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Lawrence, Massachusetts

Lawrence, Massachusetts
Ayer Mill
Ayer Mill
Official seal of Lawrence, Massachusetts
Nickname(s): Lawtown, Immigrant City

Location in Essex County in Massachusetts imap_caption              =
Location in Essex County in Massachusetts

imap_caption =
Lawrence, Massachusetts is located in USA
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Essex
Settled 1655
Incorporated 1847
Incorporated (city) 1853
 • Type Mayor-council city
 • Mayor Dan Rivera
 • City Council President Modesto Maldonado
 • Total 7.4 sq mi (19.2 km2)
 • Land 7.0 sq mi (18.0 km2)
 • Water 0.5 sq mi (1.2 km2)
Elevation 16 ft (5 m)
Population (2014)
 • Total 78,167
 • Density 10,449.4/sq mi (4,034.5/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDST (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01840, 01841, 01842, 01843
Area code(s) 351 / 978
FIPS code 25-34550
Website .com.cityoflawrencewww

Lawrence is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States on the Merrimack River. As of 2013, the city has a total population of 77,657. Surrounding communities include Methuen to the north, Andover to the southwest, and North Andover to the southeast. It and Salem are the county seats of Essex County.[1] Lawrence is also part of the Merrimack Valley.

Manufacturing products of the city include electronic equipment, textiles, footwear, paper products, computers, and foodstuffs. Lawrence was the residence of Robert Frost for his early school years; his first essays and poems were published in the Lawrence High School Bulletin.[2]


  • History 1
    • Founding and rise as a textile center 1.1
      • The Bread and Roses Strike of 1912 1.1.1
    • Post-War history 1.2
      • Urban redevelopment and renewal 1.2.1
      • Events of the 1980s and 1990s 1.2.2
      • Recent trends 1.2.3
  • History of Lawrence immigrant communities 2
    • Immigrant communities, 1845–1920 2.1
      • The Irish 2.1.1
      • The Germans 2.1.2
      • The Italians 2.1.3
      • The French Canadians 2.1.4
      • The Lebanese 2.1.5
      • The Jews 2.1.6
      • The Polish 2.1.7
      • The English 2.1.8
      • Yankee farmers 2.1.9
    • New immigrants, 1970 to present 2.2
  • Geography 3
  • Transportation 4
  • Climate 5
  • Demographics 6
  • Government 7
    • Local 7.1
    • State and federal 7.2
    • Healthcare 7.3
  • Education 8
    • Public schools 8.1
    • Private schools 8.2
    • Higher education 8.3
  • Library 9
  • Media and communications 10
  • Economy 11
  • Points of interest 12
  • Notable people 13
  • See also 14
  • References 15
  • Further reading 16
  • External links 17


Founding and rise as a textile center

1912 Lawrence textile strike, Massachusetts National Guardsmen with fixed bayonets surround a parade of strikers.

Native Americans, namely the Pennacook or Pentucket tribe, had a presence in this area. Evidence of farming at Den Rock Park and arrowhead manufacturing on the site of where the Wood Mill now sits was discovered.[3] Europeans first settled the Haverhill area in 1640, colonists from Newbury following the Merrimack River in from the coast.[4] The area that would become Lawrence was then part of Methuen and Andover. The first settlement came in 1655 with the establishment of a blockhouse in Shawsheen Fields, now South Lawrence.

The future site of the city (formerly parts of [7] The Post Office, built in 1846, used the designation "Merrimac." Incorporation as a city would come in 1853, and the name "Lawrence", merely chosen as a token of respect to Abbott Lawrence, who it cannot be verified ever saw the city named after him.

Canals were dug on both the north and the south banks to provide power to the factories that would soon be built on its banks as both mill owners and workers from across the city and the world flocked to the city in droves; many were Irish labourers who had experience with similar building work. The work was dangerous: injuries and even death were not uncommon.[8]

Portrait of Ambassador Abbott Lawrence by G.P.A. Healy

The Bread and Roses Strike of 1912

Working conditions in the mills were unsafe and in 1860 the Pemberton Mill collapsed, killing 145 workers.[9] As immigrants flooded into the United States in the mid to late 19th century, the population of Lawrence abounded with skilled and unskilled workers from almost every nation in Europe: Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Poland, and Lithuania; French-Canadians from the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island; and farm girls from all over New England. Lawrence became known as Immigrant City very early in its existence, and can reasonably boast that for its small geographic size (less than 6 square miles) it has had more immigrants from a greater variety of countries in the world per capita, than any other city of its size on Earth.

