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CHAPEL HILL
 
     By 1831 over 50 buildings had been erected, including two 
churches. These early churches, on their hilly site, lent the area 
its name. Although the majority of residents lived in small single 
family.

Greek Revival and Italianate houses, Central and Chapel Streets 
hosted more sophisticated Greek Revival double houses erected 
for prominent individuals including a mayor, members of the citys 
first government and prosperous merchants. Groceries and shop 
were also built along Central and Chapel Streets, usually located 
in the ground floor of a dwelling.

     The small lots and closely-built houses of Walnut, 
Cedar, Linden and Keene Streets were the result of 
an 1845 auction of excess land held by Locks and 
Canals, the primary corporation for Lowell's real 
estate water power.  The demand for housing proved 
so intense that the Locks and Canals lots were quickly 
built upon with small houses of nearly-identical 
appearance. Among the other parcels bought from 
Locks and Canals was the South Common, later laid 
out by the City as a public park.

     By 1868 all of Chapel Hill's streets were laid out. 
As land throughout the city became scarce, the small- 
scale character of the neighborhood  was slowly 
broken by multiple dwellings of three or four stories,
a practice which continued to the turn of the century. 
Alleys and courts provided access to additional 
buildings which were crowded onto back portions 
of lots.

     Although the earliest residents of Chapel Hill were 
primarily of New England ancestry, by the Civil War 
the neighborhood had become an attractive 
destination for upwardly mobile Irish-Catholic 
immigrants, lured to Lowell by work opportunities 
in the mills. Their numbers had been increasing 
steadily over the second half of the 19tb century; in
1842 they erected St. Peter's Church, a small brick 
structure just north of Chapel Hill.  Fifty years later it 
was replaced by the present St. Peter's Church on 
Gorham Street. 
  

Rocha Brothers Grocery Store

The imposing stone landmark was designed by Patrick C. Keely, 
a nationally-known architect.

   Conicident with the building of St. Peter's were the first 
waves of Portuguese settlement in Lowell and within Chapel 
Hill.  In the early 20th century, several Portuguese grocery 
stores opened on Charles and Gorham Streets, and the 
Portuguese St. Anthony's parish was founded.  From an initial 
membership of 950 in 1901, the parish grew to 2500 by 1933.

    Today, Chapel Hill's impressive mixture of architecture and 
ethnic history can be appreciated by both residents and visitors
  

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