Today’s image is from the archives at the Lawrence History Center. This small room is filled with journals and records from the Essex Company and other businesses from the 19th and 20th centuries. This particular journal is dated from 1850 through 1857. These are what would today be spreadsheets and databases, but are instead preserved in leather-bound journals and books.
The Essex Company was was chartered in 1845 explicitly to build a dam and canals on the Merrimack River for the purpose of providing waterpower for textile mills. The directors at the time planned to create a city (Lawrence, Massachusetts) by selling land on either side of the river for mills, homes for workers and managers, stores, churches, schools and local government. The Essex Company was also created to build mills and machinery on contract.
This history of this city, and the stories that go along with it, is endlessly fascinating to me. It’s made that much better by the fact that many of the buildings/mills are preserved in their original state, allowing us to experience what life was like 150+ years ago.