Lawrence was the scene of the Bread and Roses Strike, also known as the Lawrence Textile Strike, one of the more important labor actions in American history. In 1912, Massachusetts law reduced the work week from 56 hours to 54 hours and subsequently lowered wages for thousands of women and child workers. The average worker at the time earned a $7 a week and paid an equal amount for their monthly rent. On January 11, mill workers discovered their pay had been reduced and went on strike. Fewer than 1,000 of the 25,000 workers who went on strike were members of a union. The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) provided most of the leadership for the strike and also provided food and clothing for the strikers. The Massachusetts National Guard, private, and city police countered strikers for two months. Because of dangerous conditions, small children were sent out of the city for their protection.[10] Although there were many skirmishes between the police, militia, and the strikers, only 2 people died and relatively few were injured on either side. Dynamite was found, and although newspapers originally accused the strikers, a local undertaker, John Breen, was arrested and charged - admitting that the president of a mill had paid him $500 to do so, in an attempt to discredit the IWW.[11] Immigrant groups normally mistrustful of one another banded together in the common cause of higher wages. When police and National Guard assaulted a group of women and children, public outcry forced mill owners to capitulate. The striking workers won wage increases for themselves and thousands of workers across New England. One of the major companies involved in the strike was the American Woolen Company, led by the son of a Portuguese immigrant, William Madison Wood who had risen through the ranks in the textile industry.

Post-War history

Lawrence was a great wool-processing center until that industry declined in the 1950s. The decline left Lawrence a struggling city. The population of Lawrence declined from over 80,000 residents in 1950 (and a high of 94,270 in 1920) to approximately 64,000 residents in 1980, the low point of Lawrence's population.

Urban redevelopment and renewal

Merrimack River at Lawrence

Like other northeastern cities suffering from the effects of post-World War II industrial decline, Lawrence has often made efforts at revitalization, some of them controversial. For example, half of the enormous Wood Mill, powered by the Great Stone Dam and once the largest mills in the world, was knocked down in the 1950s. The Lawrence Redevelopment Authority and city officials utilized eminent domain for a perceived public benefit, via a top down approach, to revitalize the city throughout the 1960s. Known first as urban redevelopment, and then urban renewal, Lawrence's local government's actions towards vulnerable immigrant and poor communities, contained an undercurrent of gentrification which lies beneath the goals to revitalize Lawrence. There was a clash of differing ideals and perceptions of blight, growth, and what constituted a desirable community. Ultimately the discussion left out those members of the community who would be directly impacted by urban redevelopment.[12]

Under the guise of urban renewal, large tracts of downtown Lawrence were razed in the 1970s, and replaced with parking lots and a three-story parking garage connected to a new Intown Mall intended to compete with newly constructed suburban malls. The historic Theater Row along Broadway was also razed, destroying ornate movie palaces of the 1920s and 1930s that entertained mill workers through the Great Depression and the Second World War. The city's main post office, an ornate federalist style building at the corner of Broadway and Essex Street, was razed. Most of the structures were replaced with one-story, steel-frame structures with large parking lots, housing such establishments as fast food restaurants and chain drug stores, fundamentally changing the character of the center of Lawrence.

Lawrence also attempted to increase its employment base by attracting industries unwanted in other communities, such as waste treatment facilities and incinerators. From 1980 until 1998, private corporations operated two trash incinerators in Lawrence. Activist residents successfully blocked the approval of a waste treatment center on the banks of the Merrimack River near the current site of Salvatore's Pizza on Merrimack Street.

Recently the focus of Lawrence's urban renewal has shifted to preservation rather than sprawl.

Events of the 1980s and 1990s

Immigrants from the Dominican Republic and migrants from Puerto Rico began arriving in Lawrence in significant numbers in the late 1960s, attracted by cheap housing and a history of tolerance toward immigrants. In 1984, tensions between remaining working class whites and increasing numbers of Hispanic youth flared into a riot, centered at the intersection of Haverhill Street and Oxford Street where a number of buildings were destroyed by Molotov cocktails and over 300 people were arrested.[13][14]

Lawrence saw further setbacks during the recession of the early 1990s as a wave of arson plagued the city. Over 200 buildings were set alight in an eighteen-month period in 1991–92, many of them abandoned residences and industrial sites.[15] The Malden Mills factory burned down on December 11, 1995. CEO Aaron Feuerstein decided to continue paying the salaries of all the now-unemployed workers while the factory was being rebuilt. By going against common CEO business practices, especially at a time when most companies were downsizing and moving overseas, he achieved recognition for doing the right thing.[16]

Recent trends

A sharp reduction in violent crime starting in 2004[17] and massive private investment in former mill buildings along the Merrimack River, including the remaining section of the historic Wood Mill – to be converted into commercial, residential and education uses – have lent encouragement to boosters of the city. One of the final remaining mills in the city is Malden Mills. Lawrence's downtown has seen a resurgence of business activity as Hispanic-owned businesses have opened along Essex Street, the historic shopping street of Lawrence that remained largely shuttered since the 1970s. In June 2007, the city approved the sale of the Intown Mall, largely abandoned since the early 1990s recession, to Northern Essex Community College for the development of a medical sciences center, the construction of which commenced in 2012 when the InTown Mall was finally removed.[18][19] A large multi-structure fire in January 2008 destroyed many wooden structures just south of downtown.[20] A poor financial situation that has worsened with the recent global recession and has led to multiple municipal layoffs has Lawrence contemplating receivership.[21]

History of Lawrence immigrant communities

Lawrence has been aptly nicknamed the "Immigrant City."[22] Starting with the Irish in the 1840s, it has been home to numerous different immigrant communities, most of whom arrived during the great wave of European immigration to America that ended in the 1920s. Since the early 1970s, Lawrence has become home to a sizable Hispanic population, primarily Dominicans and Puerto Ricans. In 2010, 74% of the population of Lawrence was Hispanic.

