The Downtown Lowell Historic District (DLHD) was established on December 13, 1983 under the Lowell Historic Board (LHB) state statute (Lowell Historic District Act, Chapter 566, Acts of 1983). The boundaries of the district were subsequently expanded by the Lowell City Council under in February, 1986 and on August 24, 2004 under procedures set forth by statute.
Creation of the DLHD was a key requirement in the establishment of Lowell National Historical Park and seeks to ensure that development activities within the district are consistent with the preservation of its 19th century setting.
The boundaries of the DLHD encompasses much of Lowell's downtown area including the commercial district, millyards, and canal system.
Before Getting Started
Within the DLHD, the erection, demolition, or alteration of any exterior feature (and interior work when it affects the exterior appearance) of a building, structure, or parcel requires the review and approval of the LHB before work begins and any other City approvals are issued.
Old Central Fire Station on Palmer Street (ca. 1892)
Aerial view of the Downtown Lowell Historic District
Boott Mills and Eastern Canal
Cherry & Webb Building before rehabilitation (ca. 1995)
Cherry & Webb Building after rehabilitation (1998)
Stained glass restoration at St. Anne's Church
Appleton millyard before rehabilitation (ca. 2008)
Appleton millyard after rehabilitation (2011)
Bon Marche Building architectural detail
Storefront restoration and well-designed business signage
Lower Locks Dam and Gatehouse on the Pawtucket Canal
Tremont Yard is an example of context-appropriate new construction
The best way to determine if the work you're contemplating in the DLHD requires LHB review is to contact the staff. The LHB and its staff are always available to assist you with any questions regarding design and process in the district. Check out our new Downtown Lowell Historic District permitting guide!
Click on the links below to find out more about permitting requirements, design standards, approval process, and other information related to the DLHD.