My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

There Is A Lot to Like About Lowell -- Franco American School

"There is A Lot to Like About Lowell" is the city slogan.
(See tab on right side called "Lowell Series" for many more articles about Lowell.)


Lowell had their annual Open Doors Lowell this past weekend. Approximately 33 various old and new buildings were open to the public, and the Franco American School was on the top of my list of those to see. The above house was built in 1876 as a residence, and in 1908 it was sold to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate to be used as an orphanage for children of Franco-American heritage. In 1963 it became a school for boarding and day students, and in 1978 it became a school for day students only. The house is less than 4 miles from where I live, and this was the first time I had ever gone inside. There were quite a few visitors with us, and I'm sure everybody was glad to finally see the inside of this beautiful house.
Front door above, and one of the two panels of stained glass shown below.

Frederick Fanning Ayer House

"Frederick Ayer joined his brother, the patent medicine manufacturer J. C. Ayer, in Lowell. In time he managed to gain control of several companies and in the 1870s built this magnificent Second Empire style house to reflect his new position and wealth. Beatrice Ayer, the wife of General Patton, was born here."

From Wikipedia, "During a family summer trip to Catalina Island in 1902, Patton met Beatrice Banning Ayer, the daughter of Boston industrialist Frederick Ayer. The two wed on May 26, 1910 in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts." Beatrice was born in Lowell, as shown on the Lowell birth register, although other sources say Haverhill and Boston. Her death information on may be seen HERE.

 These two fall photos were taken in November 2016.

CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY – UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL LIBRARIES has a  link to their to the below information. Please see their link at:

"In 2006, the University of Massachusetts of Lowell, Center for Lowell History in partnership with the Lowell National Historical Park and the Franco American School developed the Franco American Orphanage Project. The goal of this project was to preserve and make available to the public Franco American Orphanage and School Records from 1908-1972."

During my research about the house and occupants, I discovered from Wikipedia, there is another Ayer house, this one is in Boston. "His home in Lowell is now the Franco American School, a Catholic school, and the Frederick Ayer Mansion on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts is a National Historic Landmark." NOTE: I just discovered that public tours are given inside the Mansion, and I'm booking one in June. See their link HERE. FOLLOW-UP: I visited the Ayer Mansion, and wrote a blog post consisting mostly of photos. Please see HERE.

April 2018 New Update...see at the end.
UPDATE: April 27, 2016: From the Lowell Sun newspaper
Over a century old, future of old Ayer mansion is uncertain in Lowell as school set to close
Read more:

UPDATE: August 10, 2016  From The Sun Newspaper

"Sale of historic Lowell property to hinge on preservation"

"Franco American School to be sold to local development team"

Franco American School: Some history by Richard Howe

"Take A Tour of the Franco American School rehab"  (120 photos)
The Lowell Sun, April 13, 2018

"Franco American School to become homes, offices -- with history intact"
By Rick Sobey,