It’s not everyday that a city celebrates its 175th anniversary

On April 11, 2011, the city held a birthday party for itself, marking the 175th anniversary of its founding.

Lowell has been attracting immigrants ever since the 1830s, when the rapid growth of textile mills provided much needed employment. Yesterday’s parade was a physical manifestation of the city’s diversity, which continues to evolve.

Just before 4:30, people gathered themselves in groups, in preparation for the  parade to city hall. Seeing those who turned out to march was a testament to the city’s changing demographics. Judging from the dress and the flags whipping in the wind, local participants had cultural roots in in Italy, Greece, Lithuania, Quebec, Portugal, Israel, Columbia, Vietnam,Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, and Cameroon — and Lowell Pride.

The celebration began with a  parade.

Lowell High School’s Marching Band did a fine job providing the rhythm.

Approaching City Hall, a lion dancer teased the crowd.

And then it was time for speeches and cake.

The celebration continues throughout the year with special events.

All photos by Maggie Holtzberg