Immigrant communities, 1845–1920

Lawrence became home to large groups of immigrants from Europe, beginning with the Irish in 1845, Germans after the social upheaval in Germany in 1848, and French Canadians seeking to escape hard northern farm life from the 1850s onward. A second wave began arriving after 1900, as part of the great mass of Italian and Eastern European immigrants, including Jews from Russia, Poland, Lithuania and neighboring regions. Immigration to the United States was severely curtailed in the 1920s with the Immigration Act of 1924, when foreign born immigration to Lawrence virtually ceased for over 40 years.[22]

In 1890, the foreign-born population of 28,577 was divided as follows, with the significant remainder of the population being children of foreign born residents: 7,058 Irish; 6,999 French Canadians; 5,131 English; 2,465 German; 1,683 English Canadian.[23] In 1920, toward the end of the first wave of immigration, most ethnic groups had numerous social clubs in the city. The Portuguese had 2; the English had 2; the Jews had 3; the Armenians, 5; the Lebanese and Syrians, 6; the Irish, 8; the Polish, 9; the French Canadians and Belgian-French, 14; the Lithuanians, 18; the Italians, 32; and the Germans, 47.[24] However, the center of social life, even more than clubs or fraternal organizations, was churches. Lawrence is dotted with churches, many now closed, torn down or converted into other uses. These churches signify, more than any other artifacts, the immigrant communities that once lived within walking distance of each church.[24][25]

The Irish

Irish immigrants arrived in Lawrence at its birth, which coincided with the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s, the event that drove great numbers of Irish out of Ireland. The Great Stone Dam, constructed in from 1845–1848 to power the nascent textile mills, was largely built by Irish laborers. The first Irish immigrants settled in the area south of the Merrimack River near the intersection of Kingston Street and South Broadway. Their shantytown settlement put them close to the dam being constructed, but away from the Essex Corporation row houses built north of the river to attract New England farm girls as millworkers. The religious needs of the Irish were initially met by the Immaculate Conception church, originally erected near the corner of Chestnut and White Street in 1846, the first Roman Catholic church in Lawrence. In December, 1848, the Reverend James O'Donnell erected "old" St. Mary's Church.[26] By 1847, observers counted over ninety shanties in the Irish shantytown. In 1869,[27] the Irish were able to collect sufficient funds to form their own church, St. Patrick’s, on South Broadway.[24]

The Germans

The first sizable German community arrived following the revolutions of 1848.[22] However, a larger German community was formed after 1871, when industrial workers from Saxony were displaced by economic competition from new industrial areas like the Ruhr.[28] The German community was characterized by numerous school clubs, shooting clubs, national and regional clubs, as well as men’s choirs and mutual aid societies,[28] many of which were clustered around the Turn Verein, a major social club on Park Street.[24]

The Italians

Some Italian immigrants celebrated Mass in the basement chapel of the largely Irish St. Laurence O’Toole Church, at the intersection of East Haverhill Street and Newbury Street, until they had collected sufficient funds to erect the Holy Rosary Church in 1909 nearby at the intersection of Union Street and Essex Street.[24] Immigrants from Lentini (a Sicilian province of Syracuse) and from the Sicilian province of Catania maintained a particular devotion to three Catholic martyrs, Saint Alfio, Saint Filadelfo and Saint Cirino, and in 1923 began celebrating a procession on their feast day.[29] Although most of the participants live in neighboring towns, the Feast of Three Saints festival continues in Lawrence today. Many of the Italians who lived in the Newbury Street area had immigrated from Trecastagni, Viagrande, Aci Reale, Nicolosi, Italy.

The French Canadians

French Canadians were the second major immigrant group to settle in Lawrence. In 1872, they erected their first church, St. Anne’s, at the corner of Haverhill and Franklin Streets. Within decades, St. Anne’s established a “missionary church”, Sacred Heart on South Broadway, to serve the burgeoning Québécois community in South Lawrence. Later it would also establish the "missionary" parishes in Methuen: Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Theresa's (Notre-Dame du Mont Carmel et St-Thérèse). The French-Canadians arrived from various farming areas of Quebec where the old parishes were overpopulated: some people moved up north (Abitibi and Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean), while others moved in industrial towns to find work. ( Montreal, Quebec; but also in Ontario and United-States). . Others who integrated themselves into these French-Canadian communities were actually Acadians who had left the Canadian Maritimes of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia also in search of work.

