Home Page Lowell
Timeline of Hellenic American settlement
in the Lowell, Massachusetts area. (still under construction).
Dimitri Kasimatis may have been the first known Greek to
arrives in Lowell. He lived at 82 Middlesex Street
and worked in confectionary and fruit.
1878: John Kasimitis, 96 Middlesex St and Peter Pepontis, 118 Middlesex St, were listed as living in Lowell.
1884 - A newspaper reference tells of a Greek
selling Turkish taffy next to old City Hall.
- Federal census lists two Greeks living in Lowell.
1891 - Fifty Greeks from
Boston and New York come to work in Lowell mills.
1892 - Masses of workers
leave Greece due to failure of currant crop. Many of these came to Lowell. Most
worked as peddlers in the streets.
- A national depression leads Greek peddlers to work in mills.
- 1898, Reverend Kallinikos Dilbaes serves Lowell community off and on, but
eventually returns to New York. First services were held at St. Anne's Church.
The Greek community feared that evangelists were making inroads among the Greeks.
- There were 150 Greeks in Lowell. It was said that 124 men worked in the mills.
Canalopoulos died in a naphtha explosion; 50 of his friends accompanied his
funeral. Reverend Kallinikos performed the funeral service.
- The Washington Acropolis Society was formed. Michael Iatros was President and
Theophelus Kafetyopoulos was Vice President.
- The State Census lists 207 Greeks in Lowell. Of these, one was one
native born male and a total of four females. Another source states that there
were 450 Greeks. Another source states that after the Irish and French
Canadians, the Greeks were the third most important group of immigrants to
settle in Lowell, Massachusetts. Their number was now around 300."
- A newspaper article refers to the Washington-Acropolis Society
and their religious services. The article states that there were 200 members in
- One woman and her two daughters were the only Greek females in Lowell.
- A volunteer company of Greeks return to Greece to help in hostilities against
Turkey. In many cases they brought family and friends back with them.
- A newspaper article states that 1200 Greeks lived in the city; only three were
article reports on arrests made for bootlegging at an establishment on Market
and Suffolk Streets.
- A "full-scale riot" occurred Friday, July 8. Several men
were arrested for assault against Officer John Walsh.
- An article in the Sunday Telegram reports that the Greeks petitioned Police
Chief Davis to dismiss John Regis who had been appointed "special police
officer without pay." The petitioners asserted that John Regis used his
position for "espionage and for settling personal scores."
- Greek men were reported as holding their own Olympian Games on Sundays,
in Pawtucketville, near the Moody Street Bridge. Contests were held in rock–throwing, running, etc.
- Labor problems occur at the Merrimack Mills and Greek workers continue
to work at the mills in spite of a lockout. Management used the Greeks as strike
- Peter Kassinikos is the first physician to open an office in Lowell.
- The Greek immigrants organize themselves as a Greek Orthodox Community.
Dr. Peter Kassinikos was elected as first president; Dr. Nathanael Siseris was
appointed the first full time priest at a salary of $50.00 a month.
There were 5 births in the Greek community in 1900, 31 in 1905, and 108 in 1908.
- There were 18 marriages among Greeks this year, 43 in 1902, 66 in 1903, and 84
- The Holy Trinity Church purchased a two story eight apartment house from the
Patrick family on the corner of Lewis and Jefferson Street. Services were held
there until the church was built in 1908.
- Greek workers are seen as strike breakers by other groups when they return to
work after first striking with other groups. For some time, Greek workers had to
march in groups of several dozen to and from work. The Greek population
increases significantly as the mills hire friends and relatives.
- A Washington Post article refers to Greek coffee houses around Market Street
"catering to the immigrant throngs." Helene Antonopoulos sang four
nights a week at one of these coffee houses.
- a newspaper
article refers to jobs being sold by established immigrants in the mills of
- A state census lists 1,600 foreign born and a total of 2,020 Greeks in Lowell.
- Another source
states that there were now 5,500 Greeks in Lowell; of these 600 were women
another 800 to 900 were children.
- Greek women arrive
for the first time in large numbers. These included single girls who were
matched" as early as age 14 to the many eligible bachelors in the colony.
- The corner stone for the Holy Trinity Church was laid on Sunday, October 28.
Nicholas Lazaris was Pastor and George Gazoulis, President. The architect, H.L.
Rourke, traveled to Constantinople and copied the design of St. Sophia, the
mother-church of Orthodoxy. Holy Trinity was the first Greek Orthodox
Church built for and by a Greek community.
1907 - Greek workers
found an acting group. The 20 members performed about 10 modern Greek plays a
- An article reports
on Greeks attending evening school. Over 500 attended the Worthern Street
A strike against the Bigelow Carpet Company represents the most concerted labor
action by the Greek community. J. Anton serves as spokesperson for the strikers.
- The Holy Trinity structure was completed. The cost was $80,00, including
$3,000 for the gilded dome. It was thought that this "excessive cost"
would prevent factions to start other churches – and the community would
- It was reported that the factories of Lowell employed more
Greeks than were employed anywhere else in the country.
