Lowell is located in Middlesex County, 33 miles northwest of Boston, between Chelmsford and the New Hampshire state line. It is situated along Highway 3 on the banks of the Merrimack River, near Mascuppic Lake and Warren Manning State Forest.
The potential of the Merrimack led to the settlement of the area near the Pawtucket Falls by native peoples. The idea of a planned industrial community based on textile production inspired a group of entrepreneurs to acquire land around the falls in 1821. Naming the new community for industrialist Francis Cabot Lowell, the developers constructed a complex of mills. By the 1840's, Lowell was the second largest city in New England.
Attractions include Lowell's National Historical Park, which preserves and interprets the history of the American Industrial Revolution in Lowell.
The population estimate for July 1, 1998 was 101,075, a decrease of 2,364 since 1990. Lowell is part of the Lowell, Massachusetts-New Hampshire metro area.