The Lebanese

Lawrence residents frequently referred to their Arabic-speaking Middle Eastern community as "Orthodox Church, the oldest Greek Orthodox-rite Church in the United States.[24]

The Jews

Jewish merchants became increasingly numerous in Lawrence and specialized in dry goods and retail shops. The fanciest men's clothing store in Lawrence, Kap's, established in 1902 and closed in the early 1990s, was founded by Elias Kapelson, born in Lithuania. Jacob Sandler and two brothers also immigrated from Lithuania in approximately 1900 and established Sandlers Department Store, which continued in business until 1978. In the 1880s, the first Jewish arrivals established a community around Common, Valley, Concord and Lowell Streets. In the 1920s, the Jews of Lawrence began congregating further up Tower Hill, where they erected two synagogues on Lowell Street above Milton Street, as well as a Jewish Community Center on nearby Haverhill Street. All three institutions had closed their doors by 1990 as the remaining elderly members of the community died out or moved away.[24]

The Polish

The Polish community of Lawrence was estimated to be only 600–800 persons in 1900. However, by 1905, the community had expanded sufficiently to fund the construction of the Holy Trinity Church at the corner of Avon and Trinity Streets.[24] Their numbers grew to 2,100 Poles in 1910. Like many of their immigrant brethren from other nations, most of the Poles were employed in woolen and worsted goods manufacturing.[31]

The English

A sizable English community, composed mainly of unskilled laborers who arrived after 1880, sought work in the textile mills where they were given choice jobs by the Yankee overseers on account of their shared linguistic heritage and close cultural links.

Yankee farmers

Not all immigrants to Lawrence were foreign-born or their children. Yankee farmers, unable to compete against the cheaper farmlands of the Midwest that had been linked to the East coast by rail, settled in corners of Lawrence. Congregationalists were the second Protestant denomination to begin worship in Lawrence after the Episcopals, with the formation of the Lawrence Street Congregational Church in 1847,[32] and the first in South Lawrence, with the erection in 1852 of the first South Congregational Church on South Broadway, near the corner of Andover Street.[24]

New immigrants, 1970 to present

Immigration of foreign born workers to Lawrence largely ceased in 1921 with the passage of strict quotas against immigrants from the countries that had supplied the cheap, unskilled workers. Although many quotas were lifted after the Second World War, foreign immigration to Lawrence only picked up again in the early 1960s with Hispanic immigrants from Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other Latin American countries. Immigrants from southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, have also settled in Lawrence.

Indicative of immigration trends, several Catholic churches now conduct masses in two or more languages. St. Patrick’s Church, a Catholic church in Lawrence and once an Irish bastion, has celebrated Spanish masses on Sundays since 1999. A mass in Vietnamese is also offered every other week.[33] St. Mary's of the Assumption Parish is the largest Catholic parish in Lawrence by Mass attendance and number of registered parishioners. It has the largest multi-lingual congregation in the city and has been offering Spanish masses since the early 1990s.

Since the 1990s, increasing numbers of former Catholic churches, closed since the 1980s when their Irish or Italian congregations died out, have been bought by Hispanic evangelical churches.[34]

The 2000 Census revealed the following population breakdown, illustrating the shift toward newer immigrant groups:

Dominican Republic, 22%; Puerto Rican, 22%; other Hispanic or Latino, 12%; Irish, 7%; Italian, 7%, French (except Basque), 5%; Black or African American, 5%; French Canadian, 5%; English, 3%; Arab, 2%; German, 2%; Lebanese, 2%; Central American, 1%; Polish, 1%; Portuguese, 1%; Guatemalan, 1%; Vietnamese, 1%; South American, 1%; Spanish, 1%; Cambodian, 1%; Scottish, 1%; Cuban, 1%; Scotch-Irish, 1%; Ecuadoran, 1%.[35]


High Service Water Tower (1895), also called Tower Hill Water Tower, a notable eyecatcher or folly, named an American Water Landmark in 1979 by the American Water Works Association.

Lawrence is located at (42.703741, -71.162979).[36] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19 km2), of which 7.0 square miles (18 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) (6.07%) is water. Lawrence is located on both sides of the Merrimack River, approximately 26 miles (42 km) upstream from the Atlantic Ocean. On the north side of the river, it is surrounded by Methuen. On the south side of the river, the town is bordered by North Andover to the east, and Andover to the south and southwest. Lawrence is located approximately 30 miles (48 km) north-northwest of Boston, and 27 miles (43 km) southeast of Manchester, New Hampshire.

