Located in downtown Lowell, MA.
Corner of Shattuck and Market Streets
In 1821 Hugh Commisky led a
band of laborers on a trek from
Charlestown to Lowell. With muscle
and sweat they dredged canals in
the soil of rugged farmland. As
others joined in their toil a complex
waterpower system evolved, creat-
ing a new era of textile production.
When one generation had endured
and the clamor of manufacturing
increased, immigrants came by
the thousands seeking labor and
a better life. This fountain cele-
brates workers and their contribu-
tion to industrial and human heritage.
Lowell Heritage State Park
Lowell National Historical Park
ARTIST(S): Elliot Schwartz, sculptor; Ivan Schwartz, sculptor.
DATE: Installed 1985.
DATE: Installed 1985.
From the Lowell Historical Society,
|Hugh Commiskey dies, at his home on Adams Street, at age of 82, December 12, 1871.|
Book about the Irish of Lowell, 1821-1861. Information from Amazon, see link below.
Brian C. Mitchell. The Paddy Camps: The Irish of Lowell, 1821-1861. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006. xviii + 247 pp. $25.00 (paper), ISBN 978-0-252-07338-0.
Reviewed by Patricia Kelleher (Department of History, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania)
Published on H-Urban (December, 2006)
"Mitchell traces the establishment of Lowell's Irish community back to the arrival of Hugh Cummiskey, a labor foreman, and thirty of his charges who had walked from Charlestown to find work on a canal project which was designed to provide water power for the projected mill complex. Lowell's construction work attracted Yankee and Irish laborers throughout the 1820s. At first, Lowell's Yankee planners and officials did not perceive the small and highly transient Irish population as a permanent fixture within their enlightened enterprise. The Irish laborers threw up clusters of shanties for housing (paddy camps). Eventually, the number of women and children increased and a more established neighborhood, the "Acre," emerged. Living conditions were wretched but the authorities did not interfere with Irish folkways. Mitchell offers evidence that indicates that homeland regional loyalties remained strong among the laboring population, as did the use of the Gaelic language. While Mitchell's tenor is sanguine, the situation he describes is stark. The Irish were physically segregated, they were virtually excluded from millwork and, as the term "paddy camps" suggests, anti-Irish prejudice was endemic. However, Mitchell presents the 1820s to the early 1840s as an era of accommodation between the Yankee and Irish middle classes. For the Irish, middle class is a relative term indeed considering the modest resources commanded by that segment. The accommodation Mitchell perceives relates to a level of Yankee support and approval for Irish self-improvement projects such as temperance, for peaceful agitation for Repeal of the Union between Ireland and Britain and, most significantly, because of a compromise which ensured that Catholics would teach in the public schools set aside for Irish children."