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process of construction and near-con- have been prepared for a $15 000 adstruction. In 1906 the City Hall, a dition to the almshouse. This latter famous old stone structure, was prac- project may not seem to make a noise tically destroyed by fire. This build- like prosperity, but it is an indication ing is now being reconstructe: for the of the growth of the city. use of the Free Public Library; it will New Bedford is a city of attractive be fire proof, will have the largest homes, as well as a city of piosperity stack room in New England, and will and cotton mills. While many of the be one of the handsomest and best mill workers live, temporarily, in the equipped library buildings in the three and six-tenement blocks which United States. From the present shrewd investors are putting up, mushLibrary Building, used jointly as a room-like, at the north and south ends library and for municipal offices, a new of the city, it is not for long, for many municipal administration building is of them. Big families and thrift are being constructed, by alteration and the fashion among the mill opcratives, addition. A new building for the regis- and after the children have passed the try of deeds is nearly finished on the age at which Massachusetts law resquare west of the new library. One quires school attendance, they secure block north of the new municipal build their school cards and go into the mills. ing, fronting on Pleasant st: eet, the Soon the combined family earning is United States government has just sufficient to make a start toward a bought a square on which a new post- home; a house lot is purchased, the office building will be erected Three co-operative bank or the savings bank new school-houses, two of which were does the rest, and before long the completed during the past year, and family of cotton mill operatives not one of which will be ready for use when only owns the house it lives in, but school opens in September, have been three or four others, which it rents. added to the public school equipment The secret of New Bedford's success at a cost of $200,000. Sketch plans have as a mill city may be summed up been accepted for a new twenty-room briefly: A delightful, attractive natural school building at the north end of the situation, to start with; a wise business city, and for an addition to the Brock policy, thoughtfully outlined and conAvenue school-house, at the south end. servatively followed; the kind of work Sketch plans are ready for i $500,000 to attract the most-skilled operatives; high school building. A new fire sta- and, last, the home-getting and hometion, located at the north end, costing keeping desire. $22,000, will be put into commission Does not New Bedford offer some atby the time this article is printed. An tractions to the reader, whether he has appropriation has been made, and plans a capital or labor to invest?
A LITTLE ITALY ALONG THE
ALONG THE BANKS OF THE MERRIMAC
How the Italian Mill Workers of Lawrence are Solving the Problem of Working
in the City and Owning a Home in the Country.
By JOSEPH MCCARTHY
NY one who fears that the aban- nomical do not hesitate to get up early doned farms of New England enough in the morning to walk the
will remain abandoned, or that four miles to the Lawrence mills and the poor immigrants who find work be inside the gates before the stroke in the great manufacturing cities of of 6.30. the east will all remain content to It is a most picturesque village, or be hived in the closely-packed streets collection of houses. Some of the of the cities, should take a trip on the houses are little better than unclapelectric road that leads from Lawrence boarded shacks, and remind one of the to Haverhill. There, about four miles sod houses that were put up and are from Lawrence, in level swales of still put up by the homesteaders in the land that slope
far west. They gently to the
are not much bigwinding Merrimac
ger than goodmay be seen one
sized dog kennels of the answers to
and the wonder the question:
is that any human “How can the im
beings could enmigrants be got
dure the rigors of Jut of the crowded
New England cities?"
winter in them. For, from the
But electric cars can
the Italian newbe seen, on either
comers h a ve side of the line of FIRST HOUSE BUILT BY LAWRENCE ITALIANS
passed a winter in the Boston & FOR COUNTRY RESIDENCE
these flimsy strucNorthern, a settle
tures and have ment of Italians
managed to save that is constantly growing, expand- enough to build a better house for the ing and having added to it dwel next year. Or they have kept on adlings built by recent Italian immi- ding to the old shack, putting on clapgrants.
boards, shingling it, plastering it, adThere must be fully 1500 Italians ding an ell here and there and putting who make their homes here the year on an additional story as their families around, while they find employment a increased, until what was not even a large part of the year in the mills of good barn has become quite a comLawrence. They go back and forth modious and comfortable house. to their work in the mills on the elec As the settlement has grown, threetrics, though some of the more eco- story tenement houses have risen
here and there and several stores do When the work is dull in the mills a good business with their Italian cus- of Lawrence, and during their spare tomers. As they are presumably not time in the evenings and on Sundays bothered with a very high rent they and holidays, these dwellers on a wornprobably are able to sell pretty close out farm put in many a laborious hour to cost price.