Aside from the Merrimack River, other water features include the Spicket River, which flows into the Merrimack from Methuen, and the Shawsheen River, which forms the southeastern border of the city. Lawrence has two power canals that were formerly used to provide hydropower to the mills - one on the north bank of the river, the other on the south. Channeling water into these canals is the Great Stone Dam, which lies across the entire Merrimack and was, at the time of its construction in the 1840s, the largest dam in the world. The highest point in Lawrence is the top of Tower Hill in the northwest corner of the city, rising approximately 240 feet (73 m) above sea level. Other prominent hills include Prospect Hill, in the northeast corner of the city, and Mount Vernon, along the southern edge of the city. Most industrial activity was concentrated in the flatlands along the rivers. Den Rock Park, a wooded conservation district on the southern edge of Lawrence that spans the Lawrence-Andover town line, provides recreation for nature lovers and rock-climbers alike.[37] There are also several small parks throughout town.


Lawrence lies along Interstate 495, which passes through the eastern portion of the city. There are three exits entirely within the city, though two more provide access from just outside the city limits. The town is also served by Route 28 passing from south to north through the city, and Route 110, which passes from east to west through the northern half of the city. Route 114 also has its western terminus at Route 28 at the Merrimack River. Lawrence is the site of four road crossings and a railroad crossing over the Merrimack, including the O'Leary Bridge (Route 28), a railroad bridge, the Casey Bridge (bringing Parker Street and access to Route 114 and the Lawrence MBTA station to the north shore), the Duck Bridge (which brings Union Street across the river), and the double-decked O'Reilly Bridge, bringing I-495 across the river.

Lawrence is the western hub of the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority's bus service. It is also home to the Senator Patricia McGovern Transportation Center, home to regional bus service and the Lawrence stop along the Haverhill/Reading Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail system, providing service from Haverhill to Boston's North Station. Lawrence Municipal Airport provides small plane service, though it is actually located in neighboring North Andover. Lawrence is located approximately equidistant from Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and Logan International Airport. Future plans to revitalize the Manchester and Lawrence branch to the north, leading to Manchester, NH, will allow the MBTA to operate rail service up to Manchester, in conjunction with Pan am Freights.


Lawrence has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa), which is typical for the southern Merrimack valley region in eastern Massachusetts.

Climate data for Lawrence, Massachusetts
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F 33.9 36.4 45.2 56.6 68.2 77.3 82.6 81.1 72.9 62.5 50.7 38.1 58.79
Average low °F 15.4 16.9 27.0 37.1 47.3 56.6 62.3 60.6 52.2 41.6 33.0 21.4 39.28
Average rainfall inches 3.92 3.17 3.93 4.06 3.67 3.46 3.34 3.18 3.78 3.96 4.06 3.56 44.09
Average high °C 1.1 2.4 7.3 13.7 20.1 25.2 28.1 27.3 22.7 16.9 10.4 3.4 14.88
Average low °C −9.2 −8.4 −2.8 2.8 8.5 13.7 16.8 15.9 11.2 5.3 0.6 −5.9 4.04
Average rainfall mm 99.6 80.5 99.8 103.1 93.2 87.9 84.8 80.8 96 100.6 103.1 90.4 1,119.8


According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2010 Census, the city's population is 76,377, the population density is 10,973.7 per square mile (4237/km²), and there are 27,137 households (25,181 occupied). The racial makeup of the city is 42.8% White (20.5% non-Hispanic), 7.6% Black or African American, 2.5% Asian (0.8% Vietnamese, 0.8% Cambodian), 1.3% American Indian or Alaskan Native, 0.1% (57 total) Hawaiian Native or Pacific Islander, 39.3% some other race, 6.5% two or more races, and 73.8% of the population is Hispanic or Latino (of any race) (39.6% Dominican, 22.2% Puerto Rican, 3.0% Guatemalan, 0.8% Ecuadorian, 0.7% Mexican, 0.6% Salvadoran, 0.5% Cuban) (U.S. Average: 12.5%).[40]

As of the census[41] of 2000, there were 72,043 people, 24,463 households, and 16,903 families residing in the city. The population density was 10,351.4 people per square mile (3,996.5/km²). There were 25,601 housing units at an average density of 3,678.4 per square mile (1,420.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 48.64% White (U.S. Average: 72.4%), 4.88% African American (U.S. Average: 12.3%), 2.65% Asian (U.S. Average: 3.6%), 0.81% Native American (U.S. Average: 0.1%), 0.10% Pacific Islander (U.S. Average: 0.1%), 36.67% from other races (U.S. Average: 5.5%), 6.25% from two or more races (U.S. Average: 2.4%).

There were 24,463 households where the average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.46.

  • 41.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them. (U.S. Average: 32.8%)
  • 36.6% were married couples living together. (U.S. Average: 51.7%)
  • 25.7% had a female householder with no husband present. (U.S. Average: 12.2%)
  • 30.9% were non-families. (U.S. Average: 31.9%)
  • 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals. (U.S. Average: 25.8%)
  • 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. (U.S. Average: 9.2%)

In the city the population had a median age was 30.0 years (U.S. Average: 35.3):

  • 32.0% under the age of 18
  • 11.1% from 18 to 24
  • 30.3% from 25 to 44
  • 16.7% from 45 to 64
  • 9.8% were 65 years of age or older.

