shop in the heart of downtown Lowell. I took advantage of that establishment’s strong coffee and even stronger internet connections, en route to cranking out articles and blog posts of unparalleled
Fortunately, I was able to wrest myself away from the unforgiving monster that is my laptop long enough to go on some explorations. Most notably, on the afternoon of July 8 I received a one-on-one guided tour of the city courtesy of the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.
This tour gave me much-needed perspective regarding Lowell’s history, and how it came to be the city it is today. And, perhaps most importantly, it helped to contextualize the Spinners’ baseball experience.
Why the team is called the Spinners in the first place? And why their logo is a baseball bat wrapped with yarn?
Lowell was founded in the 1820s, and played an important role in America’s Industrial Revolution. The city is named after Francis Cabot Lowell, an industrialist who spearheaded the campaign to turn the area into an all-in-one textile manufacturing center. Raw cotton shipped from the South was transformed into fine cloth through the processes of carding, spinning, and weaving.
Hence, the Spinners.
While Lowell is no longer a manufacturing epicenter, there are many purveyors of yarn and fine cloth in the downtown area. There is also a quilt museum, which, if I was my Mom, I most certainly would have visited.
The Spinners’ Mascot is Named “Canaligator”. Why?
Visiting Lowell dashed my naive hope that the city would be full of alligators. As it turns out, alligators do not live in New England at all. Their personalities do not generally mesh well with the Puritanical stoicism that characterizes the region’s human population. “Canaligator” is instead a nod to the fact that Lowell boasts the largest system of canals in the United States. These canals were used as a direct source of power for the mills.The canals are well worth checking out, and guided tours are available. I took such a tour:
Lowell has a lot of charm and personality due to the way that its industrial past meshes with the post-industrial present. Today, many of the mills have been converted into condos. Pretty cool place to live, right?
This walkway leads straight to LeLacheur Park. Somehow, I was able to get lost on said walkway on my return home from the stadium that night.
One of the boarding houses where New England farm girls were housed after re-locating to Lowell:
A look at the mills on display at the American Textile History Museum:
I’d like to thank Lowell Spinners GM Tim Bawmann for arranging the tour, and Kristen Deveau of the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau for providing it.
It occurs to me that this is the sort of thing I should do more often. After all — the only way to truly understand a team is to b
e able to understand the community in which it plays.
Don’t worry, though. I’ll be back tomorrow with video of a flatulent mascot, or something along those lines. I’ve got a paycheck to earn and a reputation to uphold.