bending over the soil, digging, plowing, Not all of the houses are of wood. enriching it with various kinds of ferAmong the Italians who have settled tilizers, planting and later reaping in this suburban "Little Italy" are the grain and vegetables that are quite a few expert mechanics, men dear to the heart of the transplanted who have been trained in the art of Italian. making concrete houses. Some of From the time the snow goes in these concrete houses, as will be seen early March, the women folk of this by the photographs, are quite ornate colony can be seen industriously bendlittle affairs as well as being solid and ing over the land and going over it substantial. The interior of one of with the minute care of the intensive them, which was visited by the writer at farmer. And their fields in early sumthe invitation of the owner, was found mer and until late in the fall show the to have about every modern comfort good results of such intelligent care and and convenience, with the exception industry they are 1 esplendent in all the of “city water." That will come in greens, reds and yellows of the various time, the proud owner asserted, and vegetables and yield the most bountiful one can well believe that these in- of crops. These factory-farmers, as genious and industrious Italians will one might call them, find a ready sale find a way to have "city water” in for all their surplus vegetables in the their houses before long, even if they city of Lawrence. The large Italian are miles away from the piped supply colony that lives in that city furnishof the city of Lawrence.
es a fine market for all the vegetables
are fully three hundred belonging to Italians, have been put up during the past two years.
In another two years they will probably have paved sidewalks running where the unploughed fields were three years ago.
From the early spring until the late fall they really have an enjoyable time compared with their fellow workers in the mills who live in the crowded tenement blocks.
A good part of their lives is THIRD TYPE OF HOUSE BUILT IN THE
passed in the open farming SETTLEMENT
country, though it is so near to the city. They can
see the that may be termed, distinctively, Ital- picturesque Merrimac flowing at the ian.
bottom of their fields. A noble The Italian colony in Lawrence,
of panorama of nature's creation spreads which these occupants of the pictur out all around the horizon, taking esque houses along the river are off- in, in its sweep, the encircling hills shoots, is now one of the largest in of Haverhill, to the east; the uplands of New England. There are said to be North Andover, to the south, and on fully 6000 Italians in Lawrence now the west the ramparts of Prospect and and they are being steadily added to. Clover hills in Lawrence, that tower With the great growth of the mills in high enough to shut out all sight of that city and the activity now evi
evi- the giant chimneys of the great manudent in the mill business there are many facturing city. The view is inspiring indications that thousands of more Ital and when clothed with summer's verians, as well as representatives of other dure must be refreshingly grateful to southeastern European races will soon these country folk of Italy after a hot be added to the population.
day inside the mills, The country settlement of part of Here in the evening concerts are frethem is a way out from the dangerous quently given by orchestras made up overcrowding that characterizes many of dwellers in these houses or of serecement houses. None of these factory cities. It gives them a chance to get fresh air as well as fresh vegetables and it gives many of them a stake in the country by owning a bit of land and house, or something that can be called house, on it.
That the industrious Italian will not long remain content with a shack for a dwelling is proved by the accompanying illustrations which show the rapid progress made from the first rough shelters to comfortable wooden and stone and houses were built three years
FOURTH TYPE OF HOUSE BUILT IN THE ago. All of them, and there
A FINE OLD NEW ENGLAND HOMESTEAD, ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS OLD,
ONE OF THE LEADING ITALIANS OF THE SETTLEMENT
nading compatriots from Common They give every promise that, in the street in Lawrence. And when course of five or ten years, many of half dozen guitars get to thrumming them will be owners of large and out the strains of "Santa Lucia” and profitably conducted farms and be a men and women by the score join in, strong force in the movement that will it sounds as fine under a New Eng- bring the country parts of New England moon as ever it did across the land into sharing largely in the proswaters of the bay of Naples.
perity of the cities. As an example of what can be done
With the rapid development of comby the immigrant worker in the mills
munication between the farms and the of New England to combine country and city life in a pleasing, healthful cities, such industrious and intelligent
farmers as these Italians are proving and uplifting way, these dwellers in the "Little Italy” along the banks of
to be, are destined to have no small the Merrimac are making a splendid part in what some far-sighted people success, considering the difficulties they believe is to be one of the greatest have had to overcome and the handi eras of prosperity rural New England cap under which they started.
has ever seen.