- The Hellenic American School, the first Greek parochial
day-school in the country was founded.
Classes were held
in the basement of the church. Enrollment was under 65 pupils but soon
grew to 250.
- Volunteer military units were formed all over the country in preparation for
an imminent war between Greece and Turkey. Lowell and New England were recognized as leaders in
- Hundreds of Greek men head west for work. This was due both to a
continuing tuberculosis scare in Lowell and
the high pay rate in the West ( $1.75 and $2.00 a day).
- A Greek Vice Mayor officiated in Lowell, a practice that continued until 1915.
- The U.S. census lists 4,113 Greeks in Lowell, 322 being native-born.
Fairchild writes in his book that the Greek colony of Lowell was the most
exclusively and distinctly Geek settlement of any considerable size in the U.S.
A branch of the Pan Hellenic Association was founded; Dr. George Demopoulos was
elected local President and one of three national councilors. The Pan Hellenic Association
(PHA) sought to
coordinate activities of all Greek societies in the U.S.
– “Outbreak of the Balkan War." Constantine Constantinides leads a
company of 200 volunteers who answered the call of their native country to
assist in hostilities against Turkey and Bulgaria. Eventually, a total of 25 -
45,000 Greek men from the U.S. served in the Greek army.
- Due to a depression, fifteen hundred Greeks left Lowell and other N.E. towns
for Chicago, Omaha, and other western cities where they expected to find work.
- The Greek Consul
General for the U.S. was located in Lowell.
Greeks share in strike activity in Lowell. Dr. Demopbulos was leader of these
- Greece bans emigration of all subjects between the ages of fourteen and
forty-one (because of war activities). The flood of Greek immigration into
the U.S. now comes to a close.
- There were as many as 8,000 Greeks in Lowell out of a total of 120,000;
this was the third highest after New York and Chicago.
- According to Moskos, the Market Street district includes: 2 drug
stores, 2 newspapers, 3 ticket agencies, 2 photographers, 1 importing house,
several dry goods stores, tailor shops, shoemakers, 4 restaurants, some 30
groceries, a wholesale meat dealer, 6 bakeries, 25 or 30 coffee houses, 1 model
saloon, about 10 confectioneries and fruit stores, a number of barbers, and a
number of shoe shine parlors.
- Reverend and Mrs. Vaitsis, Congregationalist Missionaries, who had also worked in
Boston, now concentrate religious their work in Lowell only. They operated the
largest Greek printing press in New England, edited the monthly, Alethia
(Truth), and a newspaper, Angeleftheros.
1915 - 1925 -
Political turmoil in Greece between Monarchists under King Constantine and
Republicans under Venizelos spills over and disrupts the Greek communities in
Lowell and U.S.
-The Lowell branch of the Greek Progressive Union, dedicated to the political
and mental advancement of the community was founded . John Marcopoulos was
- Newspaper source lists Greek population in Lowell at 12,000.
- The Lowell Directory lists 28
coffee houses in Lowell.
The athlete Adromides competes in the Olympic games.
- A federal immigration act severely restricted the number from each immigrant
group that could come to the U.S. The Greek total was 3,283 a year, thus
effectively ending much new immigration to Lowell and the U.S.
- The Transfiguration Church was founded, as a spillover of the trouble between
royalists and Democrats in Greece. Religious services were first held in the
chapel of St. Anne's Church.
- The Lowell Movement led by Reverend
Knontogeorge sought to found an autocephalous, or national church , at Holy Trinity Church.
- The Laganas Shoe Manufacturing plant opens on Market Street.
- Konmenus Soukaras is valedictorian at
Lowell High School. This was the beginning of many successes by the children of the original immigrants.
- Metropolitan Vasilios proclaims Lowell as his See and himself as
Archbishop, with the Holy Trinity Church as the Cathedral of the Independent
Royalist Communities of the United States and Canada.
- The present site of the Transfiguration church is purchased and a temporary
basement at the site serves the parish for many years.
- Prince Paul of Greece visits Lowell. Ten thousand Greeks line the
streets as a parade is held in his honor.
1926 - An American Hellenic Educational Association chapter is founded in
Lowell. The first meeting is attended by 3,500 people in Memorial Auditorium.
- George Eliadis, the first Greek attorney in Lowell, opens his practice.
Nicholas Contakos and Sotirios Sampatakakos open soon after.
- "Church riot." Twelve
hundred people are involved in a riot when the Holy Trinity Church was seized
and barricaded by one group while another attacks from the outside.
- St. George's Church parish was founded as a result of the schism at the
Holy Trinity Church.
1933 - Strike by workers at Laganas Shoe
1934 - During the depression, the Holy
Trinity Church is saved by president Christos Laganas from being attached by the
bank. The amount of 413,000 is eventually paid back by the parishioners.
1935 - Violence erupts between union and
non-union shoe workers at laganas Sho Co.
1939 - The federal government razes
hundreds of buildings in the Acre and replaces them with one of the first
Federal Housing Proejcts in the U.S. This urban renewal, along with W.W.II, was
the strongest force to hasten the outflow of the Greeks from the Acre and to
hasten their assimilation into the larger community.