For every 100 females there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,983 (U.S. Average: $41,994), and the median income for a family was $29,809 (U.S. Average: $50,046). Males had a median income of $27,772 versus $23,137 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,360. About 21.2% of families (U.S. Average: 9.2%) and 34.3% (U.S. Average: 12.4%) of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.7% of those under age 18 and 20.1% of those age 65 or over.

The Mayor of Lawrence, Daniel Rivera, said the city was "approximately 75% Spanish" following an incident where non English speaking callers were allegedly hung up on by a 911 operator.[42]



Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 15, 2008[43]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 21,254 53.25%
  Republican 2,980 7.47%
  Unaffiliated 15,380 38.54%
  Minor Parties 297 0.74%
Total 39,911 100%

Form of government:
Plan B - "Strong mayor" - Mayor and city council, the councilors being elected partly at large and partly from districts or wards of the city. Party primaries prohibited.[44] [45] Lawrence has an established City Charter[46] and with a Mayor-council government. There are nine city councilors and six school committee members; most are elected by district; three city council members are elected at large. There are six districts in Lawrence and all elections are non-partisan. The Mayor serves as the seventh member and chair of the school committee. The city council chooses one of its number as president who serves as chair of the council. The city of Lawrence also elects three members to the Greater Lawrence Technical School Committee these members are elected at-large. City Council and Mayoral terms of office begin in the month of January.

Lawrence City Council Lawrence School Committee Greater Lawrence
Technical School Committee
  • Sandy Almonte (A)
    • (Jan. 2010–present)
  • Estela Reyes (B)
    • (Jan. 2012–present)
  • Kendrys Vásquez (C)
    • (Jan. 2012–present)
  • Oneida Aquiño (D)
    • (Jan. 2010–present)
  • Eileen O'Connor Bernal (E)
    • (Jan. 2010–present)
  • Marc Laplante (F)
    • (Jan. 1998–Jan. 2002 District D),
      (Jan. 2010–present)
  • Nilka Álvarez-Rodríguez (At-Large)**
    • (Jan. 2000–May 2005 District C),
      (Jan. 2006–Jan. 2010 At-Large),
      (Jan. 2014–present)
  • Modesto Maldonado (At-Large)*
    • (Jan. 2010–Jan. 2012 District C),
      (Jan. 2014–present)
  • Roger Twomey (At-Large)
    • (Jan. 2008–present)
  • Myra Ortiz (A)
    • (Jan. 2014–present)
  • Milquicided Santos (B)
    • (Jan. 2012–present)
  • Pavel Payano (C)
    • (March 2011–present)
  • Jeovanny Rodríguez (D)
    • (Jan. 2014–present)
  • Patricia Mariano (E)
    • (Sept. 2012–present)
  • Jim Blatchford (F)**
    • (Jan. 2012–present)
  • Dan Rivera (Mayor)*
    • (Jan. 2010–Jan. 2014 City Council),
      (Jan. 2014–present)
  • Leo J. Lamontagne (At-Large)*
    • (Jan. 1986–present)
  • Gary Mannion Jr. (At-Large)
    • (Jan. 2014–present)
  • Angel García (At-Large)
    • (Feb. 2014–present)

* = President/Chair
** = Vice President/Vice Chair

Lawrence has its own police and fire departments, and Patriot Ambulance serves as the city's emergency medical service (EMS). The city also has its own public works and trash pickup departments.

State and federal

Lawrence is one of Essex County's two county seats, along with Salem. As such, it is home to a juvenile, district and superior court, as well as a regional office of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. It is also home to the Lawrence Correctional Alternative Center, a regional alternative jail for low-risk offenders. It is not home to the county's sheriff or district attorney; they are located in Middleton (home to the county's correctional facility) and Salem, respectively. The city is also covered by the Andover barracks of Troop A of the Massachusetts State Police, which serves much of the western Merrimack Valley and several towns just south of Andover.


Lawrence General Hospital[48] is the city's main hospital, providing service to much of the area south of the city. Other nearby hospitals are in Methuen, Haverhill and Lowell. The city also is served by the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center.[49] Guardian Ambulance was established in 1990 and incorporated in 1991 by local EMT's to serve the city during a downturn in the economy at that time. The station moved from the Tower Hill section to its current location on Marston Street in 1993.


