Lowell is the fourth largest city in Massachusetts. It is located in Middlesex County and is known as the cradle of the industrial revolution in the country. Lowell National Historical Park draws many visitors to the city each year. Established in 1978, it is operated by the National Park Service. The park commemorates city’s integral part in America's Industrial Revolution. It is home to many historical sites from the 19th century including the Francis Gate, Pawtucket Dam and Gatehouse, Suffolk Mill Turbine and Powerhouse, Kirk Street Agents House, Mill Girls and Immigrants Boardinghouse, the Lowell Canal System, Swamp Locks, Lower Locks, Guard Locks, Merrimack River and Northern Canal Walkway. The park includes a Visitor Center which provides a free self-guided tour of the history of Lowell and display exhibits such as the patent model of a loom by local inventor S. Thomas. It offers a combined canal, trolley and mill tour which is informative and fun. The canal tour takes you in a boat through over 100 year old locks to the Great Francis Gate. The trolley tour is very relaxing and you can even see an actual mill turbine in operation, once used to run Lowell's textile factories. If you want to explore more parks in Lowell then you can stop by at Kerouac Park, located in downtown Lowell. It is a monument park that serves as a memorial for local author Jack Kerouac, who wrote five novels that were set in Lowell. The park has granite benches for people to read or relax. The highlights of the park are tall, granite monuments that have excerpts from a variety of Jack Kerouac’s writings.
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Lowell has nearly 40 places on the National Register of Historic Places including many buildings and structures. The Boott Mills and Museum is one such place and a popular tourist destination. It is one of the oldest historical sites in the district. As you walk along the Merrimack River you will come across this mostly restored manufacturing site. The site consists of mills built from the mid-1830s to the early 20th century which reflects the early use of waterpower, steam power and electric power. The Boott Mill provides a walk-through museum which shows the textile manufacturing process in the 19th century. If you like hiking then you can visit Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest. Stretched over three towns, this 1,140 acre forest includes 180 acres of ponds, swamps, and wetlands. The forest has six miles of trails offering hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, bird watching, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Visitors are also allowed to hunt in the hunting season. The trail system offers something for everyone. There are miles of fireroads and smooth rolling doubletrack for people who just like to talk a walk or jog. The singletrack system is mountain bike specific and extends over several miles. The terrain is considered gently rolling for most part except for Whortleberry and Huckleberry Hill. As you travel to the west you will come across Lake Althea and the Scarlet swamp. It is also the probable site of a Native American village prior to colonial settlement. This area is dominated by fireroads, doubletrack and singletrack. To the East you will discover the major trail system in Lowell and Dracut where you will find the Spruce swamp, the largest swamp in the forest.