September 25, 2013

Essex Company Compound

Lawrence Massachusetts is the first planned industrial city in the nation. The power of the Merrimack River lured a group entrepreneurs – The Essex Company – to design and build the textile mills on the river’s shores and a city around it. Today the history of the city, from the founding documents and deeds to engineering drawings to immigrant  records are maintained by the Lawrence History Center.

Of all of the artifacts that the History Center maintains, its most important possession may be the building itself. Sometime in the mid 1970s, the Essex Company dissolved, leaving its archives – and building complex – to the History Center. The building is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. To pay it a visit is to take a step back in time. And that brings me to today’s image.

This is the History Center’s compound. Or courtyard. Not sure what to call it. Anyway, I’ve been here many times before and always thought it evoked a different time, except for the fact that there are usually a couple of cars parked in the compound. On the day I shot this there were no cars.


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