Lawrence Public Schools
233 Haverhill Street,
Lawrence, MA 01840

United States
District information
Type Public
Grades K-12
Superintendent Jeffrey Riley[50]
Schools 32
Budget $200,571,691 total
$13,852 per pupil[51]
Students and staff
Students 13,889[52]
Teachers 1,052[53]
Student-teacher ratio 12.8 to 1[53]
Other information
Website Lawrence Public Schools

Public schools

The City of Lawrence has a public school system managed by Lawrence Public Schools.[54]

Charter schools

  • Lawrence Family Development Charter School[55]
  • Community Day Charter Public School[56]

High schools

Private schools

Elementary schools

  • Bellesini Academy[58]
  • Esperanza Academy[59]
  • Lawrence Family Development Charter School[60]
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel School[61]
  • St.Mary's of the Assumption[62]
  • Lawrence Catholic Academy[63]

High schools

Higher education




The Lawrence public library was established in 1872.[64][65] In fiscal year 2008, the city of Lawrence spent 0.55% ($1,155,597) of its budget on its public library—some $16 per person.[66]

Media and communications

Lawrence's main newspaper is The Eagle-Tribune,[67] one of the major newspapers for the Merrimack Valley that was founded in Lawrence in 1890 but later moved its facilities to the Town of North Andover on route 114. Lawrence is home to Rumbo (a bilingual English/Spanish paper) and Siglo 21[68] (a Spanish paper). Another newspaper closely covering Lawrence news is The Valley Patriot[69] (a monthly paper published in North Andover Massachusetts). The city has one FM station, WEEI-FM 93.7, and four AM stations, WNNW 800, WCAP 980, WCCM 1110 and WLLH 1400. Lawrence Community Access Television[70] is the only television station operating out of the city, and the city is considered part of the Boston television market.

What's Good in the Hood[71] (est.2010), a local blog produced by youth, covers stories about Lawrence.

Lawrence is served by Area codes 978 and 351. Originally a part of area code 617, it became part of area code 508 in 1988 before that, too, was split, with 978 covering the northern half of the old area code. Area code 351 is considered an overlay code.


New Balance has a shoe manufacturing plant in Lawrence, one of five plants operating in the US.[72]

Charm Sciences, which manufactures test kits and systems for antibiotic, veterinary drugs, mycotoxins, pesticides, alkaline phosphatase, pathogens, end-product microbial assessment, allergen control, and ATP hygiene, has a laboratory in Lawrence.

