The Boston and Maine Railroad, completed in 1835, was New England's first steam railroad. In the Lowell Offering, a "mill girl" wrote that people expected to see a "street of lightning" when the railroad arrived.
The continuing prosperity of industrial Lowell depended on efficient shipping of materials. Realizing this, the owners of Lowell's textile corporations financed the Boston and Lowell Railroad. In 1887, it was merged into the Boston and Maine Railroad.
The original depot on this site was replaced in 1853, by a larger station that also held city offices and public halls for political debates, meetings, lectures, and entertainment. The arches replicate the entrance to the station which was destroyed by fire in 1904.
Dickens rides the Boston and Lowell?on, on, on-tears the mad dragon of an engine with its train of cars; scattering in all directions a shower of burning sparks from its wood fire; screeching, hissing, yelling, panting, until at last the thirsty monster stops beneath a covered way to drink
..Charles Dickens 1842.
(Inscription under the photo on the far right) Merrimack Street Depot, ca 1900-University of Massachusetts Lowell Center for Lowell History