Points of interest

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ Lathem, Edward Connery; Thompson, Lawrance Roger (1966). Robert Frost and the Lawrence, Massachusetts, High School Bulletin; the beginning of a literary career,. New York: Grolier Club. 
  3. ^ Indian History and Traditions, by Maurice B. Dorgan, 1918
  4. ^ Historical sketch of the town of Methuen: from its settlement to the year 1876, by Joseph Sidney Howe, 1876, p.4
  5. ^ History of the City of Lawrence by Jonathan Franklin Chesley Hayes, 1868, p. 11
  6. ^ History of the City of Lawrence by Jonathan Franklin Chesley Hayes, 1868, p. 17
  7. ^ History of the City of Lawrence by Jonathan Franklin Chesley Hayes, 1868, p. 23
  8. ^ Skulski, Ken. The History of Lawrence Massachusetts, Volume 2, page 7.
  9. ^ "The Fall of the Pemberton Mill.".  
  10. ^ "The Lawrence Strike of 1912". 
  11. ^ "Bread and Roses: The 1912 Lawrence textile Strike - By Joyce Kornbluh". 
  12. ^ "ProQuest Document View - Urban redevelopment of Lawrence, MA a retrospective case study of the Plains Neighborhood". 
  13. ^ "Crackdown by police cools Lawrence riots". Spokane Chronicle (Spokane, Washington). August 11, 1984. p. 4. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  14. ^ "TWO NIGHTS OF RIOTING BRING A CURFEW TO LAWRENCE, MASS.". New York Times (New York, New York). August 10, 1984. p. 4. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  15. ^ McGhee, Neil (August 24, 1992). "Arson epidemic continues in Massachusetts town". National Underwriter Property & Casualty-Risk & Benefits Management (The National Underwriter Company). Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  16. ^ 60 Minutes: The Mensch Of Malden Mills
  17. ^
  18. ^ InTown Mall demolition begins today, making way for college health technologies building, by Keith Eddings, Eagle-Tribune, 3 January 2012
  19. ^ Northern Essex Community College. "Newsroom – Northern Essex Community College » InTown Mall Comes Tumbling Down". Newsroom - Northern Essex Community College. 
  20. ^ Allen, Scott; Andrew Ryan (January 21, 2008). "150 left homeless from Lawrence fire". The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts). Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  21. ^ Kirk, Bill (14 February 2010). "Lawrence fiscal crisis prompts talk of bankruptcy, receivership". The Eagle Tribune. North Andover, MA. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  22. ^ a b c Cole, Donald B. (1963). Immigrant City: Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1845–1921.  
  23. ^ Wadsworth, H.A. History of Lawrence, Massachusetts (Lawrence, 1880).
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Skulski, Ken; Dengler, Eartha; Khalife, Katherine (1995). Lawrence, Massachusetts. Dover, N.H: Arcadia Pub.  
  25. ^ "Lucie's Legacy: History of Lawrence, MA - Immigrant Communities". 
  26. ^ Quarter-centennial history of Lawrence, Massachusetts : with portraits and biographical sketches of ex-mayors, the board of may [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: Wadsworth, H. A.. Quarter-centennial history of Lawrence, Massachusetts : with portraits and biographical sketches of ex-mayors, the board of mayor and aldermen for the present year, other leading officials, and a representation of business and professional men. Lawrence, Mass.: H. Reed, Lawrence Eagle Steam Job Print. Office, 1878, p. 82
  27. ^ "st-patricks-parish". st-patricks-parish. 
  28. ^ a b McCaffery, Robert Paul McCaffery. "Islands of Deutschtum: German-Americans in Manchester, New Hampshire and Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1870–1942". New German–American studies, vol 11. Peter Lang, 1996.
  29. ^ Festa of Saints Alfio, Filadelfo, and Cirino
  30. ^ St. Anthony’s Marionite Church Website
  31. ^
  32. ^ Quarter-centennial history of Lawrence, Massachusetts : with portraits and biographical sketches of ex-mayors, the board of may [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: Wadsworth, H. A.. Quarter-centennial history of Lawrence, Massachusetts : with portraits and biographical sketches of ex-mayors, the board of mayor and aldermen for the present year, other leading officials, and a representation of business and professional men. Lawrence, Mass.: H. Reed, Lawrence Eagle Steam Job Print. Office, 1878, p. 66
  33. ^ "Scenes from a Parish" Mass Humanities, Spring 1995
  34. ^ Betances, Yadira. "Protestant congregations eyeing vacant Catholic church properties Yadira Betances. Eagle-Tribune, December 26, 2006.
  35. ^ "Lawrence - Lawrence - Ancestry & family history - ePodunk". 
  36. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  37. ^ Den Rock Park Trail Guide
  38. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  40. ^ "American FactFinder". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  41. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  42. ^ "Lawrence 911 Dispatcher Accused Of Hanging Up On Spanish Speaking Callers". CBS News. Retrieved 2015-08-05. 
  43. ^ "2008 State Party Election Party Enrollment Statistics" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  44. ^ "Chapter 43- City Charters". The General Laws of Massachusetts- Chapter 43, Section 1. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  45. ^ "Form of Government". City of Lawrence, Massachusetts. Archived from the original on July 20, 2008. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  46. ^ "City of Lawrence Charter" (PDF). City Website. City of Lawrence, Massachusetts. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 26, 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  47. ^ [2] Archived June 18, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  48. ^ "Welcome". 
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^ a b
  54. ^ a b "Home". 
  55. ^ "Lawrence Family Development Charter School". 
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^ "Bellesini Academy". 
  59. ^ "A Transformative Education for a Promising Future". 
  60. ^ "Lawrence Family Development Charter School". 
  61. ^
  62. ^ "St. Mary of the Assumption Parish: St. Mary of the Assumption Parish". 
  63. ^ "Lawrence Catholic Academy". 
  64. ^ C.B. Tillinghast. The free public libraries of Massachusetts. 1st Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts. Boston: Wright & Potter, 1891. Google books
  65. ^
  66. ^ "Advisory Services For Libraries - Library Statistics - Public Library Data -". 
  67. ^ "Eagle-Tribune". Eagle-Tribune. 
  68. ^
  69. ^ "The Valley Patriot". The Valley Patriot. 
  70. ^ "LCAT". 
  71. ^ "What's Good in the Hood". 
  72. ^ "New Balance USA Collection - New Balance USA". 
  73. ^ "Essex Art Center". 
  74. ^ "". 
  75. ^ "Lawrence History Center". 
  76. ^ "St. Alfio Society". 
  77. ^ "". 
  78. ^ Artz, Matthew (2009-12-31). "Fremont's 'hamburger king' dead at 81".  

Further reading

  • Urban redevelopment of Lawrence, MA a retrospective case study of the Plains Neighborhood by Pernice, Nicolas M., M.S. 2011.
  • Maurice B. Dorgan, History of Lawrence, Massachusetts: With War Records. Lawrence, MA: Maurice B. Dorgan, 1924.
  • "Ethnic tensions in Lawrence" (Archive). WGBH-TV. March 28, 1991.

External links

  • City of Lawrence official website
  • Photos from Library of Congress at
  • Wall & Gray. 1871 .Atlas of Massachusetts Map of Massachusetts. USA. New England. Counties - Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden, Worcester, Middlesex, Essex and Norfolk, Boston - Suffolk,Plymouth, Bristol, Barnstable and Dukes (Cape Cod). Cities - Springfield, Worcester, Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill, Newburyport, Salem, Lynn, Taunton, Fall River. New Bedford. These 1871 maps of the Counties and Cities are useful to see the roads and rail lines.
  • Beers, D.G. 1872 Atlas of Essex County Map of Massachusetts Plate 5. Click on the map for a very large image. Also see detailed map of 1872 Essex County Plate 7.
  • Texts on Wikisource:
    • "Lawrence (Massachusetts)".  
    • "Lawrence (Massachusetts)".  
    • "Lawrence (Massachusetts)". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914. 
    • George E. Rix (1920). "Lawrence (Massachusetts)".  
    • "Lawrence (Massachusetts)".  

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